JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Kotex

kotex ultra compact_LRG

A couple of months ago, right before New York was rewarded the 2014 Super Bowl, I received an especially nasty letter from someone who called me a “Kotex” for thinking the weather would be too cold for the big event. I don’t remember the bulk of his note, but it was nasty and vile and truly pissed me off. Generally speaking, I dig e-mails. Even if they disagree or rip, most of the time it’s fun and cool and no biggie.

This one, however, was gross and lowly.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago I met a guy in Starbucks. I was working, and he approached and said he knew who I was; that he’d read my Mets book. I was flattered. He seemed like a decent guy; there with his wife and two children. We chatted a bit, then they eventually departed.

Turns out that guy, by pure coincidence, was the person who wrote the infamous (to me) Kotex note. He was the one. I know this because, a few days ago, he sent me an e-mail, admitting such. I replied quickly, said it was no big deal, etc … etc. But then, earlier today, I started thinking about it.

To begin with, this guy had a daughter. A young daughter. As do I. The idea of referring to anyone as a “Kotex,” well, it doesn’t exist to me. Wouldn’t even cross my mind. A. Because it’s a nasty thing to say; B. Because it’s basically calling a guy a girl—ha, ha. Ho, ho. Which is, I guess, an insult. Ha, ha, ho, ho. But, uh, you have a girl. Who, I imagine, you want to grow up strong and self confident; who you want to gift a belief that she can accomplish anything.

But there’s more than that. This guy was a Giants fan. A dye-in-the-wool Giants fan. One who never misses a game. Ever. One who will certainly ignore his wife and kids on Sundays for the Big Blue. Junior has a birthday party? Not my problem. It’s a beautiful day outside? Eh … can’t do it. Eagles are in town! Wife is tired and stressed. Honey, you knew what you were getting into. In my world, there’s a word for sports-over-everything guys like this, and it is: Anuses. Seriously, it’s my least-favorite breed of men. The guys camped out in the stadium parking lot roasting dogs and getting wasted while their families remain at home, embarrassingly shrugging off the repeated slight (Wife: “Well, you know how he is.”). I dig a good game as much as the next person. But, unless I’m actually working, I refuse to miss my kids’ lives in the name of a friggin’ sporting event. E-v-e-r. If my daughter and/or son eventually want to sit down and watch, oh, Jets-Pats together, I’d be thrilled. But they show no interest, and, truthfully, I’m even more thrilled. Because while spectator sports are enjoyable, they’re not as enjoyable as actually living. Doing something. Running. Jumping. Dancing. Laughing.

And that, to me, is the irony here. I have been labeled a Kotex by an apparently half-attentive father who (as he admitted to me) refuses to miss a game. Ever, ever, ever, ever.

A word of advice, MC: One day, your kids will grow up. They’ll remember who was there, who wasn’t there, and the priorities behind the actions. There’ll be missed ballet recitals, missed trips to Central Park, missed picnics and shows. Why? Because Daddy had to go with his buds to the Giants game.

Which, in the ultimate tasty twist, this guy likely won’t remember. Because the majority of football games, like a bag of Sunday-morning bagels, mix together in a big blur. They’re unremarkable and insignificant. The lives of our children, on the other hand, are precious and unique and painfully fleeting.

I’m there to watch mine. Are you, Biff?

Kotex my ass.