Jeff Pearlman

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What 100 looks like

The above photograph features Norma Shapiro, my wife’s grandmother.

She’s 100.

Yes, one hundred.

Really, Norma Shapiro is 100.

You wouldn’t know it. Not by looking at her, certainly not by watching her. Norma drives everywhere. She works out with a trainer several times per week. She’s a voracious reader with an active social life (She did a Quaz back in 2015 that was very well received).

Two days ago, we were in Florida to attend her 100th birthday bash, and it was a four-hour ode to the power of moving forward. Of not stopping. Of refusing to pity oneself. Of drive and determination and a zest for life. Or, put differently: On a night when one of us was 100 and the other was 47, the centenarian was out on the dance floor. The guy half her age sat and ate cookies.

Norma has not had it easy. Lost a son. Lost a husband. The vast majority of her friends have passed. But … I dunno. She keeps making new friends. Keeps finding new adventures. In February she’ll be flying from Florida to California for my son’s Bar Mitzvah—because that’s what Norma does. It’s that simple.

I actually had a chance to chat with Norma’s trainer. I asked him to explain the phenomenon that is my kids’ great grandmother. He didn’t pause.

“Look,” he said, “it’s pretty simple. It’s 33 percent lifestyle. It’s 33 percent genetics. And it’s 33 percent luck.”

Makes sense to me.

They persisted …

They knew Donald Trump was a former Democrat who had praised Hillary Clinton and even donated money to her.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump called for the death of five black teenagers who were proven innocent of a crime they didn’t commit.

And they persisted.

They knew, when he was trying to acquire an NFL team, Trump (owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals) met secretly with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, and made promises of throwing his own league under the bus.

And they persisted.

They knew the man who routinely bashes #FakeNews hung fake Time magazine covers in his golf clubhouses.

And they persisted.

They knew the man who routinely bashes #FakeNews created a pretend publicist—John Barron—who was actually Trump disguising his voice over the phone.

And they persisted.

They knew, when Donald Trump was caught on tape boasting of grabbing women by the pussies, he wasn’t merely engaging in clubhouse banter.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son via his third wife.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump had five phony deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump cheated on his taxes for years.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump said Ted Cruz’s father had been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he was lying about one of their peers.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump called John McCain—a 4 1/2-year Vietnam POW—”not a hero,” he was spitting in their faces.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump said he had the biggest inaugural crowd, and that a Boy Scout leader had called the White House to praise a recent jamboree speech, he was lying.

And they persisted.

They knew—at the same time Donald Trump was leading a nationwide crackdown of undocumented immigrants—he was employing scores of undocumented immigrants at his clubs throughout America.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump ridiculed a Gold Star family he was wrong.

They knew when Donald Trump stood before troops and told them he was responsible for a (nonexistent) 10-percent pay raise, he was lying.

They knew when Donald Trump said the Russians had nothing to do with election interference, he was full of shit.

They persisted.


Truly, I don’t know. Honor matters. Integrity matters. Maybe not now, at this precise moment. But when it comes to our nation, our future, virtuous behaviors seize the day.


The one thing I sorta kinda like about Donald Trump

I think Donald Trump is a conman, a crook, a thug, a liar, a cheater. I think he lied about helping with the Ground Zero recovery. I think he lied under oath during the USFL trial. I think he called for the Central Park Five to be put to death, even after they were innocent. I think he spent 4 1/2 years insisting Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim. I think he fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son (the one he pretends doesn’t exist), then paid said porn star off with hush money.

Truly, he’s awful.

That said, Donald Trump has done one thing that I like, and I hope continues once he’s in prison gone from office.

He has walked through nonsense.

