Friday, May 29, 2020

Birthdays; Dylan & this blog & my Michael Jordan story

This past weekend this blog turned 12 and Bob Dylan, 79. It is pure coincidence, but I’ve always used Dylan as a creative benchmark against which I measure the blog’s success.

By that standard the blog is clearly superior to Dylan and has been since Day 1.

The blog, you see, was communicating in complete sentences since its inception, something Dylan didn’t do until he was probably 18 months.

He didn’t write “Like a Rolling Stone” until he was 24. The blog was just 4 when it came up with this gem: “Loud bulimics make the worst neighbors. They can never keep it down.”

Just imagine what greatness the blog will display when its voice changes and it begins to sprout pubic hairs.

Of course, it’s all speculative. Another difference: The boy who became Bob Dylan eventually matured.

No indication that’s in the cards for this blog.

A friend — known her since high school — sweetly wondered if I’m feeling okay. She said she detected a lesser visibility on the blog and through social media.posts

Fear not. I’m fine. I’ve not tested COVID  positive. My Parkinson’s symptoms are stable. I’m not an unarmed black man walking down a Minneapolis sidewalk (or one jogging through Brunswick, Georgia/ eating Skittles in Sanford, Florida, etc).

Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb that the less you hear from me here, the more I’m thriving in places that make a difference to our accountant.

In fact, yesterday was the best day of my career. And it’s grown-up stuff, not like someone gave me a coupon for some free Cheese Stix down at the Sheetz, the ubiquitous area convenient mart that sells everything but sheets.

I’ll share the news with you next week.

—-   <<  >>   —-

It was an ironic COVID pity that I was in a building with three bars and I couldn’t find a soul with whom to drink. 

“There are those who worship loneliness. I’m not one of them.” That might sound like me, but it’s not. It’s Bob Dylan, a quote on his website right below a news post announcing the cancelation of his summer shows.

Is this the end of his fabled Never Ending Tour? Begun June 7, 1988, Dylan has toured ever since. That’s 3,066 shows, the last being Dec. 8. What the hell is he going to do this summer without the road routine? He hasn’t been married since 1992 so there’s no mile-long honey-do list. Maybe he’s cultivating bonsai trees or binge-watching Ozarks.

It would be super cool if he read this blog and decided — what the hell? — I think I’ll stop by the Tin Lizzy and have a drink that guy whose blog was born the same day as me. It could happen. He’s very capricious.

I’ll let you know if he does. 

—-   <<  >>   —-

My Michael Jordan story: It was probably 2001. I was a contributing writer to flashy upstart Maximum Golf magazine. They asked me to snag a press pass for the Mario Lemieux celebrity tournament at Nevillewood C.C. near Pittsburgh. Matt Lauer, Charles Barkley and others from that crowd were there. But the biggest deal was MJ. My editors wanted me to score an exclusive interview with him.

My editors thought nothing of requesting the impossible

He was such hot stuff, the press was given instructions on how to deal with him. The instructions were, in essence, do not. Do not address him. Do not make eye contact. And do not even think of asking him a question.

We were to treat him as if he were invisible.

I couldn’t do it. I remember seeing him on the practice range and thinking, man, that is the most magnificent specimen of a human being I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe we were of the same species. Tall, perfectly proportioned, poised and rippling muscles from head to toe, he looked like something out of Greek mythology (if Greek mythology were integrated).

So I decided I had to mess with him.

As he began heading to the tee, a posse of 7 or 8 dumpy little white guys fell in to shield His Airness from me, a dumpy little white guy.

My press pass alerted them to my professional  menace. I spoke, “Mr. Jordan,” and held out a copy of the magazine as we walked briskly across the range. I remember one guy glaring at me and mouthing the words, “NO QUESTIONS!”

Too late.

“Sir, this is Maximum Golf Magazine. The Wall Street Journal just declared it the most exciting new sports magazine in the past 20 years …”

His security ring looked like they were eager to murder me. Jordan was so supremely stoic he seemed to deny my very existence. Still, I pressed on.
“I’d like to interview you for 10 minutes. In exchange, I promise we’ll put your picture on the cover of the next issue …

“We think it’ll make you famous.”

I’ve said funnier things, but situationally, it may have been the funniest thing I’ve ever said.

The group exploded with laughter. Where there had been tension, there was now unexpected delight. No one was laughing louder than Jordan. I sensed he doesn’t get to laugh a lot and my joke reminded him how wonderful surprise laughter feels.

Still laughing, he said, “Man call my agent!”

I never did. 
—-   <<  >>   —-

Think of all the food you ate over the last 24 hours. Was any of it free? Now think of all the media you consumed to feed your brain. Did you pay even a dime for any of it? Did it nourish or decay? Happy Birthday donations welcome here.

Or you can always buy a book or two. Or …

I still accept coupons for Sheetz Cheese Stix!

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