Robert Nkemdiche rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His alarm, set to "More Than A Feeling" by Boston, which just so happened to be his favorite song, played the sweet sounds of the Rockman amp, which just so happened to be his favorite amp.
Today, Robert was on a television show. His whole life was being broadcast to the world. Two men sat in a studio, giving play-by-play to the masses.
"Wait wait wait," Derek Dooley said, wearing a backwards Kangol hat. "You mean to tell me this kid is listening to Boston? Well that means only one thing."
"That's right," Gene Chizik said. "Boston College, home of the Chestnuts." Chizik's wife, Jonna, was holding cue cards and gave Gene a thumb's-up after he delivered the line without controversy or injury.
Robert had no idea his life was a television show. He thought it would only be the part where he was making the biggest decision of his life.
"Today I will be making the biggest decision of my life," Robert said. "After much deliberation, I have to pick between two really great shirts: my Spongebob Squarepants shirt and my Grayson Football shirt."
Two men were hiding in Robert's closet: Hugh Freeze and Nick Saban.
"Pick Grayson Football," Freeze cooed. "It's important to remember your roots."
"Spongebob, Spongebob, Spongebob!" Saban hissed. "He is small and wears square pants and only winners are small and wear square pants."
Robert did not respond. It was not directly clear if he could hear them or not.
"It became clear to me," Robert began, "late in the process that there was only one right fit. And that is my Spongebob Squarepants shirt."
Saban shook the hand of an oversized teddy bear in the closet and put his hands on his hips.
"Would you look at that, folks, Spongebob Squarepants. This is like storming the beaches of Normandy, seeing gunfire all around and saying, 'Well, men, this is it, it's time to suit up and make our mothers proud,'" Dooley said.
Robert rumbled down the stairs two at a time. He was excited and invigorated after his big decision. A huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. This was going to be a day to remember.
Hiding under the kitchen table were Freeze and Saban. Robert hopped up onto the counter, swinging his legs in earnest.
"This is the biggest decision of my life," he said. "I've thought long and hard about it. After consulting with my friends and family, meditating and sleeping on it, I have decided that I will be spending my breakfast..."
"This is it," Saban said. "You don't stand a chance."
"Oh yeah!" Freeze yelled, bumping his head on the table. "Suck on those hearty, healthy O's. You wanna lower your cholesterol, YOU. EAT. CHEERIOS. Wooooo!"
Freeze crawled across the floor, doing a victory lap in the main level of the house. Saban scowled and crossed his arms. It was not directly known if Robert was aware of their presence.
"Cheerios, it is. And the long wait is over," Chizik said, in the studio. "The one and only -- grab a spoon and dig in!" Gene winked. Jonna made an A-okay symbol with her right hand.
"What's next for Robert Nkemdiche?" Dooley asked. "Who knows? But with a breakfast like that, Cheerios fans everywhere are rejoicing. There might be questions about the methods in which Nkemdiche made this decision, but through the controversy and the confusion, there's little doubt this is a monumental day for General Mills."
Robert felt great. The two biggest decisions in his life had been made. All that agony and anxiety just washed away, and he could finally focus on the more important things that the world was going to throw at him.
He walked to school, his backpack casually slung over one shoulder. He whistled a tune by his favorite band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. As he walked, Freeze and Saban followed closely at a safe distance.
"You won this round, Freeze. But just you wait, Robert isn't going to let me down this time. It'll be impossible for him to resist," Saban said, drumming his fingers.
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY
In the studio, Gene and Derek ate bagels.
"Do you ever wonder if all of this is just a little bit unnecessary?" Dooley asked. "I mean, he's a kid. Every decision they make seems like life or death. What is this saying about us? Do we lose that as we get older? I barely remember what I had at breakfast most days, much less agonize over it and rejoice when I work it out."
"Well what did you have at breakfast yesterday?" Chizik asked.
"Some egg shells and Tang."
"Best to forget about that then, right?"
"Maybe you're right, Genie."
"Of course I'm right. I'm Gene Chizik."
Kevin C. Cox/Getty
Robert made it to class. There were two open chairs. Saban and Freeze tucked themselves away in the back row, hiding behind calculus textbooks. None of the students noticed.
Most of the high schoolers talked in small groups. The teacher drank a cup of coffee with his legs perched up on his wooden desk.
"Excuse me, everyone," Robert said. "I have an announcement to make."
The kids continued chattering.
"I have carefully considered all my choices. I talked to my brother. I emailed quite a few spiritual leaders. I made a pros and cons list. And I have decided that today, I will be attending the open seat on the right side of the classroom."
"You've been processed, Freeze," Saban said, throwing his calc book at Hugh. "You've been processed."
Taped to the seat was a piece of paper that read simply:
Hey, Robby, sit here, it is a great seat you will like it very much and it provides all the lumbar support you could ever hope for. Reach for the stars and imagine your dreams. Sitting here will allow you to stand taller than you ever thought possible. Deut 23:1 #YOLO<3 <3 <3
-A Secret Admirer
"Oh, come on," said Freeze.
"That's a violation," Freeze said. "You can't do that. Guys? Students? Mr. principal? Somebody back me up on this."
If Nick Saban smiled, he would have smiled.
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