Now, this is a hard-to-explain concept, because so much of what he does is nonsense. But what I mean is, well, he just crashes through stuff in a way that screams, “Yeah, I don’t give a shit.” Example: What if Barack Obama has crashed through the Reverend Wright bullshit? What if Michael Dukakis had crashed through the Willie Horton bullshit? What if John Kerry had crashed through the Swift Boat bullshit? Hell, what if John Edwards had crashed through the kid-out-of-wedlock bullshit? What if all of them had just said, “Yup, you’ve got me. But here’s what I’ll do for you …”

What if they’d simply refused to absorb the information. Pretended as f it didn’t exist. “Yeah, I’m Gary Hart. And you’re damn right I had sex with Donna Rice. She was hot. So?” and “Yeah, I’m Geraldine Ferraro. And you’re damn right my husband was corrupt. He’s not me. So?” and “Yeah, I’m George H.W. Bush. I know I promised no new taxes. But fuck it, I was wrong. So?”

I dunno.

I sorta dig it.

The bloody fetus poster

This morning I dropped my 16-year-old daughter off at high school. While rolling down the street toward the final destination, we passed the above man, holding the above sign.

I wasn’t furious, so much as I was annoyed. My daughter said, “Are you gonna say something?”

“Yes,” I said. “I will.”

So I rolled down the window and said, “Just not the right place, man. Not the right place.”

I immediately regretted my choice of words.

What I should have said—what I wish I’d said—was, “Hey, buddy. Can I ask you a question? How many kids have you adopted? I’m just wondering, because I assume—as a pro-life guy who stands in front of my kid’s school holding a bloody fetus poster—you’re adopting a whole slew of children who were born. Right, buddy?”


“So … buddy. Those kids. How many? And since you’re standing here—bloody fetus sign in hand—show me photos of your kids. I’m sure you’ve got ’em. iPhone technology and all. Lemme see the photo you took of your adopted son, who was born to the 12-year-old girl who was raped by her cousin. Because, I mean, you insisted she deliver the baby; that God wanted it that way. So show me, buddy. Show me.”


“How about the baby who was born without working lungs. You said it’d be a sin to abort, because all humans are perfect in God’s eyes. So lemme see. Show me the photos, Daddy. I’m sure you’re doing as God and Jesus demand, and are taking in the poor, the needy, the downtrodden.”


“Right, buddy? Right?”


“Oh, wait. You’re just some dick with a sign.”


Had a needle inserted into a vein this morning.

Blood was extracted.

I love it.

Weird, right? As a kid needles absolutely terrified me. I think some of this had to do with a general fear of objects cutting through my skin. But I also happened to be raised by a (otherwise wonderful) mother who didn’t much care for needles. So I felt her fear, fed off it, developed my own.

Now, all has changed.

I love needles into my arm because it combines 1,000 different emotions. The terror flashbacks of youth. The curiosity of whether it will hurt. The rush of doing something generally unusual. The period of waiting … waiting … waiting as the blood leaves my veins. I even dig the aftermath, when a wad of gauze is taped to my epidermis.

Hard to explain.

But true.

Scot Brower says the joke is on me

The above photograph is of Scot Brower, Honolulu-based attorney at law.

Earlier today, in response to Anthony Scaramucci Tweeting out the long-ago John Bassett letter to a young, USFL-destroying Donald Trump, Brower wrote this …

And, in one sense, Scot Brower, attorney at law, is right. The joke is on Pearlman and Scaramucci. A lifelong conman neither of us can stomach is the 45th president of the United States. He holds the grandest position in the land, and—to the delight of men like Scot Brower, attorney at law—he is absolutely owning the libs. Fucking owning us. Trump brings true misery to my life. His presence exasperates me. His speech patterns infuriate me. I loathe him as I loathe foot mold.

And yet …

Scot Brower lives in Hawaii, a place being impacted by climate change like no other spot in America. The research is clear on this, but if you need some refreshers check out this, and this, and this, and this, and this. Or just Google “climate change” and Hawaii. It’s horrifying. Personally, I loooooooove everything about Hawaii. So to see what’s happening—and what’s going to happen—brings me no joy.

