...and it was as awesome as you might imagine.
(Alert: I have a photo with Nick, but since I forgot my digital camera at home, I had to buy on the of the disposable ones from CVS. It's currently being developed, and I should have a digital cd copy by about 11:30. Hopefully I can upload then, and hopefully I don't look like a total douche. But then again, that'd be hilarious too. Oh, and the whole jinx thing? Monday, I swear.
Update: I have the photo! See below!)
My friend Larry and I found the AT&T store at about 5:30, and there was a decent-sized line coiling around the inside. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the people were my age or older, and it wasn't just a stream of little kids. I expressed that sentiment to the guy on my left, and he said "it's nothing bad."
I wanted to hug him. You're right, man, it's nothing bad. Swisher is only two years older than me, but we're all just fans, and screw it. Life is good. Then I did try to hug him, and things got weird.
Not really. But after about ten minutes, Swish came out from his bathroom break, and the place started applauding. He beamed in all his mohawk glory, waved to us, and moved across the room in that trademark jaunty style. The line started moving. Everyone got to shake his hand, say a few words, get an autographed whatever, and take a photo.
Swish was nice all around. He spoke with the girls a little longer. The fans generally were kinda shy when they got close, although some were weirdly demanding ("yo man, sign this picture for me," said one guy, without shaking his hand) and some were more confident.
Here's where it got dicey for me. Going in, I had this pretty crazy idea that could definitely have backfired in a big way. For the past two years, my stepfather, his brother, and my cousin have done this thing called the "Masters Pool." We each pick ten golfers, and the winner is the person whose players have the most combined prize money when the tournament ends. Fair enough. Last year, my cousin ordered a trophy to be presented to the winner, and it's a sweet little statue of an Indian chief wearing a huge headdress and defiantly holding a war lance. On the plinth, it says "Cigar Store Indian Masters Pool Champion." The inside joke here is that someone (I think my stepfather) once compared Joe Torre to a cigar store Indian, because he sat in the dugout without moving or changing his stony expression.
So. The trophy is pretty awesome, and I've had this idea for a while that whoever holds it each year should treat it like a traveling gnome. If it was photographed with celebrities, athletes, etc., it could become an icon and accrue the weight of legend. I have the trophy this year, and since my cousin loves Swisher, and predicted that he'd be an awesome personality about two months before the season started, and because my stepfather kinda hates him, I thought it would be a hilarious idea to get a picture with Swish holding the trophy.
That took me two paragraphs to explain, which is about two minutes reading out loud, and in this blog I have the benefit of editing for clarification. But standing in line at the AT&T store, holding the little gold and black figurine, I wondered to myself how the hell I was going to pitch this to Swish. I definitely didn't have time to explain the whole story, and if I short-changed it, there was a chance he'd read the inscription and be like "what the hell does golf have to do with me?" Then I'd start stuttering and Swisher would hate me and I wouldn't be allowed at Yankee games anymore.
I'd outlined the situation to Larry beforehand, and when we were about ten people away, I asked him if I should go through with it. Instead of providing encouragement, he said "ummm...it could be a little weird." I hesitated, then realized he was right and put the trophy back in my backpack. My turn came, I shook Swisher's hand politely, didn't say much, got an autograph, and was on my way. Today I feel full of regret.
Oh, wait a second...
THAT AIN'T HOW I ROLL.
Three people away, I said screw it. I'm doing this thing come hell or high water. By hook or by crook. I took the trophy back out, steeled my nerves, and turned my brain off. At that point, Larry actively tried to discourage me. "Are you seriously going through with this?" he asked with an audible grimace, as though it would somehow embarrass him. "Yup," I said, full of the deranged confidence of someone about to make a huge mistake. In Larry's defense, I think his impulse was a protective one. I didn't even plan what I was going to say. It had all the ingredients of a disaster, but when my turn came, I pulled out one of the clutchest social performances of my life (and believe me, there aren't many to pick from).
I walked up to the table, Swish flashed that big smile, and we shook hands. "It's been awesome having you on the team," I said.
"Thanks man!" Then he started signing one of the pile of photos. I took a deep breath, and launched into my explanation. Here's how it went, more or less word for word.
"Hey, this is really goofy, but this little trophy is kind of a family icon. We pass it on every year, and everyone in my family really thinks you're great. If you could hold the trophy for the photo, they'd probably go nuts."
Without hesitation, he laughed, said "absolutely. Let's do it." He took the trophy, gave a giant, toothy grin and an enthusiastic thumbs-up (couldn't have been more perfect). Then he pointed at the trophy and the woman took the photo. Everybody in line laughed, and somehow it worked out really well. We shook hands again, I wished him luck, he said goodbye, and now I consider Nick Swisher the greatest human being in the world.
Honestly, I realize there's something verging on pathetic in this account. Everybody in the store felt like a little kid again. We laughed at all his jokes, everyone was happy, and it felt cool to be a Yankee fan. But from a cynic's perspective, there may be a faint taste of cringe-worthy hero-worship on the periphery of the story. Which is generally why I like to leave my favorite athletes and artists alone. But you know what? Screw it. I have a hilarious picture with Nick Swisher, and he turned out to be a legitimately nice guy. No apologies on this end. I'll try to post the picture later.
Update: here it is. Appropriately, I look like I'm an overgrown ten year-old meeting his idol. Something went wrong with the camera, and only 6 pictures were rescued from the 26 exposures. Luckily, this was one.
Now, before I say goodbye for the weekend, it's time for a new segment on this blog. It's called "Answering Fan Mail." This morning I received a note in my inbox from "Tyler Price." Here's the message in its entirety:
My name is Tyler and I’m working with www.simplydesks.com, part of CSN Stores, to identify successful bloggers that may be interested in working on a great opportunity together. I love your site and I am interested in either contributing a guest post, helping create a product review, or hosting a giveaway on your site using CSN Stores great selection that can spruce up anyone’s home. Thank you for your time and I look forward to continuing our conversation if you are interested in learning more!
Thank for your kind e-mail. As you've correctly ascertained, the true 'crux' of my blog, beyond the nominal theme of sports, is the glorious item we Americans call 'the desk.' This outstanding piece of furniture is the vital, pulsating force behind every word I write. I would be thrilled to have you pen a guest post here on Seth Curry Saves Duke! about your business. In fact, I can't imagine a better cross-promotional opportunity. Question: do you do erotic prose about desks? Because I'd be completely okay with that. If you don't, can I 'spruce up' your guest post with some of my own?
As to your second request, what sort of product review would we be creating? Would I be reviewing one of your desks? If so, be forewarned: I'm a huge desk fan, and it's difficult for me to write an objective review of any desk without sounding like a total fanboy. What can I say? Show me something wooden that I can sit behind while using a computer, and I'm like a blubbering idiot. But I'll try anything once. How 'hardcore' do you like your reviews? My reviewing range is anywhere from 'pretty hardcore' to 'fucking sick.'
Moving on, a giveaway would be fantastic. But the people who read this blog are unappreciative drooling jocks who wouldn't know a sleek desk if it landed in their trailer. Most of them sit on sports-themed foam chairs, and do their work on coffee tables. Tyler, I hate coffee tables. So would it be cool if for the giveaway, you just gave me a free desk?
Finally, I do have a couple stipulations before we go through with any of this. First, I would like to be paid three thousand dollars tax-free. Second, I want permission to come to your store for one day and advertise my blog to your customers. But I don't want any restrictions about how I advertise my blog. You dig?
Thanks for the e-mail Tyler. God bless you.
-Seth Curry Saves Duke!
Have a good weekend, friends.