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LEGENDS, TOGETHER AT LAST

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Bobby Bowden and Lou Holtz shared the stage at a very special forum this past Saturday. 622 wins, three national championships and 32 bowl victories between them, the two joked, joshed, and shared the combined wisdom with a rapt audience at Florida State University. An unexpurgated transcript follows.

Moderator Chuck Amato: I'd like to thank you both for being here.

Holtz: It's my pleasure, Chuck.

Bowden: Who are you, boy? (Laughter from the audience.)

Chuck: Ha, that's Bobby for you.

Holtz: Humor's important in coaching. Gotta know when to joke, when to scold, when to lift 'em up and when to put 'em down.

Bowden: No, who are you? Where am I? Bananas?

Amato: (more nervously now) Ha, yes, that's Bobby for you.

Holtz: Lemme just say something about bananas.

Amato: We've got a full list of questions to get through here, Lou--

Holtz: --I know you do, and that's just great. But just ask your team to look at a banana. Monkeys will kill each other over them, Chuck. They go--HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!--bananas over 'em. I know this because I had a monkey named Steve once, and he'd kill other monkeys and sometimes even dogs in savage fights over a few bananas.

Bowden: Banana.

Holtz: That's right, Bobby. I'd film it and sell it for a few hundred bucks to some Miami middleman, and it would be in Guatemalan theatres for weeks afterwards. "Lou's Monkey Murder Pictures," or "Las Peliculas Del Mono Mataperros," and it gave me some extra money to buy the wife a few nice things and give ol' Coach a little lift in the shoe when the athletic department checks were slow in coming. Plus, I just like making people happy, and boy, those Guatemalans seemed happy with the whole thing.

Bowden: Happy! Civil war chess set! Banana!

Holtz: That's true, Bobby, I am talking about strategy here. See, Steve died of monkey cancer, or herpes, or I dunno, maybe I just left him to fend for himself in Fayetteville, Arkansas on a street corner with a pack of Pall Malls, seventeen dollars, and a possibly loaded .45 revolver. Who knows? It's been a long career, right Bobby?

Bowden: Charlie Ward, now, that I'll tell ya.

Holtz: So anyway, what are you gonna do with a 1971 Dodge Charger and a backseat full of bananas--

Amato: Really, Coach Holtz, we've got audience questions here--

Holtz: If I wanted on old woman telling me what to do, I'd have brought my wife, Chuck. There's a man talking here. So anyway, what do you do when life gives ya bananas?

Bowden: Bananas. Peter Tom Willis. Cole slaw.

Holtz: Damn right, Bobby. A banana's really nothing but an edible gun with no ambition. Put it under a suit coat and wear a pair of dark glasses and a hat, and you're talking an instant cash machine, son. Me and that trunk full of bananas had a point to prove that spring, and you know what that point was?

Bowden: Polish rules. Boys. Gettysburg Address.

Holtz: Correct, Bobby. The point is: one monkey's lunch is another man's handgun. And when the going gets rough, the rough get going. Statute of limitations be damned: I've robbed more convenience stores than you can possibly imagine. It's hard for me to pass one now without salivating. You know how I salivate? Just like Bobby does when I say this: APPLESAUCE, BOBBY!

Amato: Really, this is just---

Bowden: (eyes get huge; he sits, hyper-alert.) APPLESAUCE!!! (Drools)

Holtz: APPLESAUCE!!! Golly, this is fun.

(Aides rush to Bowden, and Amato stammers as the audience begins to boo.)

Amato: Please, ladies and gentlemen, we just need a minute to---

Steve, the Monkey, enters wearing a fedora, smoking, and brandishing a pistol.

Bowden: Banana!

Holtz: You! AT LAST THE FINAL SHOWDOWN!

Steve: HHooooHHHHOOOO HAAAAHGGHHHH OOHHHHOOOWAAH hAAAAGGGHHH

Holtz: That's right! I never loved you, and never will!

Steve: AHhHAHHHHGGGGggGGHHH OOOHHHhhHHAWWAAaHHH HOOOhhhooHHOOO!!!

Holtz: Oh, you may have found me, but I'll never surrender. (Charges the ape with a rolled up newspaper) I'll see you in hell, Steve! IN HELL, YOU DIRTY APE!!!

Bowden, salivating uncontrollably: HEE!!!! BANANA! BANANA!

Shots ring out; chaos ensues.