XMN coming to a town near you

Posted on February 12, 2001

I was really surprised how good the ratings were for the first week of the XFL.

For those of you who haven't heard of the XFL, let me give you a little background. (I'd also like to encourage you to get out more, maybe walk a loop around your local mall or Wal-Mart and do something other than call Time and Temperature all day.) The XFL is a spin-off of the NFL, but the best way to put it might be minor league football with major league effects. There are slightly different rules, a lot more up-close-and-personal camera shots (of players, cheerleaders and possibly even mascots) and a touch of the professional wrestling atmosphere. The league's owner, Vince McMahon, also is in charge of the WWF (Not to be confused with the World Wildlife Federation, although many wrestlers have been known to be more hostile than wildlife). The difference, McMahon has said 564,109,541,901 times, is the XFL will not be scripted.

I didn't watch the games. I had better things to do, like making paper snowflakes. But with the early popularity of the league, I'm wondering if other sports will do the same, or heck, maybe even businesses could adopt similar practices. Actually, I went ahead and started a spin-off to the Internet called the XMN (Xtreme Men on the Net). Pronounce the acronym as you would the popular comic book super heroes, which should give the business even more name recognition. As league president, I designated a couple of friends to help me start the league. Besides being huge sports fans, I'm fairly certain they still have Junkyard Dog and Iron Sheik posters hanging in their closets.

The XMN is an Internet provider/Web design company/computer store/dance club/sports bar/strip club all wrapped in one. The only way to tell which part is which is whether or not your consultant is wearing a three-piece suit or a birthday suit. No employee has a key ... everyone waits outside the main door until 8:30 a.m., when the doors open and THE FUN BEGINS! Everyone races to the best terminals, running through a short obstacle course covered with broken monitors and alligators, converging on the main hub for all the XMN processing.

You get used to the cameramen, who stand behind you and film your every move. When they take coffee breaks, the Webcam comes on, broadcasting your moves to millions of at-home viewers. Remember, none of this is scripted.

I hope you had a big breakfast because you won't be getting a lunch break here! On second thought, it's probably better not to eat breakfast, because Sabertooth Jones, a 400-pound former All-Big Ten lineman, is your supervisor and has been known to issue major hits if you don't complete your projects.

Probably the most annoying thing is the fans who sit 15 feet away from your terminal. Today was Biggie Megaphone Day, so everyone in attendance now has the ability to yell directly in your ear! But after a few hours, you get used to having seven of those things resting on your shoulder.

You do, though, get a 3.5-minute break, just enough time to give an interview to one of the sideline reporters.

"We started out slow, but I think we'll make a big comeback by halftime (2 p.m.)," you say.

At least your work attire is cool. You are number 456, with the name "Big Buck$" on the back. Sure, the helmet does get in the way occasionally when answering the phone, but you wouldn't dare take it off and be drilled by Sabertooth Jones.

The rest of the day goes as normal: another interview by the sideline reporter in the middle of the third quarter (about 3:45 p.m.); cheerleaders dancing on the table; the mascot attempting to pick a fight with you; Jones delivering a brutal blow to a co-worker; cheerleaders dancing on the table; a fumbled scanner resulting in seven points for the opposing team; cheerleaders doing something on the table which you don't have time to view because you're in overtime (6:30 p.m.). Did I mention the days were slightly longer in the XMN? Remember, none of this is scripted.

You finished the day 6-for-7 in completed projects for $5,000, but your team lost, which means you make about $6.00 an hour. "Maybe tomorrow will be a better day," you tell a sideline reporter during your 25th interview of the day. Sabertooth Jones narrowly decides to bring you back tomorrow, although most likely you will play the outside computer terminal and replace the man with a broken monitor.

It's a little rough in the XMN, and your every move is scrutinized by millions, but think of the exposure you are receiving! Soon you'll be getting calls from the REAL companies who need your help programming or at least delivering the mail. I hear some of those places don't even have cheerleaders. More importantly, none of it ... I REPEAT ... none if it is scripted.