Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Conversation with Cliff Lee

Before we begin, some words on shopping for jeans.

(Damn, I googled 'Canadian Tuxedo' and know this: there are an almost unreasonable number of Jay Leno pictures)

Shopping for jeans, I want to tell you, is one of the most insecure things a dude ever has to do. At least this dude. It brings back horrible memories of going to the mall as a kid and trying on pair after pair before realizing that nothing looks good. Also, you have to deal with those clothing store mirrors that let you see your own body from every possible angle at once. I am one of those unfortunate individuals with a giant head, and when I was a kid it looked even more giant on my little kid body. It was the #1 thing people made fun of me for, and whenever I stood in front of those bastard mirrors, I could see why: oh God, my head really is huge.

(Life truth: you know how even the worst-looking dudes all think they're Adonis while even the most beautiful women can find fault in a heartbeat? It's because guys only look at themselves straight in the mirror, which is the best possible perspective for anyone. I could be a model if the world were two-dimensional.* Women, meanwhile, will investigate the angles using eight mirrors and advanced technology until they find one that's slightly unflattering. Then they feel bad about themselves.

*So not true.)

Nobody has made fun of me for having a big head in years, which is either because people are too nice now or it looks less huge on my grown man's body. But the trauma still lingers. Kid trauma stays with you forever. Obama could phone me up tomorrow, tell me I was a giant ugly failure who would never make anything of himself, and I'd forget it in about two days. "Oh well man, that's just Obama's opinion." But there's some chronically unemployed dude in upstate New York swearing at his wife in a trailer home and about to go huff gasoline with the boys behind the mechanic's shop RIGHT NOW who mocked my big head back in 1993, and I will still think of that motherfucker from time to time.

Anyway, jean shopping brings all this shit back. I haven't shopped for jeans in like 3 years, but the other day I was riding my bike wearing the last pair and the crotch just gave out. It was already frayed, but nobody can see that part so I was letting it go, pretending things were peachy keen. Then I tried to get off my bike and the front of the seat literally tore through the fabric. I was suspended by the crotch of my jeans and had to kind of stumble around the parking lot trying to shimmy my way off the bike seat.

That's when you know: your life is turning desperate. Get some new denim.

So I went, and a few things haven't changed:

1) When you hit the fitting room, the woman you're with will immediately disappear into the farthest obscure corner of the store. Used to be mom, now it's the girlfriend. All I want is to pop out with my jeans, show them, and pop back in. Instead, the woman who judges you will be miles away, and you have to walk the gauntlet of other shoppers who all evaluate your jeans as you search. At least some of them will be attractive women who have trained in academies to make you feel like an asshole with a single look. Then you'll find your girlfriend, and she'll say something awful like "no, those make your hips look girly." And you'll be like "you know what else makes my hips look girly? Tearing down this whole fucking store limb by limb." And you'll sulk back and take another look and be like shit, these boot cut jeans really do make me look girly-hipped. Why the fuck would anyone design jeans like that? I have the most masculine hips in the universe. People comment on them.

2) Some store won't let you use their bathroom.

3) You'll tell yourself you won't buy the J. Crew jeans. Sure, they'll be the best. They'll make other jeans look like sweatpants. But they're a hundred fucking dollars and nobody should have to pay that much for a simple pair of dungarees. Then you'll go through Lucky and Banana Republic and the Gap and wherever else and be like shit, there's J. Crew. And the J. Crew jeans will be great. And hey, there's a 10% student discount! So you'll compromise and buy a single pair.

4) Then you'll buy 2 pair of Gap jeans so you don't feel like a total wasteful spender, and you'll go on to wear the J. Crew pair 300 days in a row (washing twice) because you like them so much better.

Jean shopping is officially for the birds. See you in 2014, stores that carry jeans.

That was a lot of words about denim. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Let's get to business:


Background: Yesterday, it came out that Cliff Lee's wife was harassed by some idiots during a game at Yankee Stadium. People speculated whether this might affect his decision on where to play next season. I knew I had to get him on the phone, so I called him up in San Francisco really early this morning. This is the transcript of that call. Also, I had a mug of cheap vodka with me on the floor of the bedroom, so when you see a sipping sound, you know the deal.


Cliff Lee: Hello?

Me: Yo Cliff, how you be?

Cliff: What time is it?

Me: It's even later here, doggy. Believe that. (long sip)

Cliff: Who is this?

Me: It's Shane, from SCSD.

Cliff: Who?

Me: HAHA! You still got it, Cliff. How you feeling, brother? You got a big game tomorrow, right? World Series, Tim That's some momentous stuff.

Cliff: What the fuck are-

Me: Yo, okay, okay...I'll get right to the point. I read just now that some yokels got up to bothering your wife the other night in Yankee Stadium.

Cliff: Oh. Yeah.

Me: I wanted to apologize on behalf of the city. We aren't like that normally. New Yorkers can be prickly pears, don't get me wrong, but we aren't about spitting and obscenities and throwing beer. That's out of line.

Cliff: Did you read the whole article?

Me: Headline and first paragraph, homes. Any more and you wasting time and not getting laiiddddddd, am I right? (long sip)

Cliff: Well, if you'd read it, you would've seen that I'm not really concerned. I'm quoting myself now: "I brush that off as fans being fans. You can't control 50,000 people and what they're going to do."

