Proust has Lysergic in his Spine
Yesterday the eminent professionals of FD-dom, DLIC & BR Esq., offered insight into their ephemeral sojourn into the divine lair of the saints. The tale was filled with whimsical humor, tense moments of consternation, and a scholarly analysis of “swag” in the post-“Kingdom Come” milieu. Prior to this wonderful read, I had full intentions on writing a piece exalting the honorable and virtuous nature of Salim Stoudamire. Don’t worry gentle readers, that tome in my “Good for Nothing College Guards I Will Rep to the Death” series will come when I deem you MFers worthy. For reference, peep the 1st installment of the series.
Yesterday’s starshower inspired me to revel in memories of my scant few brushes with the immortals. Since childhood, I’ve held myself to a strict code of “no dick-eating”. In the flesh, I’d be more inclined to spit on the stars that illuminate and bring hope to my marish days, than to hold them on high. Well, spitting is probably an overstatement, but I definitely am predisposed to give famous people plenty space and as little attention as necessary. In my mind, they have no right to feel special simply because they’re renowned for some specialty. Famous people are shitbirds just like everybody else are shitbirds, no more, no less.
This dictum of star-fucking restraint held true except for one unit of men, err, TITANS that slung victory over their shoulders and bore it valiantly to the altar of my downtrodden city. They were brash yet disciplined, firm yet fluid. They were champions, yes, but more importantly they were men of character. They were the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers and they gave basketball meaning for a young Rocco. Dick-eating was more than acceptable when it came to this crew, it was mandatory. While there are many influences in my life that have impacted me deeply and for which I have held affection, there is no entity or creation that provides a better fast-glance understanding of me than that team. I’m a black, 80’s baby, from Philly. That’s me and that’s them (Bobby Jones, Mark Iavaroni, & Mark McNamara will have to forgive being cast with the coloreds in this case).
While I lionized “Fo’,Fo’,Fo’” Malone, Dr. J, and “Boston Strangler” Toney, Mo Cheeks was my man. Like so many little black boys growing up sans a steady paternal presence, I wanted Mo to be my dad. He always seemed competent, self-contained, and most importantly he just seemed decent. He evidenced that perception of decency for the world to see a few years ago with his assist to Natalie Gilbert.
Mo could do no wrong, in my opinion, for the majority of my adolescence. Then I met him.
As chronicled here before, I was a bit of a sneaker head in my teen years, so the obvious choice for work at the time was sneaker and sporting good stores. I shuffled around 3 or 4 stores in 4 years making shit money but loving every minute of it.
I knew the products pretty well so I had quite a bit of repeat business from all corners athletics: high school ballers, cheerleaders, marathon runners, even Professional ECW wrestlers.
[As an aside, those ECW guys were great people. They were like dinner theater actors. They made next to nothing but worked their asses off for the love. They had no insurance but were doing the biggest wrestling stunts around. Back then fans would bring props, like old Nintendos, down to the abandoned bingo house known as "ECW Arena" and threw them into the ring and the wrestlers would incorporate them into the routine. Amazing stuff!]
Now back to the issue, one day in ’96, I guess, while explaining performance and wear differences associated with Nike Air cushioning and the Asics Gel system (I know heady stuff), I glanced over to the corner of the store in which I was working and saw a slickly dressed, 6’ man perusing the footwear wall. Mo was an assistant for the Sixers at the time so I immediately knew it was him. I wanted so desperately to walk over and talk to him. But I couldn’t walk because my nuts were in my sternum and my rectum had prolapsed. I completely ignored the customer I had been speaking to and simply stared at
I don’t remember specifically what shoe it was. I think the trauma of the event has caused me to block it out, but I do remember that the shoe retailed for $47.99.
At that moment I came to a startling conclusion. My dad is a cheap asshole. When I write that he's a cheap asshole, what I mean precisely is that he's cheap person and also happens to be an asshole.
Hey Mo! You could have at least looked me in the eye, ya prick.