I know the question all six of you readers have been asking for the past two months: Where the hell has Rick Paulas been during this, the amazing playoff run of my Chicago White Sox? And, because of your obvious obsession over my whereabouts, I’m sure you came up with an interesting assortment of possibilities.

Was it due to a prolonged recovery following a baker’s dozen brain aneurysms during the ChiSox’s unnecessarily stressful 11-1 playoff run? Was I in the Far East on a soul-seeking journey, necessary after witnessing the painful image of a geriatric Steve Perry singing an a cappella Don’t Stop Believin’ with the Pale Hosers? Did I pack up my belongings and head to Vegas, hoping to capitalize on my Nostradamian prediction-making capability?

If I were a lesser man, I would fib about my extended absence and choose one of those exciting options. But no, it was nothing that fantastical. I was simply participating in my usual autumn activity: a run-of-the-mill 65-woman, 3-man, 6-week-long extended orgy on an island off the Grecian coast. I’d lived with Chicago baseball for a long time, so you can understand why my orgies were planned for a time when, historically, Sox players were already knee-deep in off-season orgies of their own.

As you all know, news travels slow during orgies, especially when they’re held on remote Grecian islands. When I eventually found out that the Curse of Sucking for So Damn Long was broken, I ended the orgy three hours early, much to the chagrin of all involved. I climbed onto my speedboat and headed back inland, where I rushed through customs, participated in the legally demanded 14-day-long detox and rehydration clinic, and headed straight to the Internet to get my game recaps and to dive into my mailbag.

From now on—in this post-World Champion Chicago White Sox life—the orgies are going to take place after Halloween. On to the Sox-centric mailbag.

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Hey, Playboy, what do you think of Morgan Ensberg now?

Someone from Houston

In all fairness, I did write this scathing piece about Mr. Ensberg over a year ago. That being said, it was good to see his MVP-caliber regular-season performance overshadowed by a horrific playoff run. I mean, when was the last time you saw a team intentionally walk to get to the cleanup hitter. And while most analysts attributed his suckiness to a recent wrist injury, most have overlooked the obvious: the ghastly playoff beards. Before your fantasy draft next year, make sure to get a recent photo of Morgie. Then, just remember this simple A-A-B-B rhyme:

If it’s shaved,
He’s out of the grave.
If it grows,
No doubt he’ll blow.

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Mr. Dimmer (Paulas),

In your article, under tip 5 you said, “If you are a White Sox fan and you take a gamble on Jon Garland instead of drafting Kerry Wood, you are an idiot.” This may have been true then, but I’m surprised by your lack of foresight given your keen Fantasy Baseball advice.

Any comments?

Keith Faulkner

Yes, I do have some comments actually. First and foremost: Jon Garland is the same pitcher he’s ever been. The big difference this year is that GM Ken Williams went out and put a Buddy Ryan-led defense in the field behind him. And since Jon-Jon was never a big strikeout pitcher (unless you count with the ladies—booya!), the added defense didn’t give the other team many extra outs, keeping him away from the big fifth or sixth inning that he was notorious for having.

My second comment: I’ll stand by Wood over Garland in your fantasy draft next year for the following reasons: (a) you can trade him to some sucker Cubs fan—and there are many—easier than Garland; (b) you can come up with clever genitalia jokes on your league’s message board using his last name; © when Cubs management wises up and makes him a closer sometime next year, you can trade him before they watch the experiment fail and send him back to the rotation, only to get injured again; (d) his goatee is better.

My third comment: Why do I suddenly have an obsession with facial hair?

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Dear Rick Paulas,

Typically I’m not superstitious. But the Sox might collapse and if they do, it’s so your fault. Since you made your World Series prediction, on August 4th, the White Sox have gone 20-21 and the Cleveland Indigenous Peoples have won 30 of 40. I’m a lifelong White Sox fan. I’m living in Cleveland. This sucks. So. Much.

Kyle McGivney

[Written September 19, 2005.]

It just felt right to reprint this. I’m not going to say I wasn’t worried, but I was ignorant. There’s a big difference.

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From one lifetime Sox fan to another: SOX WIN! I’ve been waiting my whole life for this! They did it, and you called it!

—Dylan Smith

Consider this an electronic high-five right back at ya, Dylan.

Unfortunately, since I have no aim, we ended up banging our wrists together, slapping little actual hand skin in the high-five process. After standing there awkwardly for a few moments, we decided to redo the high-five and, on the second try, nailed it.

Then, you somehow turned the high-five into a handshake. Which I’m OK with. But afterward you stepped over the boundaries by deftly swinging your wrist into the start of the Three-Step Shake. Before I knew it, we were already past the Upward Tight Handgrasp and halfway through the Faux Thumbwrestle. By that time, luckily, I came to my senses and withdrew before participating in the Punching It In Conclusion.

You’re a sly one, Dylan Smith. But not sly enough.