“Every group has someone that they make fun of…like us with Elaine.” --G. Costanza
I returned late last night from 48 hours of in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, where more than one-seventh of our time there elapsed with nine of us hunkered down in a Hyatt Place conference room selecting our fantasy baseball squads. Another seventh took place at various Cactus League spring training games, but we'll get to that later.
This is a story about a man, a great man. Everyone's got that friend who is nothing but kind and good-natured, always there in a pinch, yet somehow they're the butt of just about every joke and every sentence in a large group setting. Whether they bring it upon themselves through certain personality quirks is an issue up for debate, but regardless of the reasons, it can get pretty nasty. And our buddy Mitchell VergerDartz III has been that friend for a long, long time.
Compulsive by any definition, Verger’s bald-faced lies are legendary. But his truths are even more shocking, possibly because it’s those admitted truths about which he should
be lying. The latest story to emerge this weekend is nothing short of Mastercardian pricelessness.
About six months ago, Verger takes a girl out for an evening of enchantment and potential frenching, and they both have a good time from what we’re led to believe. A few nights later he fills himself with some sauce and feels the urge to drunk-dial this new interest, only his lustful urge manifests itself in the form of an unsober text message. With technology on his side, Verger types out his communiqué of flowery hope to the girl he shared a mere one night of bliss and hits the send button, fully unwilling to convince himself if its silliness.
The message in question? “I believe in us.”
Yeah, I know: That is just so wrong on many, many levels. If Doc Brown’s nuclear-powered DeLorean time machine actually existed today, the date I’d most like to flash back and visit is the night this poor lass received that text in question, just so I could see the look on her face when she flipped open the cellular telephone to find that gem. I believe in us? Dear Lord. I mean, just imagine the shudder of horror and intense spine shiver she experienced after reading that.
He never did hear back from her, and to add insult to injury, naturally one of his best friends this weekend regaled us all with the story he's been sitting on for half a year just so he could break it out as an introduction to unveiling his fantasy baseball team: I Believe In Us.
To put some background and color on this, let me jump back more than five years. We were exactly a month removed from 9/11, Derek Jeter was a night away from the famous 2001 ALDS Jeremy Giambi flip play and American Gladiators host Mike Adamle would soon be rumbling down Sheridan Road as Grand Marshall of the Homecoming parade. It was our first year removed from academic life, and this was our first official reunion following the hugs and hand pounds of early summer’s graduation.
As our large crew lined the side of the parade route, Chipotle Bob turned to a group of local high school girls and asked, "You wanna see this kid do the Running Man?" Verger's head sank in his hands -- a patented Verger move that's called Sigh Hands, later re-named Seymour Hands -- as the girls lit up, yelling all kinds of affirmatives and starting to chant "Go, go, go, go!"
So in the middle of a major street with a crowd of high-school girls and collegiate alumni cheering him on, Verger performed a version of the Running Man that'll haunt my dreams forever. And every time we've re-united in the times since that night in October 2001, we've done our best to get him to do it in public. This weekend, we succeeded. It wasn't really public, but at least it was outdoors.
Check it out, ladies. His resume says he's "Internet literate," and I'm damn proud to call him a dear friend:
I can't stress enough how awesome this man is and how lucky am I to have him as a friend, but shit, that's just about the fruitiest Running Man in the history of Running Mans. It's basically a Roger Rabbit combined with a Running Man, combined with a ton of estrogen.
I feel bad for even writing that sentence, but it's probably the most accurate description of anything I've ever put together. I love the kid and there's nobody who makes me laugh on the phone as much as him, but this post had to be written for many reasons.
On a related note, my partner Chuck B and I selected a great team, with our first five picks in a 10-team league being Johan Santana (#3), Lance Berkman (#18), Derek Lee (#23), Carlos Zambrano (#38) and Roy Oswalt (#43). That's about as good as you're gonna do...Slack Link of the Day
: Discovery debuted a show called Planet Earth
last night, airing three incredible episodes of what could possibly be the greatest reality show in the history of television. HD was made for nature shows, especially a show of this caliber. There will be a new episode every week for the next eight, I believe, and if you've got HD (or even if you don't I guess), make sure to TiVo this badboy. Unreal.Slack Video of the Day
: If you missed the highlights of Barton versus Winona Division II college hoops final this weekend, you missed out on one of the sickest endings I've ever seen to a basketball game. Winona State is up by six or so with 45 seconds left, and they're about to win their second straight title and 57th
straight game. Until that doesn't happen at all
...Slack Song of the Day
: In honor of our love-finding friend, I'm gonna let Blessid Union of Souls take this one away: I Believe.