Dear Ann Landers: I have made a really, really bad mistake, and I need advice in a hurry. Please understand I wasn't thinking clearly -- the Ravens had just been knocked out of the playoffs by the Steelers. I was grief-stricken and vulnerable when I foolishly told this man "yes." And he's a hard man to say "no" to, as we all know.
Here's my problem: In my grief, I unwittingly invited Mike Tyson to my home to watch Sunday's AFC Championship game. Yes, that Mike Tyson. The thing is, Ann, I wasn't thinking, and now he's coming to my home around noon to watch the game. (He is bringing two cases of beer, which is thoughtful.)
In my defense, I invited him before he brawled with world boxing champion Lennox Lewis during a maniacal press conference Tuesday to promote their fight. Mike lost his temper and apparently bit someone again. But had I known Mike was capable of such offensive language, I certainly would never have invited him to watch the Patriots-Steelers game with me. My bad, as the kids say -- or used to.
What do I do now? One doesn't uninvite Mike Tyson! Help!
-- Boxed In in Baltimore
Dear Boxed In: It sounds as if your friend Mike has real anger-management issues. (Biting is negative behavior.) While I agree it's sweet of him to bring such a generous volume of alcoholic beverages into your home, I think you need to be on guard a bit. I don't mean to sound prudish; I just want you kids to have a good time watching the game.
When entertaining tortured, violent felons with aging uppercuts, keep in mind that this kind of houseguest can be quick to overreact to even the most innocent comment. For example, if you ask: "Mike, what kind of beer did you bring?" he might internalize your question and think you are asking: "Mike, what kind of man are you?" Then, he'll bite you.
Avoid direct eye contact with Mike. Don't tell him to use a coaster. Under no circumstances attempt humor. For example, if you think "Plaxico" is a funny name for a wide receiver (or for anyone), don't mention it. Plaxico could have been the name of Mike's father who didn't love him enough. Chances are if you say the name Plaxico, Mike will bite you again.
It also would be wise to sit very still around Mike while watching the game. And don't fuss at him if he answers his cell phone or punches the wall. Given the available alcohol, you might notice Mike experiencing severe mood swings. But keep in mind that his wife just announced she's divorcing him, he's facing a sexual assault charge in Las Vegas, and he's become a national punch line. Who wouldn't be testy?
So, just keep your hands and ears away from his mouth and enjoy the game!