Scot, however, doesn’t seem to mind. Or doesn’t believe the science. Or something. Because while, yes, Trump owns the libs, he also has done everything within his power to make certain the impact of warming planet is as pronounced and devastating as possible. Pick a protection (any protection) and he’s wiped it off the map. Pick a scientific consensus (any scientific consensus) and he’s ignored it. The EPA—founded by Richard Nixon—is now staffed by former oil and coal execs. In case you’re hoping the devastation can be avoided, well, it can’t. We’re screwed. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Anthony Scaramucci. Jeff Pearlman. Scot Brower, attorney at law. All of us.

But, again, that probably doesn’t matter to men like Scot Brower, attorney at law. I mean, he voted for a man who lied about helping with the recovery at Ground Zero, then lied about sending men to help at Ground Zero, then lied about donating $10,000 to the 9.11 Fund. He voted for a man who created a fake “university” to bilk people of their money. He lied under oath during the USFL trial. He mocked a Gold Star Family, a 4 1/2-year Vietnam POW. He received five phony war deferments, discriminated against African-Americans in his Queens housing developments, fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son.

So, when Hawaii is beneath water and Donald Trump is serving his fifth term in office, I’m sure Scot Brower, attorney at law, will be smiling.

The joke is on me.

Sometimes one needs a book

So, as I noted in my last post, I’m a very lucky person. Great family, great career, great geographical location. Just a legitimately fortunate man who has done little to garner such richness.

This is not lost on me, and never has been. I’m also aware that m-a-n-y people are struggling. Are eating shit. Have rough stretches, awful runs, damning spans. It’s hard, and it’s particularly hard come the holiday season, when we’re “supposed” to be happy; when everyone is smiling and singing and eating and …

It blows.

Here’s what I wanna do: If you know someone going through a rough stretch, who might get a life out of randomly receiving a signed copy of one of my books, hit me up at Please tell me a little about the situation, and give me the info.

A book will (unless I somehow fuck up) be sent.


I have no business being this fortunate

It’s 9:45, Thanksgiving morning. As I write this a Paul Simon song plays over a Sonos speaker. I am sipping from a large mug containing a mixture of coffee and hot chocolate. My daughter—16 and healthy and wonderful—just woke up. Downstairs my son, his best friend and my nephew are engaged in a video game battle. My wife is preparing turkey with her sister.

I live in Southern California.

I write books for a living.

I have no college loans.

My dog is adorable.

My parents are fantastic.

It is truly unfair.

Thanksgiving, to me, is a strange holiday. I love it. Genuinely. But I always feel a bit funny giving thanks for all I have, when as I do so millions of Americans are living in poverty, are sick, are homeless, are mentally ill. So many people are in pain—lasting, lingering, insufferable pain—and it seems sort … I dunno, something — to be thankful for what I have.

Here’s the truth: I’m no more worthy than anyone else. My mom and dad raised me in a safe environment. I never had to wonder whether a meal would be served. My college education was paid for. I was given a used car to reach my teenage jobs. Yes, I work hard. But so does the guy at the supermarket making minimum wage. So does the firefighter forced to work the Thanksgiving shift. So did the homeless guy who lost his job due to corporate cutbacks.

I am so fortunate.

So many are not.

Well, fuck

The day had to come. I knew it had to come. I hated that it had to come, but I knew it had to come.

Well, it’s here.

I bought reading glasses.

Yes, they’re blue. And a bit girly. I paid $17 for them at Walgreens here in New York City, and while I look the fool, I’m able to see again while typing. And that’s a plus.

But it’s also a sign. I’m old. The laser surgery of a decade ago has died. I squint to see. My eyes feel crusty. It sucks, sucks, sucks—and the next thing that comes is surely a sore back, followed by bruised feet, followed by increased hair loss, followed by … I dunno. Death?

So here I sit, $17 glasses affixed to head, aware that the grim reaper sits over my shoulder.


I can see him.