This was the day the Phillies got Cliff Lee last year. I’ve seen that all around the internet this morning, people getting all sentimental about what a great day that was for the city. It certainly was an exciting day, but if we’re going to start celebrating its anniversary, I’m going to need a little more out of Cliff Lee. Oh, this is the day we got the guy that couldn’t hold the 4-run lead? Great. I think people are expecting a similar move, or hoping for one, despite the minute chance anything more significant than Jimmy Rollins could happen. To commemorate the occasion here, we’re bringing out a mailbag. Good mix of questions this week.
Q: Say you were friends with some MMA wrecking ball. How would this impact your behavior when you were out and about? Do you immediately become the toughest guy on the planet because you know your boy will step in and immediately end any trouble? Jack Russell, Tucson, AZ.
A: So you want carte blanche to pick fights? And then you want to run and hide when the action starts? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just someone who has to tip-toe around meatheads at bars for fear of accidentally causing a drop of their Jager shot to spill. It would be nice to move freely through the crowds, knowing the guy behind you could take care of business the way Mr. Miagi took care of the Cobra Kai. My main concern is if your one-man wrecking crew isn’t paying attention, then what? What if he doesn’t arrive at the scene in time? You back-pedal into some guy’s lady friend, he threatens your life and instead of cowering you puff out your chest and suggest he participates in the anabolic arts. The only problem is, your boy is hitting on some chick and by the time he sees what’s going down, you’ve already caught one square in the face. I CAN’T RISK THAT. The bottom line is, if you’re going to be a d__k, you either have to be able to talk yourself out of it, or be prepared for the consequences–regardless of who your friends are.
Q: Is it appropriate to ask how tall someone is when they are very tall? You wouldn’t ask someone how tall they were if they were like, 3’11”. I was out with a tall person the other day, someone asked his height and then when presented with the answer, replied, “Sweet.” Inappropriate? Skee Lowe, Short Pump, VA.
A: I don’t think it’s as inappropriate as asking someone who is very short. Back in elementary school I knew a girl who was pretty easily the shortest person in our class. One day, my friend and I were just sitting there and we decided we wanted to know what size shoe she wore. She also had small feet. Clearly, we were idiots, but when you are 10 or 11 that goes with the territory. So, we just asked her. She wouldn’t tell us. And, I don’t even think we realized that she was probably embarrassed or thought we were going to make fun of her. It really was INNOCENT CURIOSITY, but she never gave up the goods. Height, on the other hand, is something people admire, so I doubt they mean any ill will when they ask. That said, I’m sure it gets incredibly old for anyone 6’6″ or above to be constantly asked how tall they are. This should be something an adult can eye-ball on their own. If you’re 5’11” and you’re standing next to someone who is a head and a half taller than you…do some quick math. APPROXIMATE. Save the awkward question for another time.
Q: I understand that tattoo removal is not a simple procedure, but they can be removed, correct? It drives me crazy when someone looks at a tattoo and is like, “You’re going to have that your whole life. It’s permanent.” Actually, it isn’t. So, get over it. Pete Inkavilglia, Arlington, TX.
A: I don’t know all the ins and outs of tattoo removal. I know they use LASERS. But, I think you might be treating it a bit casually. Permanent is a misused word in many cases, I’ll give you that. Markers are a good example. I guess if some kid takes a sharpie to a white sofa–that’d be a problem. But, it’ll wash off your hands. No worries. And, that’s because your skin is AMAZING. People like to argue about tattoos. They are one of the things that signal the downfall of society and there are set arguments. “Well, hope you like wearing long sleeves to work every day.” And, “That’ll look great when you’re an old woman.” The finality of the tattoo has always been something people LOVE to point out, so waiting for them all to realize they can be removed is going to be a very slow process.
Q: What’s more embarrassing? Drunk-Dialing an Ex? Or, Drunk-Dialing a sports talk show? Bill Bolt, Kennett Square, PA.
A: I think they may just be equally embarrassing sign posts in the history of your life. If you are drunk-dialing sports talk shows I imagine you’ve matured past the point where you have that haunting “ex” in your life. This isn’t to say you’ve matured overall, just in that one particular area. You still can’t control your actions when you’re wasted, they just manifest in a way that’s probably less detrimental for you the next day. Ok, I’m tweaking you a bit there, calling the “ex” is definitely more embarrassing. Unless, of course, she wanted you to call and all it took was some cheap vodka to get you back together…YEH! A LOVE STORY! But, I don’t know of that ever happening in the history of relationships. Calling sports talk is probably something you should do with a buzz anyway, everyone thinks they sound better when they’re wasted. You know, thinking back on my own experiences, I once called a girl when I was drunk, but I didn’t even have the courage to see if she picked up. I just dialed and then put the phone back in my pocket. I was out at some loud bar, and I guess my thought was she’d hear all this commotion and call me the next day asking what was going on. Ready for the shocking twist? She DID NOT call me back the next day. Definitely one of the top-5 most pathetic things I’ve done, so this is a lay-up, “ex-girlfriend” all the way.