Me: Ahhh, nice. I'm glad you got some perspective on the whole thing. So we'll be seeing you next season, word?

Cliff: Dude, I haven't made my decision yet. I'm about to pitch in the World Series.

Me: Yeah yeah, I dig. Listen, I'm reading that article now, and I just got to your wife's quote. "The fans did not do good things in my heart." I don't mean to pry here, but that sounds like something a religious person would say. Is she religious, Cliff? Is Kristen religious?

Cliff: Yes, faith is important to her.

Me: Got it. Listen, I apologize if I'm stepping on toes, but I have to ask...are really religious people super boring in bed?

Cliff: Are you fucking serious?

Me: (long sip)

Cliff: Really, man?

Me: I'm just wondering if they're afraid to really get down, you know? If they always act like Jesus might be watching, or something.

Cliff: I can't believe you're asking this...

Me: Cliff, I can tell by the way you're not hanging up the phone that you want to get something off your chest.

Cliff: That's not...that's not true, I just...

Me: Spill it out right, dog. You're in a safe place.

Cliff:'re not going to publish this?

Me: Hell and no.

Cliff: Well...yeah man, it's a little boring. We've literally got this picture of Jesus on the wall above the bed, and I think that and some other things are limiting us. I'm not like the other guys, I don't cheat on my wife on the road, but I can't help wondering what else is out there, you know? I mean, I'm Cliff Lee. Why should I be limited? Why should I have boring sex?

Me: Cliff, I have to tell you: that is some of the most selfish talk I've ever heard.

Cliff: What? But you said-

Me: I said NOTHING. Here she is, trying to raise a family with you on the road half the year, for God's sake, and you're complaining about the sex?

Cliff: But-

Me: She had to get stared at and yelled at by people from New York City, Cliff. She did that for you. And now you're going to sit here and attack her Christian values?! The one thing keeping her sane while her husband is off playing some game? I'm appalled. I'm absolutely disgusted.

Ciff: But, I just...I mean...

Me: (long sip)

Cliff: I guess...I guess you're right. I didn't even think...

Me: Yo Cliff, Cliff. Listen, big dog...I'm fucking with you.

Cliff: Wait...Really?

Me: One hundred percent. Get yourself some strange, brother.

Cliff: You think so?

Me: Yeah man, you know what they say about life being short. It ain't just talk. I got some numbers of San Francisco people if you need.

Cliff: Oh...oh thank God, you scared me!

Me: Nah, ain't no high horses in this half of the world. You're a young man. Get out and have fun.

Cliff: You're all right, Shane.

Me: You ain't half bad neither, Cliff.

Cliff: I can't wait to tell my teammates I'm off the fidelity wagon. Maybe they'll stop making fun of me.

Me: Loose lip sink a ship, Cliff. Don't forget.

Cliff: Got it! Well, I guess I'll talk to you later.

Me: (long sip)

Cliff: Hey Shane.

Me: Sup?

Cliff: I'll see you next spring in New York.

Me: Not if I see you first, sonnnn.



There you have it. That's how I made sure the NYC stuff was no big deal and also convinced Cliff Lee to cheat on his wife.

World Series tonight. Let's go Tim Lincecum!


  1. I agree about jeans. My approach is to just not wear them. I often feel weird at small social events when I look around a room and count (I count things) like 10 out of 10 other people all sporting jeans and I'm wearing some sort of cargo pants...I sit there and wonder if it makes me stand out in a good way (that guy is so cool!), bad way (what's his problem?), or if nobody even notices. Maybe it's because I just refuse to go jean shopping, but I have like 1 pair that my wife (then girlfriend) made me buy like 10 years ago (Levi's I think) that sits unused at the bottom of my drawer because I hate them. Maybe I'll give jean shopping a shot here soon...dreaded 8 way mirrors!

  2. John! I'm glad you commented because I need to know where the hell I can order good pizza in Chapel Hill or Carrboro. We had Pepper's last night and it was kind of a disaster, but earlier experiences with them have been okay. IP3 hasn't treated me kind, and I'm a little iffy on some of the Franklin joints. We also tried and didn't love the place next to Cat's Cradle. If you have the answer, fill me in.


    PS everyone thinks you're weird because you don't wear jeans.

    (Not really, well done. Don't give in to the tyranny of denim.)

  3. Some people like the Loop, but I kinda like Brixx for atmosphere and beer selection. They just do those custom 10" things, but there pretty good. Let me know what you think. I always thought Pepper's earned it's rep by being all 'local' and not for their good pizza. Loop isn't bad though for what it is. Try both! I have to say, pizza is one place that Gainesville excels with multiple top-notch pizza joints (Satchel's, Leonardo's...) it may be the one food area superior to Chapel Hill region. There's a good place in raleigh...Lilly's maybe...

  4. come to think of it, I think Brixx was really about the beer special nights and not the pizza. It's just like California pizza kitchen pizza if I remember right...thin crust...

  5. So no good pizza then? Yeah, it's a damn shame. I'll be in NYC in a few weeks and you can bet I'll be chowing down on the good stuff most of the day.