Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Blessing and a Curse

Time for a self-referential post, which is a reliable indicator that this blog is Jumping the Shark. Nevertheless, I'm going to take a hard look at my posts, and determine whether there's a Seth Curry Saves Duke! jinx at play. But before I get into that, a quick piece of news:

I may go meet Nick Swisher today.

I'm not someone who generally enjoys trying to blur the line between fan and celebrity. I don't have a burning desire to meet athletes or artists I really admire, and that's mostly because I can't imagine they'll possibly enjoy meeting me. The worst part of being famous has to be dealing with the fans, especially if you're not the kind of person who sought out fame for its own end. So I'm not in the market to waste their valuable time.

I remember in college hanging around by a back entrance after a concert because a couple friends of mine really wanted to meet Ben Folds. He finally emerged, and was really gracious to everyone, but there was a definite aura of obligation surrounding the whole thing. Like 'this is how I'm supposed to conduct myself as a famous musician so people don't think I'm a complete asshole.' And it makes total sense; why would Ben Folds care to have a brief conversation and take a picture with me? He already knows I appreciate his art, since I bought a ticket and attended his show. And I already know he appreciates me, because he got on stage and kicked ass. That should be enough.

After that, I've never tried to score face-time with my 'idols.' The closest I came was when I went to see Wes Anderson give a talk during the New York Film Festival in 2007. Afterward, they set up a table and you could line up to say hello. If there's one human being in the world for whom I'd sacrifice my dignity in exchange for a ten-second chat, it's the director of 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'Rushmore' and 'Bottle Rocket.' Still, I held off. I still want to meet Wes, but I want it to be on my own terms. (That sounded creepy.)

Oh, and one other time before a DMB show in 2003 (yeah, yeah, make your was college, his stuff was good in the 90s, and the shows were a blast) I was looking for my friend, and Dave came out the side door of the venue. It shocked me so much that I blurted out "hey Dave!" He turned, waved, said "hey man," and got on his bus. Then I broke down crying and asked God to take me from this Earth while I stood upon my personal mountaintop.

Allllll that being said, I might go against my principles today. For those who don't know, Swisher is new to the Yanks this year, and he's a complete goofball. He plays right field, bats around .250, and walks a lot. Because Yankees aren't allowed to grow facial hair, he shaved his head into a mohawk. One of the best moments of the year so far was when Girardi brought him in to pitch an inning of relief. You can check out the video and read about his antics in this post. In the picture below, you can see the strange, vaguely rock-star/cunnilingual celebration he and Johnny Damon do all the time:

Here's some other stuff, copied and pasted from a tape-delay blog I did, that makes him sound like an okay guy:

8:48: Swisher steps up as the tying run. By the way, you may have noticed that Swish looks to the sky conspicuously before every pitch. Here’s the story, from the NY Daily News:

Betty Swisher died of brain cancer on Aug. 14, 2005, and Swisher's beloved grandfather, Donald, died last November. Both are a part of his daily life, though, in part through a series of baseball rituals that any Yankee fan has probably noticed.

He has both of their initials scrawled on the bottom of the handle of all his bats and he usually kisses that spot before he goes to the plate. Then he looks upward to recognize them again.

"A lot of people ask me if I'm looking up at the sky, but the one thing that really helped me get through the tough times of losing those two were to give them the best seats in the house," Swisher says. "In my mind, that's the top of the stadium. At Yankee Stadium, it's actually the top of the Megatron (scoreboard screen), so I visualize them sitting there, watching me play. I know they're cheering for me. I just wish they could be here in person to see all this.

He also has his grandmother’s initials tattooed across his chest, and plans to get his grandfather’s on his back in the offseason.

Swish also gets thrown out on the bases a lot, since he has a proclivity to try and stretch singles into doubles, and he's been known to go on long cold streaks at the plate. But in my mind, his personality more than makes up for all his shortcomings. And, ultimately, I think it would be hilarious to have a picture with him.

So the deal is this: he's hanging out at the AT&T store at the Empire State Building from 4-6, presumably signing autographs and being chummy. I'd probably have to wait in line with a lot of parents bringing their kids, and a smattering of insane fully grown fans who have a sad collection of Yankee mugs and crippling social anxiety. But man, in my head that picture is like a holy grail. I can't imagine it not being awesome and timeless.

Wow, I just wrote a lot about maybe meeting Nick Swisher. Obviously the jinx stuff will have to wait for tomorrow, which is fine since it saves me from having to come up with a new idea, and it probably saves you from reading another zany character post by someone named "The Addled 90-Year Old Sports Nut with Psoriasis," or something. Until then, here's a picture of Nick Swisher getting his soul patch painted pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

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