Q: You’re at a Christmas tree lot and you accidentally cut down a tree that was “reserved.” Do you tell the truth, or just take the tag off? Sub-Question? Who the bleep reserves a tree? Just pick it out and cut it the same day? Paula Bunyan, Sawtooth, ID.
A: The ribbons have always been a point of confusion for me. Are they the trees that the owners are cutting down to send to some distant lot? Are they reserved for other people? Do people see a shorter tree that they like the shape of, and save it for the following year? I probably need a long Q&A with a tree farm guy, but I’m thinking most are probably destined for shipping off to the Boy Scouts at the gas station, or have been claimed by some super-planner who was there the day after Halloween scouting the “merch.” My thought is, if you’ve “accidentally” cut down a tree that was tagged you have to go ahead and finish the crime. If you roll into a bank, guns blazing, you might as well ROB THAT BITCH. Once it’s down, there’s no going back. The other people will find another tree, you get the one you wanted–It’s win/win.
Q: A friend of mine likes to tell toll booth workers to, “keep the change,” and then he drives off chuckling to himself. For some reason, this cracks him up, and he’s not even a particularly funny guy. Shouldn’t he leave the toll taker alone? That’s got to be a pretty thankless job. Katie Token, Trenton, NJ.
A: Wait, your friend doesn’t have EZ-PASS? What a delinquent. Sorry, that’s a little 3-PT inside humor there. This friend of yours sounds like quite the character. And, by that I mean he sounds like a particular kind of a-hole that I’d be embarrassed to hang out with. Giving a toll booth operator a dollar for a $.75 fare and then saying, “Keep the change,” isn’t particularly funny. Maybe if it was a small part of a much larger fictional scenario I could laugh, but this certainly should not be anyone’s go-to joke. That’s just unfortunate. Dealing with small amounts of change can be a hassle. I know people who bolt from a counter if they’re going to get like 7 cents back on the purchase of a FIJI water. I guess the point is, they’re saving everyone time, but usually by the time the cashier figures out what’s going on, they’re already into the penny drawer…they look up, you’re gone, it doesn’t have the intended impact. Let these people do their job. If you don’t want the change, throw it in the jar, throw it out the window of your car, but don’t imply that anyone should ‘keep it,’ that’s just insulting.
Q: Would you rather be an undeniable individual talent–someone like Allen Iverson who was branded as “not a winning player,” or someone like Scottie Pippen who has to constantly defend himself from the Jordan coattail people for the rest of his life, but has 6 rings to fall back on. Graham Seaver, Jackson, MS.
A: Interesting question, but I think as long as you are talking about the difference between a guy like A.I. and Pippen and not the difference between a guy like A.I. and Steve Kerr–I’m going to go with Pippen. Even if you are a competitive person, it’s probably hard to picture how competitive professional athletes are. And, the way championships are revered, the way they’re used by athletes to rib each other even–you’d have to think that not winning one would leave a hole in your career. Especially if you are a superstar, that has to be pretty painful. You will always have your individual achievements, but not the ring, and you also miss out on that bond of being part of a championship team forever. Basketball seems to lend itself to this question better than other sports, because one player can sway a team so greatly. So you’ve got Pippen, James Worthy, Kevin McHale, guys like that sitting in contrast to Barkley, A.I., John Stockton, etc. I guess you could make the case for hockey, as well. And, I think it’s illustrated best in Mark Messier winning that Cup in New York. He forever breaks his bond with Gretzky there in a way by doing it without him. Meanwhile, Grant Fuhr, Kurri, those guys are still tied in with Wayne-O’s dynasty.
Q: If there was a non-alcoholic version of your favorite beer, it tastes identical, do you think you’d drink it? Carson O’Doul, Ambler, PA.
A: I think I would. I’ve officially become one of those people who like the taste of beer. I mentioned last week that I got my Celebration Ale, but I still have a few regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ales in the fridge as well. As much as I like the Celebration, I’m going with the Pale Ale overall. That’d be my choice in this scenario. Man, it’s good. And, I very rarely drink it with any intention of getting buzzed. I fear the hangover now. It’s a nightmare. I’ll do anything I can to avoid being hungover, and it takes less and less these days to do the damage. I think if you could drink a couple real beers to start, get just that tiniest of buzzes, and then switch to non-alcoholic–that’s a GAME CHANGER for me. And, it’s a bit surprising to hear myself say that, because I remember choking down my first beers as a necessary evil if I wanted to play Beirut. You’ve come a long way, Baby! (Virginia Slim’d)