It's a holiday moment treasured by many: setting out to ironically watch “The Garfield Christmas Special” (available on YouTube!) and 23 minutes later finding yourself absolutely annihilated emotionally, right around the time Garfield gives that delightful Grandma the letters from her late husband he found? Do you find yourself staring with teary eyes into the distance after the final credits roll with a sense of pure wonder and “A Good Old-Fashioned Christmas” ringing in your head? And eventually does that warm feeling harden into an indignant, burning fury that “The Garfield Christmas Special” isn’t as fondly remembered as “A Charlie Brown Christmas?”
Hopefully not, if only because being that angry about Garfield can't possibly speak well of your mental state. But something like that feeling, that sense of emotion sliding into rage, happens when I look for Portland State legend and St. Louis/Arizona Cardinal Enigma Neil Lomax gifts on eBay. I do this more than I should, always down a slippery, Garfield-ian slope: what begins as a search for 1980s quarterbackery always ends up in dazed wonderment, blinking into my laptop at what is, unexpectedly, the very soul of the game.
So, yes, Neil Lomax memorabilia makes a fine gift.
Neil Lomax was ahead of his time. His college career and the absurd stats he put up—including seven touchdown passes in a quarter—would have blown up today’s Internet, or at the very least trended on Twitter in Portland. In today’s pass-dominated NFL, it’s not difficult to a Lomax unleashed upon the League and quickly becoming a favorite of the Football Outsiders crowd. We can all agree the Ravens would be at least 11-3 if they had a in his prime Lomax instead of Joe Flacco. Unfortunately, much like Jon Arbuckle’s farm-bound brother Doc Boy, Neil Lomax was a man not of his era. The best we can do is celebrate Neil by purchasing this fantastic signed “Neil Looks Long” Topps card to celebrate what was and might have been.
The epitome of quarterback cool is found in this picture. This is the dude who owned high school. Even though he’s only three years older, John Hughes probably had to go with Emilio Estevez as the jock in “The Breakfast Club” because Neil Lomax in this picture is so “QB cool” it would have been seen as cliché. Also, it almost goes without saying that The Neil would totally jam with Garfield and probably, if he played his cards right, Liz Wilson.
The final great moment in the Garfield Christmas Special, after you’ve already been crushed into a thousand joyous pieces by the transcendent gift-giving skills of the grand old cat himself, comes when Garfield, surrounded by those who love him, states “Christmas: it’s not the getting, it’s not the giving—it’s the loving.” I can only imagine that Neil Lomax, wiser now that he had been retired for a few years, felt the same way upon completing a 1994 round of golf with former Raider placekicker (and soccer player!) Chris Bahr. Who knows what stories they told that day but whatever they were I’m sure they made anything Emerson and Thoreau ever said to each other look like absolute drivel. Celebrate the memories, and perhaps, just perhaps, the meaning of love, with a signed scorecard from that round of celebrity golf.
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