How was your weekend? Mine was fine. Thanks for asking. Would you like to know how I spent part of it? Well, yesterday afternoon, I spent about 3 minutes hiding behind a cement pillar on the platform of a New York City Subway station. Don’t worry. I wasn’t lurking or spying on someone while trying to avert their gaze. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. You see, I spotted a guy I used to work with at the other end of the platform and I didn’t want to talk to him. And so I hid.
What’s wrong with this guy? Nothing. In fact, within the narrow confines of the work place, he was a very pleasant and affable gent. But outside of the office I don’t really care one way or the other. I don’t like him. I don’t dislike him. I nothing him. So, I didn’t want to waste my time with idle chit chat. Sure, the part where he asks about me would be interesting. I’m fascinating to myself. But him? Don’t care. Why would I waste my time collecting information about what he’s up to? The only thing I would do with that data is share it with someone else, in an effort to avoid hearing about what is happening in THEIR life. It’s a vicious cycle.
And what if he had said something patently incorrect? In the context of small talk, it’s impolite to correct someone when they are telling a story about their own experience. Recently, another person (there are many people who insist on speaking to me. REPEATEDLY) told me that he used to go to Yankee spring training games when he lived in Tampa in the late 80′s. Now, I know that up until the mid-90′s, the Yankees held Spring Training in Fort Lauderdale, not Tampa. But, I didn’t want to be rude, so I tried to walk him towards the truth.
“Are you sure it was the Yankees?”
“Yeah, it was the Yankees”
“And you’re sure it was in Tampa?”
“Yeah, that’s where I lived in back then. Those were fun games.”
NO THEY WEREN’T! BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T EXIST. YOU ARE EITHER A LIAR OR AN IDIOT BUT I’M NOT ALLOWED TO CALL YOU ON IT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE RUDE AND WE’RE STANDING IN A HOTEL LOBBY WHERE LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE ARE HAVING SIMILARLY INANE CONVERSATIONS AND SOCIAL CONVENTION DICTATES THAT I SPEAK TO YOU IN MEASURED TONES.
It’s not just random co-workers and strangers. Here’s one more story. On Thanksgiving morning, I was waiting on the very same Subway platform on which I hid from the previous gentleman. As the train pulled up, I noticed, through the corner of my eye, a woman who I was quite positive was my 2nd cousin. As the doors opened and I made my way to a seat, it became obvious that she was going to sit directly across from me, but at this point it didn’t look like she had seen me. So, there we were, facing each other less than 3 feet apart. What did I do? Obviously I avoided eye contact at all costs until I could pull out a magazine and hold it in front of my face. SUCCESS! Alas, my security system was breached. She noticed me and we spent the entirety of our subway trip trading useless niceties. Later, in an effort to make even more inane small talk, I told other members of my family about my encounter on the train. “Oh?” they said, “What did she have to say?”
“Not much,” I responded, “Not much at all. What’s up with you?”
I don’t care about the Barry Bonds steroid case at all. George Dohrman’s scorecard column may be the greatest collection of writing in the history of the English language. There is no way I will ever read it.
Dan Patrick speaks to Larry Bird in this week’s “Just My Type.”
DP: Could you have teamed up with other superstars?
LB: I did in the All-Star Game. I didn’t like it. I never liked All-Star Games. It’s a showman’s game. I didn’t feel I was a showman. I thought I was a basketball player.
YOU ALSO DID IT EVERY GAME OF YOUR CAREER! Kevin McHale was arguably the third best player in the NBA during Bird’s career. Robert Parish was in the top 20. What the hell is he talking about?
While I’m denigrating former Celtics, what’s with the deification of Kendrick Perkins? When he was traded, the Celtics and their fans were halfway towards a mutiny. In this week’s “Inside The NBA,” Chris Mannix talks about Perkins’ impact on the Thunder as if OKC just traded for George Mikan. He’s a below average offensive player and decent rebounder who just happens to be large. Can we all calm down a bit?
It’s Knockout Time by Tim Layden
Here’s the problem with an article like this. I read it on Friday. By then, four of the games it was previewing had been played. This is no one’s fault, but it completely took me out of the article.
By A Long Shot by Kelli Anderson
My initial impression of this article is that it rehashed too many points that Tim Layden had just made, it was choked with statistics, and it probably should have been left as a graphic and maybe sidebar in Layden’s piece. But, then I watched Butler/Florida on Saturday afternoon. Florida’s final possession, coming out of a timeout, ended with a chucked three from 30 feet out and plenty of time on the clock. The college game is too reliant on the three, and, in my opinion, it’s the main reason that NCAA hoops is inferior to the NBA.
Towering Power by L. Jon Wertheim
It’s nice to see that Kenneth Starr landed on his feet. (That’s sarcasm. ) It’s possible that, of all the humans I have ever heard of in life, he was the one I least expected to read about when I opened my Sports Illustrated this week.
Buck To The Future by Tom Verducci
I’ve always liked Buck, especially on TV. On ESPN, he always came off as smart and funny and capable of rolling with the punches. That’s why his anal attention to detail and apparent disdain for fun as a manager seems so puzzling.
You Can Count On Him by Chris Mannix
Every time LeBron James speaks, it becomes obvious that he has no knowledge of NBA history. It started when he gave up #23, because he doesn’t think anyone should ever wear Michael Jordan’s number again. And so, he took #6, ignoring Bill Russell, who won almost twice as many championships as MJ and will go down as the 2nd greatest center in Celtics history (behind Kendrick Perkins.) It continues here:
Still, Aldridge was left off the All-Star team. LeBron James called it “the biggest snub in All-Star history.”
Really? I’m not even sure if it was the biggest snub this season. Still, based entirely off this article, I like Aldridge. He seems like a nice kid with his head on straight.
Rebuild, Recharge, Renew by Lars Anderson
I’m not in any mood at this point in the year to read about football. They should have just stuck this article in issues that were mailed to people down south and given me something about hockey instead.
Point After by Phil Taylor
Remember what I said about the Barry Bonds steroid story? Triple it for NFL labor talk. It combines all the excitement of legalese with the fun of watching sports not be played.