When I started this blog, a regularly occurring feature was the Pat Fitzgerald intense-o-meter, updated weekly during football season. You can see it on the left sidebar.
However, I have been amiss. A great tool indicating the state of the Northwestern football program has grown dusty - I don't recall updating the meter once in the past season.
But the other day, I was filing through my closet here at home in New York - behind a broken bass, a squash racket, and my clarinet from middle school - I happened once again upon the intense-o-meter, and I have half a mind to bring it back into common usage. This is my way of announcing its return to common usage. So after the jump, I'll set out the scale.
The CIA built the Intense-o-meter - a precise unit for measuring exact amounts of intensity in humans - in the 1960's in hopes of reading the intentions of Soviet leaders. However, it was a waste: the intense-o-meter is meant to pick up extremely high levels of intensity, but at no point during the Cold War did any of the subjects ever test higher than a 2.9 on the meter. The meter sank into disuse. Until the 1990's, when they began testing high school linebacker Pat Fitzgerald. The results, friends, were alarming.
In a lifetime of being Fitz, as previously noted on this site, Fitzgerald's intensity has never registered below a 2.6.
He was 11, he had a half day at school, and he spent the rest of the afternoon riding a swingset when his mom bought him an ice cream bar from a Mister Softee truck. A young Fitzgerald responded by doing 150 pushups and yelling "GET SOME" loudly enough to deafen a nearby housecat.
With that in mind, here's a quick guide to interpret the intense-o-meter.
0-0.9: This ranges from zero (dead) to deep sleeps to napping, with a .9 being how I feel after about 1:10 of 1:20 long lectures. Notable Fitz moments: Fitz is widely considered to be the inspiration for rapper/producer El-P's album I'll Sleep When You're Dead. The only time he is known to have actually fallen asleep, Dr. Jim Phillips, along with Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, and Marion Cotillard spent the entire time incepting him with the idea of signing a contract extension through 2020, an occurrence which included skiing, rocket launchers, and was apparently AWESOME to watch when high. At most points during the dream, Fitz's intensity was recorded at roughly a 5.0. Instead, Fitz uses the additional eight hours a day to practice useful things like staring holes through things, hang cleaning, and making his handshake as firm as possible by practicing on a slab of marble which he has fashioned into the shape of a hand using his hand.
1-1.9: This is the range of normal human intensity. With all likelihood, the entire range of your emotions in your life has been captured by 1-1.9 on the Fitz intense-o-meter. Notable Fitz moments: Never.
2-2.9: Fitz can make water almost boil and sometimes accidentally intercepts satellite signals with his thoughts. Notable Fitz moments: Although Fitz has never been below a 2.6, he frequently is at a 2.6-2.9 when coddling with his numerous children. ("Here comes the aiiiiiiirplane! IT'S NOT ACTUALLY AN AIRPLANE, IT'S A SPOON WITH APPLE SAUCE. WHAT DOES THE FITZGERALD FAMILY DO WITH APPLE SAUCE? FINISH! WHY DON'T YOU HAVE TEETH YET. WHY DON'T YOU HAVE TEETH YET. WHY DON'T YOU HAVE TEETH YE- [continues until child grows a full set of teeth out of respect, which generally takes somewhere in the range of seven minutes.])
3-3.9: Fitz's "resting state", at which point his heartrate is around 120-160 horsepower, capable of powering your average quality American sedan, also capable of outracing 120-160 horses. Notable Fitz moments: most of the offseason - not workouts, not spring ball - Fitz is between 3 and 3.9. Notable spikes occur after commits and, for some unexplained reason, during episodes of "The Voice", not that I'm judging him or anything, please don't hurt me. (He plans to someday stretch Cee-Lo's arms to make them regular length.)
4-4.9: Many of the mediocre superpowers exhibited by superheroes - Aquaman's ability to summon fish, Wonder Woman's ability to fly places in an invisible plane, and the one surprisingly important superpower of Green Lantern's ability to summon Blake Lively - are pretty much capable of Pat Fitzgerald between this range. Notable Fitz moments: non-conference victories, such as the win over Vanderbilt or Rice.
5-5.9: Fire, but not yet brimstone. Fitz's life comes equipped with pyrotechnics. Picture a Rammstein concert, but without the angry Germans or weird people who listen to Rammstein. Notable FItz moments: This is Fitz's "resting state" during Big Ten football season. He amps up for film sessions and practices, and of course, GAMES, but this is typically where you'll find him at two in the morning on a Wednesday. Of course, depending on the game, it could go higher or lower, but most of the time, he's at DU. DU HAST. level.
6-6.9: Levitation. Not a lot of levitation, like, I'm not talking "A Whole New World" magic carpet ride stuff, I'm just referring to a few inches off the ground, maybe a foot or two if he really puts his mind to it. More of a Mentok the Mind-taker vibe. (And yes, I really like referencing Mentok. THE MINDTAKER.) Notable FItz moments: Illinois (most of the time), the beginning of workouts, and whatnot.
7-7.9: Fitz is known to assume the form of Kali, the blackish-blue either four- or ten-armed Hindu goddess whose name means "she who destroys". Take it away, Wikipedia:
In her most famous pose as Daksinakali, it is said that Kali, becoming drunk on the blood of her victims on the battlefield, dances with destructive frenzy. In her fury she fails to see the body of her husband, Shiva, who lies among the corpses on the battlefield.
You might say it's messed up of me to apotheosize Fitz as female, but, before you do so, I point your attention to dnacing with destructive fury after becoming drunk on the blood of one's victims, you sexist dick. Notable Fitz moments: After losses. EVERY LOSS.
8-8.9: Like having non-burnt skin? Don't touch Pat Fitzgerald during this stage. In fact, try not to be in the same room as him. You might get lightly toasted just off of contact intensity, leaving you great for s'mores but less good for not dying. Have you ever seen somebody blow glass? It's a beautiful art form, involving putting a protruding bubble of glass inside a fire of incomprehensible warmth. Okay, I'm off to a bad start here, but let's just say at this level, Fitz's thought processes and bodily functions are totally manifested through pure, unadulterated, heat. Imagine somebody blacksmithing, but with their mind. Notable Fitz moments: Every time NU has played Iowa. Some call this magic. We call it mind blacksmithing.
9-10: It makes me extremely disappointed that I cannot embed this clip from the made-for-TV movie "10.5: Apocalypse", which I feel will do the talking. Notable Fitz moments: Bowl games, and the 1995 victory over Notre Dame.
So that's the scale. I'll begin updating it weekly - with occasional other updates - closer to the season, with more detail. Keep an eye out, folks.