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In all honesty, family comes first

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 27, 2002

Tom Tupa has accomplished a few things. He and wife Beth have four children (Thomas, 8; Timothy, 6; Tyler, 4 and Emma, 2) and has survived 14 years in the NFL as a quarterback and punter. Here he is on time capsules, kids and their bad timing, Halloween, nuclear codes and the Cat in the Hat.

* * *

RM: You've got to put five things in a time capsule the size of a microwave oven for when the aliens get here. What's in there?

TT: Probably a newspaper, a USA Today, so people know the events of the day. Maybe the Declaration of Independence, so they could know our laws. Then, how about the Bible. The American flag. And a photo album of my family. I would want them to see how we lived in families, how we lived together.

* * *

RM: I don't know if you did this intentionally, but you picked some important things. Laws, history, current affairs, humanity and religion.

TT: That's true, I didn't realize that. It's a pretty wide scope. Very weird.

* * *

RM: If you had to live in a different country, where would you live and why?

TT: You know what, I spent some time in Norway and Sweden and it was a beautiful place. It was kind of neat. Really clean. That's one place I thought was really beautiful.

* * *

RM: People use the phrase, "I tell you honestly." Doesn't that imply that they tell stuff dishonestly?

TT: You never know. You start wondering if it's a setup. You wonder if they're not telling you the truth, even when they say they are. I catch myself doing that sometimes. I don't know why we say that.

* * *

RM: Have you ever noticed that everytime one of your kids comes running up to hug you or to jump on you, they always land on a "tender spot"?

TT: Always. My little girl just got me yesterday. I wasn't expecting her and she drilled me. They're the perfect height right now.

* * *

RM: How many times does that happen to the average dad?

TT: For me, I'm going to say at least twice, maybe three times a week. So that's at least 100 times a year.

* * *

RM: In the same vein, ever notice that young kids have habit of knocking on the bedroom door at the, ahem, absolute worst time?

TT: They do, they absolutely do. They know.

* * *

RM: How do you stop that?

TT: Well, I've been married for 10 years, so it doesn't matter. Just joking. You have to be clever, creative. I would say daytime is out of the question.

* * *

RM: What are you wearing for Halloween?

TT: The other day we were shopping for costumes for the kids and I saw this '70s costume with the long curly hair, and I put it on just to mess around. My wife started laughing at me and said that I should wear it and put a No. 7 Bucs jersey on it and be Martin (Gramatica).

* * *

RM: Scariest costumes?

TT: I've seen some draculas that are pretty good. Not just the teeth, but with the makeup and everything.

* * *

RM: What do the Munsters dress up as on Halloween?

TT: They must just put on normal clothes.

* * *

RM: What's the cutoff age for trick or treaters?

TT: Last year, when I was in New York, we had some kids come to our doors and they looked like they were in college. I didn't know if it was like a fraternity prank or something. That was way too old. I figure you have to stop doing it by junior high.

* * *

RM: Martin Gramatica could probably trick or treat right now.

TT: He could. He could pass for junior high.

* * *

RM: Best way to deal with those people who stay in their homes and don't give out the candy?

TT: When they are home and you know they're not doing it, you're tempted to do something. In my younger days, there might have been some soap all over the windows, or some eggs or toilet paper, a few pumpkins might be smashed, who knows?

* * *

RM: So the President picks one of your teammates to entrust the codes to the nuclear button. Who should he pick?

TT: You would have to pick the most even-headed guy in there and that would be Brad (Johnson). He's pretty level headed. Nothing ever affects him.

* * *

RM: Who would you not give those codes too?

TT: That's too easy.

* * *

RM: Why is it too easy?

TT: Come on, who would you say?

* * *

RM: Hey, I'm asking the questions here.

TT: Warren (Sapp), obviously. He would be too quick to make a statement. Send them a message. If they only looked at Warren differently, he would send that thing off.

* * *

RM: Should parents be allowed to deny medical care for their children based on their religious belief?

TT: No. The child doesn't know what's happening to him or her. If you're able to save a kid, you have to save a kid. By any means possible.

* * *

RM: Does that not infringe on the parents' right to freedom of religion?

TT: It does. But I can't see how anyone can let their kids suffer. I just can't see it. Legally it's different. There are a bunch of stupid things that are legal, (but that) doesn't make them right. How can a parent sit there and watch their kid suffer.

* * *

RM: Something you can't stand about your wife?

TT: We're going to pass right over this one.

* * *

RM: Something your wife can't stand about you?

TT: The bad habit she says I have is that I click or grind my teeth at night in bed.

* * *

RM: One statement to make to Bill Clinton?

TT: What were you thinking?

* * *

RM: Adolf Hitler?

TT: You @*!!?#!.

* * *

RM: Moses?

TT: You were a great messenger.

* * *

RM: Martin Luther King Jr.?

TT: You had a great vision.

* * *

RM: Movie ending you would change?

TT: I think about the movie Castaway, with Tom Hanks. Finally he gets rescued and gets home and finds his girlfriend has been married and has a child? That's cold man. They should have ended it another way.

* * *

RM: Isn't the Cat in the Hat a home invader?

TT: Yes. Somebody has to do something about that.

* * *

RM: And then he tears up the crib?

TT: But he always puts it back together.


Back to the Bucs
Today's lineup

Bucs
  • Backup Johnson won't be shy
  • Defense has Bucs up at half
  • Side line
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • High Profile: Kenyatta Walker
  • In all honesty, family comes first

  • Letters
  • Offense's struggles holding Bucs back

  • Rays
  • Piniella's passion, pride took root in Tampa
  • Holding talks during Series may get Rays fined
  • Tell us about Lou

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  • Tough debut for Hodson

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  • No luck needed
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  • Battle contrite about overexuberance
  • Big 12: Revived ground game lifts Longhorns
  • State: Long drive spurs UCF vs. Akron
  • ACC: Wary Jackets do not allow Cavs comeback
  • Big Ten: A two-way Gamble pays off for Ohio State
  • Big East: Hokies withstand scare from Owls
  • C-USA: Louisville responds at ECU's expense
  • Pac-10: Ex-Plant star helps lead USC
  • SEC: Tide finally gets win over Vols
  • Nation: Wyoming sends Air Force reeling

  • Horse racing
  • Vindication wins Juvenile as Kentucky Derby buzz begins
  • Landseer put down after breaking a leg in the Mile

  • NHL
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  • McMurray takes BGN at Atlanta
  • For Jeff Gordon, a successful decade
  • Da Matta sets Aussie street mark

  • NFL
  • NFL Game Day: Week 8
  • Saints not missing a beat

  • Sailing
  • An overhauled hull gives Prada speed

  • Golf
  • Huston shows how easy this game can be

  • NBA
  • Anderson looks to get out from behind Payton

  • Et cetera
  • Highs & lows

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  • Devils, Vikings take titles
  • IRC's McMillan to sign with Stetson
  • Sophomores pull off SAC sweep
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  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Letters
  • Talent of Ruth, other greats far exceeds Bonds' abilities
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