Two things have happened this weekend. First,
I Did All My Food Prep
All of that food prep I spelled out in the last blog entry? I fucking did it all. And I did most of it tonight. Only thing that sucked today was that I didn't make it to the gym. Let's hear it for Vitamin B-12, the MS wonder drug! This wasn't as much work as the old Talal would have done, that's true. But, get this--I don't give a fuck because it's beginning to approach respectability!
Neil Parekh Has Taken Up the Quest for My Baseball Soul
Get this, all ye non-pedagogical baseball fans who care nothing for my sporting soul. My friend Neil is actually taking up the challenge of trying to convert me into a baseball fan. At stake is my long-standing pledge to swear undying loyalty to the team of the friend who achieves this feat. So while Michelle and Gretchen will be pleased, the rest of you are screwed, 'cause Neil Parekh is a fan of the Evil Empire of the sporting world--the New York Yankees.
Last night, Neil went over lesson one. "Repeat after me: The Yankees are not evil."
"What do you mean, the Yankees are not evil?" I ask. "They can buy whatever the hell they want, right? If I'm to sell my soul here, damn it, they'd better dominate!"
Neil spewed a list of impressive names that included Derek Jeter (see, I've learned one name already and I allegedly think this sport is boring--maybe Neil's magic is working) and said, "These guys are the core of our team! All of them came up through the farm system!"
I leaned in closer to him and said, "Yeah, sure, they farmed the core of the team, but the Yankees can buy whoever they want, right? Biggest market in baseball, right?"
"Well, yeah, it's true. But there are limits to that. We haven't taken the pennant since 2001..." This was a moment of troubled reflection, but Neil quickly switched to a different, more urgent line of thought and said, "But, Talal, you've got to drop this evil empire crap. This would be like if I went to you and said, 'I want to become an ardent student of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. I hear the Arabs are a bunch of terrorists.' It would never work."
"Ah," I said. "But if you said to me, 'I wish to become an ardent student of the Arab-Israeli Conflict--teach me and I will become an Arab,' nothing you could say could bother me, for I know your soul will be mine. Powerful Jedi am I."
By the way, my pledge is no cheap offer either. I'm not that low-caliber kinda geek, here. If Neil can teach me to yearn for pitchers and catchers reporting to camp every spring, I have sworn to him that I will go with him in full Yankees-fan gear to Fenway Park itself. Pam, Neil's wife and my dear friend and stalwart colleague at school, is already worried about hate crimes if she gets a job in Boston. Of course, I wouldn't mind working in Boston either. That's the scary thing about this pledge. Imagine if I lived in Boston. It would be like doing field research in Tel Aviv... Oh, wait. I'm doing that, aren't I? What was that thing they were saying about "Never saying never?"
This brings back memories. My first live Wings game was at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. I went with Aram Mohamed (who was the reason I became a Wingnut) and Brian McGrath. There were these pseudo-hockey fans behind us trying to act like they were all tough. This is DC. This is the wrong city and sport combination to have tough fans of any sort. Aram leans over to Brian and me and says, "If these guys want to make trouble later, are you guys behind me?"
"Sure," I say. "But you do realize that the guys behind you will be Brian and me, right?" Boston ain't DC. This time I have to be prepared. If Neil succeeds, I'm going to have to take a martial arts course.
And of course, the worst thing will be that Kirk's wife, Keriann, might not let him play with me anymore. You should have seen the look on her face when I gave Kirk a Red Wings jersey. Like I'd let him become a Bruins fan and doom him to a lifetime of disappointment.