Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Thursday, October 10, 2002
Updated: May 31, 2:15 PM ET
Mailbag: My big, fat nightmare

By Bill Simmons
Page 2 columnist

With my "Saved Mailbag Questions" file overflowing like a port-o-john at a Holy Cross tailgate, it was time to trot out another mailbag before somebody got hurt.

Quick follow-up to our last mailbag (Sept. 26): No less than 300 readers e-mailed me about the diner scene with De Niro and Pacino in "Heat," repeating a Hollywood rumor that the legendary actors weren't actually on the set together during the filming of that scene (because of scheduling conflicts). If you watch the scene, they never show both guys in the same shot (either they use close-ups, or they use a camera angle coming from over someone's shoulder). Others claim that it's a Hollywood urban legend, which certainly seems possible.

Anyway, if anyone knows the definitive answer -- and I mean, with hard-core evidence -- let me know. This would be like finding out that James Caan wasn't Italian, only 20 times worse.

Larry Johnson cartoon
The Sports Guy fears that Roger Clemens might really let himself go if he comes back to Boston.
On to this week's mailbag ...

Q: Did you see Clemens might come back to the Red Sox? Nooooooooooo! Noooooooooooooo! Noooooooooo!!!!!! -- Jake P, Arlington, Mass.

Sports Guy: If this happens, I'm not even bothering with the lighter fluid and the matches ... I'm moving to the West Coast. That's it. You think I'm kidding.

Here's the only way I could possibly describe my feelings about a Clemens return:

Imagine you're a typical guy in your late-20s. You've been dating the same girl since college, but recently she gained an extra 20 pounds, refuses to exercise and spends her nights sitting on the sofa in jogging pants, eating Cheetos and forcing you to watch "Friends" re-runs. Also, she cheats on you every so often, because she "can't control herself when she's out with her friends." And she rarely shows you any affection. But you stick with her, because there's some history there, because you love her, because you keep hoping she'll turn things around to her old Cy Young form.

Finally, you've had enough. You break up with her. She doesn't show an ounce of emotion, immediately moves on to someone else, then spends the next few months telling your friends how great the new guy is (never mentioning you at all). Now she's motivated. She hires a personal trainer, gets breast implants, bleaches her hair blonde and joins the cast of "Baywatch," looking absolutely fantastic, telling everyone who will listen, "This only happened because my boyfriend broke up with me, and I found true love."

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, she dumps that boyfriend and starts dating your absolute worst enemy, the guy you hated ever since high school who's now a multi-billionaire. To make matters worse, she starts calling your friends and urging them to hang out with her and the billionaire instead of you. Now you have to hear through the grapevine how happy she is, how her sex life has never been better, how she enjoys sticking it to you every chance she gets. You can't get away from her. She even gets her own talk show and conquers her fear of performing live, becoming a Kelly Ripa-like success, learning how to come through in the clutch. She is everything you ever wanted her to be.

After a few years, she hits her late-30s ... and she starts letting herself go again. Her talk show gets cancelled. She starts to put the pounds back on. She makes some bad investments and sqaunders all her "Baywatch" earnings. The billionaire dumps her. And now she wants to get back together with you and pretend that all is forgiven.

Would you take her back? I sure wouldn't.

(Maybe I'm overreacting. I think the Red Sox are driving me insane. I'm not kidding. Let's just move on.)

Q: I'm a fan of your column, but I can't help but feel that something has been missing lately. Not sure what it is ... wait a sec, I know: NOT ENOUGH COWBELL!!! -- Mike B., New York

SG: Sounds like you just came down with a fever ... and the only prescription is more cowbell!!! I'm going to explore the studio space with the rest of this column.

(Only like 10 people understood that last exchange ... just pretend it never happened.)

