Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm Not Drunk

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.


parinella said...

I am a little ticked that you exaggerated virtually every statement I made (e.g., you said I claimed to be the best player for a period of several years, I actually said it was just at some point within a several year window, and I may have even picked a date out at random). And I don't really have any opinions about the Sl8 other than my reverence for the player you were, and what's that matter anyway because I am currently just a civilian on those matters.

I really can't figure out why you felt a need to exaggerate my already-overblown self-assessment. The reason I initiated the Hall discussion that night was because of something you told me 14 years ago, that the keyboard is not a good place to handle sensitive discussions. I intended to (but probably didn’t) express my displeasure at your previous exaggerations or taking out of context things I had communicated to you regarding the HoF process.

kd said...

Just in case your memory of the conversation is a little hazy, I'll remind there was a third person there. I checked everything with him before I wrote anything, just to make sure what I remembered you saying was what you had in fact said. Now it's certainly possible that the one person of the three who later was so drunk he fell on his head twice is the one with the best recollection of events.

What I (and the other person who was there) remember was you saying you were the best for a period of several years. As for exaggeration, let's not forget that I didn't even include the rest, the part where you detailed your superiority by ticking off the things that made you better than everyone else. Really, your claims of exaggeration ring hollow, and I think you may have misremembered yourself.

Anonymous said...

c'mon hate boston(ultimate)....who knows, maybe the city too. you hate everyting about them and there is nothing that opitimizes them more than this "tim" guy. I hate him. In fact he AND his kind make me fucking sick.

So that dorian grey peice wasnt your best writing, who cares. I just loved the controversy within the content. All this goodie two shoe shit has got to go. take me back to the days when NY raigned supreem and ultimate had an edge to it. sure there werent refs back then either but at least their was an edge.....and a story.

as for you tim.....nice attempt at backpeddeling here. you know what they say.....a drunkin man words are a sober mans thoughts. wow, it just hit me, what the fuck am i drunk on all the time?

on a different note ken......i have to write a proposal for an idea for a semi pro entertainment geared select ultimate league run within the confines of the upa for "the huddle". any chance i can compensate you in some form (puff,puff) to review it(and possibly endorse it)......if its somthing that you have any interest in seeing happen. You can contact me thru one of my rsd thread posts.

Not only that but i informally thru your name in the hat as someone that should be solicited to become the next director of the upa. What kind of salery would you require to take on that job?

Finally, who were some of the greatest players, in your opinion, from those great NY teams? as for yourself not being the greatest i would have to agree with that in somew reguards but dont sell yourself too short. there is alot to be said for the ability to make all those players around you greater tha they otherwise would have been without you. And not only was your team made great as a result of that but so was the sport.

so thanks for that contribution.......those that missed out on that era missed out on that brief period when ultimate was actually a "real sport".

Anonymous said...

It's too bad this conversation didn't occur at Clambake 2007 whose motto was "What happens at Clambake stays at Clambake".

jacob said...

Only 3 NYNY Hall of Famers?

Kenny Dobyns
Pat King
Jon Gewertz
Dennis Warsen
Skip Kuhn
Dave Blau
Danny Weiss
Billy Rodriguez (or did he only get prime time after moving to Boston?)

and I must be forgetting some guys.

Phil said...

Jim at least has a credible argument for being the best player in Ultimate in 1994 and 1995. Other people have a credible argument too. Only three people know what Jim said at the party, but if what he said was something like "I was the best player in the game for a couple of years, because I was usually the fastest player on the field, I was one of the top receivers and throwers on the dynasty team of the era, I scored a ton, nobody could shut me down, I made good decisions, I helped change the standard tactics and thinking on both O and D, and I always went hard at practice to make my teammates better" then I think you either say "uh huh, good points" or you roll your eyes and think "I can think of at least three or four other guys who were just as good, or better." What you don't do, at least not if you're honest and fair, is say "this guy is full of shit," because everything in that quote I made up is true.

Now, not having been party to the conversation, it's possible that "Tim" was drunk off his ass and claimed to be able to outrun Usain Bolt, outjump Sergei Bubka, outdive Greg Lougainis, and outthink Albert Einstein, in which case some level of ridicule is perfectly appropriate..although I still don't see why it should be mean-spirited, joyless ridicule rather than the "make fun of the drunk dude" ridicule that we can all have a good laugh about.

I'd like to say "it's all in good fun", but there doesn't actually seem to be any fun in it at all. I'm left wondering why Ken dislikes "Tim" so much, without really caring much about the answer. Whatever. Play on.

Alexander said...

Another NYNy player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame is Matty J.
So when are you coming over for dinner? Or for a visit and a stroll and then some chow? We will, of course, be bad and we'll cruise around your old nabe. How about saturday night? I'll actually be in Manhattan (a rarity since I'm almost always in Amagansett).