Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tears of a Clown

Song 23: Don’t Cry
Artist: Guns ‘N Roses

Friday Night Fun
It doesn’t happen all that often, but there are times when I make The Wife cry. Usually it’s a result of some screw up on my part that also coincides with a stressful time at work or during our weekly ‘fingernails across the chalkboard’ session aimed at desensitizing us to sounds emanating from the depths of Hell. So far, it just annoys the crap out of us and has yet to make that sound any more palatable.

But every now and again, I can make her cry and it be a good thing. On those rare occasions when things aren’t stressful at work and I find a particularly humorous thread to pull, I can bring The Wife to tears from laughter. Often, in the middle of her laughing fits, I get told “don’t put that on facebook,” which, of course, means I make it a point to threaten to do it. Ultimately, I would acquiesce to her wishes and not post it on facebook. That’s what Twitter is for.

But every now and then, I would find my wife chuckling at something that’s really not funny at all. For a while, I didn’t think much of it. We all have different senses of humor and her’s simply included a part that found unfunny things funny. But after she told me something was amusing this weekend that was not, in anyway, comical, I started thinking, “if she finds that funny, and it’s not funny in the slightest, does that mean I’m not funny either?”

I then realized the conundrum goes both ways. When I was stuck watching Dancing With The Stars one season, I made the comment that I thought one of the red-headed dancers was kind of hot. Apparently she was not, at least compared to the other dancers on the show. (Which, to be fair, is like saying a Victoria’s Secret model isn’t as hot as the others.) She’d said that she couldn’t believe I found her attractive (I used the word “hot”) because finding a professional dancer with a body (note: this section deleted due to fear that my wife might actually read this and not find the humor in it that I might have. Let’s just say it went on for a while.) really hot is just crazy, right?

Beyonce: Wife Approved
So now I make sure there’s a broad agreement among the world that a woman is, indeed, hot before saying such to The Wife. (Acceptable women so far include Beyonce and Anne Hathaway among others.) However, each time my wife chuckles at a lame pun or cracks a smile at a joke that I wouldn’t make if it were just me and my dog (who has a pretty good sense of humor, for a dog), I cry just a little inside. It makes me question my worth, not just as a comedian (note: I’m not actually a comedian), but as a person (note: not really). On the plus side, my wife finds George Clooney hot, so maybe she thinks I look like him.

Next Song: Leaving
Artist: Hootie and the Blowfish

Monday, June 27, 2011

My brush with the edge of fame

I haven’t exactly filled my Twitter followings with the likes of influential thinkers or vapid Hollywood stars who want me to know their thoughts on the nature and meaning of existence of what they had for lunch (that applies to both groups.) In fact, I would venture to say that the “famous” people I follow would not consider themselves celebrities. A more accurate description would be “sports analysts for various media outlets whose celebrity status exists entirely within the sports community.”

One of those I do follow is Jonah Keri. You might recognize that name and think to yourself, “I thought Luke just said he didn’t follow any real celebrities, why is he following the “Get Him to the Greek” guy?” And I’d say “no, not Jonah Hill, Jonah Keri” and you’d be all like “I don’t know who that is. I hope this blog gets funny soon or I’m going to watch Get Him to the Greek out of spite.” (Note: You might want to go ahead and pull it up on Netflix and save yourself some time.)

 I first became aware of Keri though his editing of the book Baseball Between The Numbers which is essentially an idiot’s guide to advanced statistical analysis. It’s one of the five books I would take with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island mostly because there’s so much in there I don’t understand. I’d eventually forgotten about Keri until he started a podcast and had as one of his first guests Rob Neyer, (another of the aforementioned sports analysts from twitter). As a Neyer fan, I figured it’d be worth the listen, which it was - so much so, in fact, that I started following Keri on twitter and reading more and more of his work.

If you don't like this book,
I'll do nothing.
It was also around this time that he was pimping his new book, The Extra 2% which tells the story of how the Tampa Bay Rays managed to go from being an historically bad team to winning the toughest division in baseball twice in a three-year span. (I got the book for Father’s Day and finished it four days later. If you’re at all interested in baseball or the business practices the Rays used to go from worst to first, I highly recommend it. It comes with my unconditional no-money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, I won’t refund your money.) Did I mention it has spent time on the New York Times best seller list?

As luck would have it, Keri is an avid Twitterer, regularly responding to his followers (including me, much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t get Twitter), engaging in various topics of conversation, offering fantasy advice (which I’ve been the beneficiary of a time or two). He doesn’t take himself seriously (always a plus), is self-deprecating and fills in admirably on ESPN’s Fantasy Focus podcasts from time to time.

All that brings us to last week. Keri sent out a tweet looking to crowdsource a few ideas about the most underrated college football stadiums and tailgating atmosphere. He’s got more than 11,000 followers, so you and I can both imagine that he got a number of suggestions, so when I suggested Georgia Southern’s Paulson Stadium as underrated for both stadium and atmosphere, I figured it’d go into the digital wastebasket of tweets Keri received. So last weekend, I’m at my in-laws and decide I should check my direct messages (they don’t show up in my regular feed, and unless you look for them, you’d never know you had them.) As it turns out, I didn’t know I had one and the one I did have was from Keri, himself, who was intrigued by Paulson Stadium and the atmosphere around football games and wanted more information than could be sent via a 140 character tweet. A best-selling author wanted me to email him. Sure, it was for God knows what and may never amount to anything, but I still think it’s kind of cool. 

The Prettiest Little Stadium
in America
So I rattled off a 500-word email doing the best I could to explain what makes Paulson Stadium and Georgia Southern tailgating a special and unique experience. I know I couldn't fully capture what it's like to spend an autumn Saturday at the "Prettiest Little Stadium in America," but hope I was able to give a reasonable representation of what it's like.

It also didn’t hurt that it almost, kind of, maybe convinced my wife that there might just be something to this whole Twitter thing.