Q: How can you POSSIBLY nominate Springsteen for the Doug Christie jersey? Are you high or something? Anyone who knows anything realizes Patti Scialfa was a member of the E Street before getting together with Bruce. She has legitimate musical skill. This isn't Linda McCartney warbling on crappy keyboards. Bruce has made the entire E Street Band a family situation, not just Patti. Please, take back that silly comment. -- Joe Slepski, Chicago

Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Steve Van Zandt
Patti Scialfa, center, has become the real Boss.
SG: No. I'm not taking it back. If I wanted to see somebody sing with their wife, I'd go down to the Dresden in L.A. to see Marty and Elayne. First of all, Bruce's wife was a backup singer before they got married ... now she has evolved into a prominent part of his shows, given equal stature with Little Stevie, Max and the Big Man, and only because she's Mrs. Boss. It's an absolute outrage. Believe me, nobody loves Bruce more than me -- I think he's the musical version of the Basketball Jesus, even if I wish he'd retired while he was still throwing in the high-90s -- but somebody had to bring this up. Hopefully, the Boss won't start hand-signalling to his wife 150 times per show and refusing to speak with other women.

I'll let reader Aaron McCabe take it from here: "I've been meaning to e-mail you about this for a couple weeks now, but quite frankly, I was scared to even approach the subject. I was at Springsteen's show in Milwaukee and left stunned and depressed. His wife took over the show. She shared the vocals on at least half the songs; they showed her in the split screen with Bruce through 70 percent of the show; when Bruce introduced the band, she was introduced second to last (ahead of only Clarence Clemons); and she even had her own little solo! I could literally feel the tension between her and the E-Street Band.

"Remember in 'Spinal Tap,' when David St. Hubbins' girlfriend Jeanine joined them on tour? I was eagerly anticipating the moment when Little Stevie would storm off the stage and the band would be forced to brake into 'Jazz Oddysey.' Never happened, but it would not have shocked me if it did. I think someone needs to introduce a 'Whipped Care Package.' It could include a Doug Christie jersey; Bruce Springsteen's 'The Rising'; and a map of Hoover Dam for their next trip to Vegas. Who wouldn't buy this for a buddy's bachelor party?"

(Hey, I didn't say it ...)

Kelly Kapowski
Kelly Kapowski was definitely not part of the "Go Team."
Q: My friends and I have been debating over this one for years. How far did Zack Morris get with Kelly Kapowski (on "Saved by the Bell")? I think he made it all the way, despite the fact that if he ever even kissed her at school, he just about went into shock. Settle this one for us. -- David Clark, Santa Barbara, Calif.

SG: No way. Kelly wasn't even close to being on the Go-Team, at least not until college (she seemed like an award-winning student of the Miyagi Dojo in high school). So the answer to your question probably depends on one thing: whether you accept the fact that "Saved By the Bell: The College Years" actually existed. Personally, I like to pretend it never happened. But that's just me.

Speaking of the Go-Team, I'm turning this paragraph over to Ohio reader Ben Lewis:

"Isn't it amazing how quickly Cara from 'Real World: Chicago' has been replaced as the Easiest Girl in 'Real World' history by Trichel from 'Real World: Las Vegas'? After watching Cara's exploits last season, I thought she had set the bar too high to be passed (kind of like McGwire's 70). Then, all of a sudden, like Barry Bonds last year, Trichel is hooking up with two of her roommates (one female) in the first two episodes, plus she hooked up with one of the guys from 'Road Rules' on the annual 'Real World meets Road Rules' show. That makes three cast members in three shows! It's almost like Cara never existed at this point."

(I couldn't agree more. As my old college roommate JackO said last week, "I am simply not in touch with this generation anymore." Remember the glory days of "90210," when Valerie Malone stood out for being such a conniving slut? She would practically be a prude nowadays; if that show came around now, we would have plots like "Valerie regrets agreeing to an orgy with Brandon's intramural football team." And how could they pull off Donna Martin being a virgin? Nobody would even believe it -- it would be the most improbable TV plot of all time, even more improbable than David Silver cracking the Top 10 with "Keep it Together." All right, I'm babbling.)

Q: Is it appropriate to list "General Manager/Owner, Fantasy Football" on a résumé under "work experience?" --Keith Robel, Sheboygan, Wis.

