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The Four Oarsmen of the Apeejcalypse

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A reading from the Ope of Revelation.

To the fourteen schools in the province of the Big Ten:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Bronko Nagurski, who is the faithful tackler, the first-off from the snap, and the ruler of the backfields of the Midwest.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our losses by his runs, and has made us to be a powerhouse and fans to serve his Alma Mater—to him be Axes and Rose Bowls for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the oars,”
and “every eye will see him,

even those who subtweeted him”;
and all red-clad fans on earth “will mourn because of him.”

So shall it be! Row the Boat, Ski-U-Mah.

“I am the Elite and the HYPRR, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Boat Rower.”

I, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Maroon, was on the island of Leidner because of the word of Jerry and the testimony of Claeys. On the Lord’s Day I was in the spirits, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the ten schools: to Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa; Maryland, Michigan, and Michigan State; Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern; Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue; Rutgers, and that other school.”

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw ten vegas-golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a sport quarter-zip with an oversized tie knot and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was non-existent, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing Red Bulls. In his right hand he held thirteen stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its ebullience.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though a wisconsin point guard. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the Elite and the HYPRR. I am the Running One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the Axe of death and Chair.

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven vegas-golden lampstands is this: The thirteen stars are the coaches of the churches, and the ten lampstands are the fourteen schools.

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in Indy. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirits, and there before me was a throne in Pasadena with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of maroon and gold. A rainbow that shone like a bronze pig encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were three other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in maroon and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, ten lamps were blazing. These are the fourteen schools of the Midwest. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of corn, shimmering as gold.

In the center, around the throne, were three living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a chipmunk, the second had a face like a chief but less offensive, the third was whatever a Hoosier is. Each of the three living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Gopher Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits at the bow and who springs for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits at the bow and worship him who sprints for ever and ever. They lay their whistles before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our coach and captain,
to receive Axes and Pigs and Rose Bowls,

for you created all slogans,
and by your will they were coined
and have their being.”

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty Delany proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in Midwest or on coast or on other coast could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Rower of the boat of ‘Sota, the Root of Warmath, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Peej, looking as if it had been shaved, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the three living creatures and the elders. The Peej had seven Red Bulls and seven slogans, which are the seven slogans of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the three living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a hotdish and they were holding golden bowls full of Grain Belt, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,

because you were shaved,
and with your hair you purchased for Minnesota
persons from every also-ran and Illini and Hoosier and Gopher.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests,
and they will reign on the first of January of bowl season.”

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Peej, who was shaved,
to receive Axes and Pigs and Chairs and Jugs
and Bells and extensions and a raise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who rows the boat and to the Peej
be Axes and Pigs and extensions and a raise,
for ever and ever!”

The three living creatures said, “Amen,” and the Strib writers fell down and worshiped.

I watched as the Peej opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the three living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a marron boat! Its rower held an oar, and he was given an Axe, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another boat came out, a fiery orange one. Its captain was given power to take peace from East Lansing and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large beard.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a candy-striped...buffalo? Its rider was holding a Nebraska press transcript in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the three living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wild rice for a day’s wages, and six pounds of hotdish for a day’s wages, and do not damage the Grain Belt and the Malort!”

When the Peej opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Fleck, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the West to kill by late interception, another late interception and turnover, and by the game-management of the quarterback.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the teams of those who had been slain because of the mediocrity they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Peej, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Big Ten and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given an oar, and they were told to row a little harder, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great blizzard. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of Lou Henson’s toupee, the whole moon turned blood maroon, and the champions in the West fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every badger and hawkeye was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the B1G, the coach, the quarterbacks, the five-stars, the journalists, and everyone else, mostly mediocre teams, hid in caves and among the rocks of the “mountains”. They called to the “mountains” and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Peej! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”