It started off innocently enough. Buffalo native Nick Bakay had been so supportive of my radio career that I wanted to express my gratitude in a uniquely Buffalo sort of way. You may know Bakay from his run on ESPN with his Tale Of The Tape series, or as the voice of a cat on Sabrina The Teenage Witch, or as the writer behind Paul Blart Mall Cop and King Of Queens.
He's kind of a big deal and as close to a Hollywood big wheel as I'm ever going to get. The first time I had Nick on my old night time show on WBEN he wrote me a note, like with a pen and everything, and sent it to me in mail. He wrote to thank me for having him on and to tell me he listened whenever he got back to Buffalo and thought I was doing a great job. Being new at the gig, this meant quite a lot to me.
We stayed in touch and he became a pretty regular guest on that show. He was in town during one of the Sabres playoff runs in the late 90's and visited in studio with me for what turned into a few hours. It was a surreal night featuring guys calling to ask Nick what he thought of Doug Flutie, pretty standard fare, followed by teenaged girls calling to ask him if he could talk to them in the voice of Salem, the cat from Sabrina. Not so standard fare.
So one thing leads to another and eventually I get the idea that I want to send him the aforementioned gift. I came across the perfect item, boxed it up and shipped it off to California.
Yes, that item was a Whammy Weenie. My guess would be that many of you reading this may have no idea what a Whammy Weenie is. Well, it's a wiener shaped hollowed out piece of plastic painted green with yellow lettering that spells out "Whammy Weenie" on it. They were noisemakers. I think I remember learning later that the paint may have been poisonous lead based paint, but whatever. I'm pretty sure these Whammy Weenies were the brainchild of the old Bells supermarket chain and were supposed to put the hex on the Bills opponent. Never mind that they weren't Bills colors and the paint may have been deadly. Such minor details.
So this is sometime in 1999. Yes, that's the last year the Bills made the playoffs. Oh, and I think I forgot to mention, this particular Whammy Weenie didn't actually belong to me. It belonged to my friend Mike Krajewski, known to all his friends simply as Kry. I don't recall how I came to be in possession of Kry's Whammy Weenie nor am I entirely sure that I even knew it was his Whammy Weenie when I shipped it off to Bakay. Either way, off to California it went.
I first got to know Kry working at Santora's at Main and Union in Williamsville. I was a manager and he was a driver. We didn't especially hit it off at first. I was a too cool downtown guy, hanging at the Continental and the Old Pink, although this is 1992 or '93, so it still may have just been the Pink. Kry seemed to me to be a typical Cheektowaga tough guy. He showed up on time and did his job and that was the extent of our relationship. Until the comeback game happened.
That day, with no TV, we experienced the greatest of games while chopping carrots, making sauce and dough, and hanging on every word Van Miller said. I remember Kry wanting to do kitchen work that day even though delivery drivers never did such things. The kitchen was where the radio was.
I certainly don't need to recount the entire game here. I'll just tell you that when the Bills finally took the lead, Kry was the closest person to me and I leaped at him to hug/tackle him. Thankfully, Kry is a big dude, and I think he may have managed to hold onto me for a few seconds before we crumpled to the floor in a heap.
We've been best friends pretty much ever since. I discovered that I could have a fine time drinking beers after work at Heroes on Main St and Kry, along with a host of others from our crew, discovered the charm of the Pink. When exactly he passed the Whammy Weenie to me I don't recall. But I have no doubt that it is his.
This is due to the number of messages I have received over the years, usually whenever we have Nick Bakay on the show. I have provided a sample message below.
"Hey expletive, why don't you tell that expletive no talent two bit Hollywood hack Bakay that the Bills haven't been to the expletive playoffs since you expletive sold us out by sending him my expletive Whammy Weenie? Seriously, don't make me come down there, I'll make him talk like a expletive cat!
By the way, go expletive yourself"
Really, Kry is a good dude. One of the best. So finally I asked Nick if he knew the whereabouts of the Whammy Weenie and he said he knew he had it but that it was in storage somewhere.
Saturday before last I get a message. It's a text from Bakay. It reads...
"Chris, after many many years of suspense, I have finally been to a certain storage unit in Van Nuys, California.
I need your mailing address."
It arrived just the other day, bubble wrapped and accompanied by a very official looking letter on TV studio stationary for the new CBS sit com Mom for which Nick is the Executive Producer.
It's all very exciting and maybe means that EJ Manuel is going to be great.
Or maybe it just means that our dog will die if she gets ahold of the Whammy Weenie. Don't worry Kry, I've got it stored away safely awaiting the final transfer of it's harrowing journey.