SG: Why not? How do you think Scott Layden got hired by the Knicks?

Q: What is the most uncomfortable scene in movie history? My top three: 1.) Any male rape scene ever recorded; 2.) The scene in "American History X" when Ed Norton curbs the guy who tries to steal his car; 3.) Every scene from "Tango and Cash" (save for Teri Hatcher, that whole movie was awkward). Any thoughts? --Matthew Guiney, New York

SG: Very good list. I always thought the most uncomfortable scene in movie history was the sex scene in "Monster's Ball," not just because it was so graphic, but because of Halle Berry drunkenly shrieking "Make me feel good ... I want you to make me feel good!" when she was seducing Billy Bob. Absolutely horrifying. I don't think I've ever felt more uncomfortable in a room of people in my entire life. How did Halle Berry win the Oscar, anyway? Has anyone ever figured that out?

You also left out any scene where two relatively unattractive characters are having a love scene -- like Billy Crystal and his wife in "City Slickers 2," Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in "As Good as It Gets," Tony and Carmela Soprano (not a movie, but still ... there's nothing worse), and Dudley Moore and anybody. Those always give me the heebie jeebies. I always thought they should create a rating for those. You know how HBO starts a movie and the graphic comes up with "SSC" (strong sexual content) and "N" (nudity) and all that other stuff that makes you say, "Hey, I think I'll watch a little of this one!" Well, they should come up with graphics like "USS" (uncomfortable sex scene) and "RSMM" (random shot of a male member). Just to give us a heads up.

One thing's for sure ... at least we know the most uncomfortable scene in TV history: Tony's sister and Ralphie from last week's Sopranos. That will never be topped. It only took the phrase "The Ralphie Treatment" four days to enter my permanent vocabulary, after I told one of my buddies about a 10-player fantasy football blockbuster deal I made last week -- I rattled off the names of the players I traded, listed the guys I acquired, and my buddy simply said, "Sounds like you gave him the Ralphie Treatment." Perfect. The Ralphie Treatment. Join me as we beat that joke into the ground over the next few months.

Q: I read in the Indianapolis Star this morning that Ron Artest's girlfriend (and mother of a couple of his children) was arrested and charged with hitting him in the back of the head. Can you please explain how one of the league's best defensive players cannot defend himself against his girlfriend? -- Ryan Sharpe, Indianapolis

SG: (Giggling ...)

Q: Going on your "Levels of losing" column, where would you rate an ex-girlfriend turning into a lesbian? -- Tim F, Ohio

Gamboa attack
It's not a good sign when these guys can get good seats at your ballpark.
SG: (Wincing ...)

Q: Has your baseball team officially had a bad year when guys like William Ligue Jr. and his kid can get their hands on front-row box seats in September? --Russ Todia, Boston

SG: (Thinking about taking the rest of the column off ... )

Q: I just read an article stating that Patrick Ewing is retiring (what a shocker!), and is joining the Wizards as an assistant coach. What is the outcome of this action, according to the Ewing Theory? -- Adam Kloppe, New Haven, Mo.

SG: Here's the thing ... as I described in the original Ewing Theory column, Ewing was only the catalyst for the theory. According to creator Dave Cirilli, the Ewing Theory describes the phenomenon which occurs when a team inexplicably plays better after their media-anointed superstar is either injured or traded, even though everyone expects them to struggle. Ewing hasn't been a superstar for years.

Here are some Ewing Theory candidates for the near-future: Randy Moss (a mortal lock) ... Peyton Manning (the Drew Bledsoe of the next generation) ... Nomar Garciaparra (as much as I hate to admit it) ... Barry Bonds (if he were injured in the NLCS this week?) ... the 2003 Pistons (without Jerry Stackhouse) ... the 2004 USA Ryder Cup team (if Tiger Woods was injured and missed it) ... Iraq (without Saddam Hussein) ... NBC's Thursday night lineup without "ER" and "Friends" (just throwing it out there) ... and Page 2 (when I quit this column to take over ESPN6).

