Early on in the frenzied reaction to my recent blog post about a person we’ve been calling Tim, I received a phone call from my brother. It might be hard for anyone who does not know me very well to know how much pleasure it gives me to write that simple line. My brother and I have not always been close. There were long stretches of time when our relationship was one of benign neglect, when we might have gone years without seeing each other if not for the regular recurrence of Christmas. I’m pleased to say that we’re probably closer now than we ever have been, and I’m always delighted when he calls. However, on this recent occasion I was also very busy and a bit distracted, which might explain why I can’t quite remember the exact wording of the wisdom he offered by way of commentary on the recent blog post about Tim. It went something like this: People should just get drunk, fall down, and start vomiting.
His point might have been that Tim, by engaging in conversation during that delicate period between drunk and falling down, had brought this on himself. In other words, once you’ve reached a certain level of drunkenness, the things you’re liable to say might be even more embarrassing than lying in a pool of your own vomit. Without revealing too much about the revelry that followed North Carolina State’s upset of Black Tide at College Nationals in Boulder (1999?), my brother knows whereof he speaks. Perhaps if he had been at the Clambake party last weekend he might have been talking to Tim and he could have counseled him. He was not. I was. I did not counsel. I listened, and then I blogged.
As previously mentioned, my post has generated a frenzied reaction, with three times as many visits in a day as I had ever recorded before. Comments to the post currently stand at fourteen, and an RSD thread, spun off by a reader with his own agenda, has had eighteen posts and seven thread title changes as of this writing. As is often the case, much of the reaction doesn’t merit mention. A few responses, however, were both thoughtful and thought-provoking, and it seems that perhaps some amplification of my position is in order.
I have no vendetta against Tim, and I don’t think it was inappropriate for me to blog using the information he revealed while drunk at a Frisbee party. I don’t know if he feels differently, but he has been in touch with me via email and did not indicate that he felt that I had crossed the line. I know that some people disagree on this point, so I think we’ll have to assume that our lines aren’t in the same place and leave it at that.
There were other things Tim said that I will not reveal, including his assessment of the HOF credentials of both the current Sl8 of candidates and his former teammates. To my way of thinking that would be inappropriate, the difference being that I think it’s perfectly acceptable to reveal (and perhaps revel in) Tim’s views on himself but not his views on others. As for why and how I revealed what I revealed, that question requires a more elaborate answer. Let’s start with how.
First of all, I make no claim to being an Oscar Wilde scholar, and if my thematic interpretation of The Picture of Dorian Gray is flawed, you have my apologies. It was really just a device to introduce the possibility that Tim’s revelations were more than drunken blather.
Likewise, the recitation of the falls from grace suffered by Fossella, Edwards, and Spitzer (now that would be a kick-ass law firm) was also a device, one I thought would suggest the likelihood that while there are certainly varying degrees of duplicity, it could be a more common part of the human condition than we might want to admit. I hope that you’ll note that in the politically charged environment we find ourselves in today, I made certain to include members of both major political parties.
As for the transition from device-laden intro to the actual meat of the matter, let’s just say that when Match wrote that I could have done a better job he was probably being kind. I’ve written smoother transitions with a sledgehammer.
Most of my writing is done in my head, with ideas weaving, unraveling and re-weaving themselves over a period of time until the piece feels ready. When I finally sit down to the actual task of writing, the piece is usually about 90% completed. That process doesn’t work well when time is of the essence, and because I wanted to get this quasi-Clambake piece posted soon after the event, I sat right down and wrote it. I’ll be the first to admit that it reeks of mediocrity.
I have written some pieces that I found to be well-crafted and genuinely moving, touching on topics that, while personal in the specific sense, could be seen to have almost universal application in a more general sense. Many of those pieces have been read by fewer than one quarter of the people who read this recent piece in a single day. Am I to assume that, among the ultimate blog reading community, flawed writing of a gossipy nature with dubious value is four times more popular than more cleverly crafted, poignant tales touching on serious issues? I don’t know. More importantly, I don’t care.
I write because I like to. Sometimes I write about life’s little absurdities, and I write in a way that amuses me, that makes me smile. Sometimes I write about more serious topics, and I’m not ashamed to say that sometimes my writing makes me cry. If I write about ultimate I try to do it tangentially. I’m not always successful. I do not write in a vacuum. I post my writing on a blog and I write for an audience, but it may not be the audience you imagine. In most of my posts there are little jokes that can only be understood by small numbers of people, sometimes only one. Most of the time I never know if those jokes find their mark, but I keep writing them. Every once in a while I get an email from someone who has been moved by something I’ve written. That’s the audience I write for.
I have nothing against Tim, but I was making fun of him. Anyone who reads my stuff knows I make as much fun of myself as anyone else. We should all spend a little more time laughing at ourselves. On that note, and to put to rest any suggestion of my lawn being decorated with heads on spikes, I think the Cheap Seats bit is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. In fact, for some time afterward, I changed all my passwords to FRIZBAY! So, in the spirit of self-deprecation, and in fairness to Tim, I’ll share some of the things I might have said that night at the Clambake party.
As a member of the HOF peer review committee, I had a chance to cast ten nominating votes from a selection of eligible candidates. I could only find three people to vote for. Two of those players are on the Sl8. I think that only three members of New York deserve to be in the HOF. I do not believe I was ever the greatest player in the game; I wasn’t even the greatest player on my team.
I am not drunk.