Q: Why isn't there a video game version of "The Warriors." Think about what an injustice this is. You could pick your gang, and have to either stop The Warriors from reaching Coney Island or be The Warriors and try to make it to Coney Island. There are so many ways to go with this. -- Mike Marini, Boston

SG: Agreed. I have three additional suggestions:

1. You know the pseudo-hooker from Brooklyn, the one who almost gets the Warriors in trouble with the Orphans, then inexplicably heads back to Coney Island with them? She doesn't get to be in the game. Leave her out. She was like a dirtier, sluttier, more annoying version of Adrian Balboa -- a classic case of a female character thrown into a Guy's Movie for no apparent reason (that's one of the reasons why I liked "Knockaround Guys" so much, because the writers learned their lesson from Gretchen Mol and "Rounders" -- they wrote that one, too -- and didn't throw in the obligatory wet-blanket female character, just for the sake of having a woman in the movie).

2. I think there should be a function where you get to bring back the Warriors original warlord -- the guy who gets stomped to death by the Gramercy Riffs right after Cyrus gets shot. I loved that guy. And yes, the fact that the Warriors survived without him probably qualifies for the Ewing Theory, but don't let that make you think any less of him.

3. The chance to become the Baseball Furies and try to stop the Warriors in Central Park ... I mean, could you put a price on that kind of fun? Of course not.

(And yes, I know that Hollywood is remaking "The Warriors" with the guy who directed "Top Gun." I can't even talk about it. Does it get any worse than aging just enough to the point that Hollywood starts remaking your favorite movies? Let's just move on ...)

Mike Cameron
The Sports Guy's dismal fantasy season can't be blamed on his failure to draft "sleeper" Mike Cameron.
Q: So how did you and your Dad do in the fantasy baseball league? -- Shane Smeby, Eagan, Minn.

SG: Seventh place, only because Juan Uribe, Tony Clark, Richard Hidalgo and midseason pickups Steve Cox and Javy Lopez gave us the collective Ralphie Treatment. Then again, we were the same guys who were devastated when we didn't have enough money left for Mike Cameron -- you might remember my running diary from the draft -- and he ended up hitting .220. Just wasn't our year. My aforementioned buddy JackO ended up winning the league during a dramatic closing weekend, propelled by Jeter, Soriano and Garret Anderson (this year's winner of the Brady Anderson Trophy for "Guy Everyone Had At Least Once Who Inexplicably Decided To Have a Career Year").

Q: Maybe it's just me, but don't you think that any movie could be made better by adding Arnold Schwarzenegger to the cast? Couldn't you just see Arnold in "The Blair Witch Project," spouting out lines like "It's not a Blair Witch!!" and then snapping the guy's neck after he tosses the map into the river? -- Rich from Annapolis

SG: I totally agree. There's comedy, there's high comedy, there's transcendent comedy ... and then there's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Back in my restaurant days, my friend Mark Fanning (a waiter) and me (bartender) used to play "The Arnold Game" when we were working together -- we would only communicate to one another using generic Schwarzenegger lines. Fanning would bring a drink slip to the bar and simply say, "I'll be back." Or I would tell him that a customer was behind him by saying, "Behind you!" or "Look out!" I'm telling you, it never, ever, EVER got old.

Move! ... Hurry! ... There's no time! ... Look out! ... Follow me! ... Over there! ... Quiet!

(By the way, everyone should work in a restaurant for at least six months. Aspiring writers always e-mail me for advice, and I never know what to tell them. Well, I'm telling you this: Work in a bar or a restaurant. Learn about people, get up at noon every day, go to bed at 4 a.m. every night, hang out with people who are just as confused and directionless as you are, drink and smoke as much as possible, throw wads of money around after shifts like you're a drug dealer, date somebody with no long-term potential, and live like that for six months. It will be the best thing you ever did.)

Q: I am a senior in high school and it is about time to write our senior quotes. I really want mine to be funny. Any suggestions? -- Christopher Burk, Bellport, N.Y.

SG Let's give this its own column tomorrow. To be continued ...

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine.