So yesterday afternoon I headed over to Ft. Lauderdale Stadium for a story I’m working on. I arrived unannounced, and once there I met an incredibly nice and gracious guy named Ignacio Rodriguez, the PR director for the NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. I introduced myself as “Jeff Pearlman, from the Wall Street Journal,” since that’s who I’m writing the story for.
“You’re kidding me,” he said.
“No,” replied. “The Wall Street Journal.”
“No,” he said. “You’re really Jeff Pearlman! You’re one of my favorite writers!”
I can’t say this happens a lot. But it does, on occasion happen. And when it does, on occasion happen, I don’t know how to react. I’m flattered. But I always believe the guy’s probably pulling my leg, so the first thought is skepticism. Then embarrassment. Then, finally, appreciation. But I probably come off as a jerk/tool, because it takes me aback. Not sure why, but it does.
Anyhow, Ignacio was a wonderful guy, and I am flattered.
Along those lines, I hate—hate—entering big rooms where I’m supposed to know people. I tend to be terrible with names and even worse with faces. The ol’ “Ohh … heeeeeeey!” thing has backfired more than once, in that I’ll use it on people I wasn’t even supposed to know. But then, on other occasions, I’ll introduce myself to someone I’ve met 10 times. That’s never a good thing. Either way, I wind up looking ridiculous, and people probably leave thinking, “Boy, what an asshole.”
I’ve written about this before, but writers—in my opinion—are not public figures. I mean, maybe colleagues like Bill Simmons and Tom Verducci are, because they’ve built up enormous followings and appear on TV and on and on. But certainly not me. Yet sometimes people tend to treat me (us) as if I am a public figure, which gets very awkward. Like, people will say, “Why would Pearlman lower himself to that person’s level?” when, truth be told, I don’t think of myself presiding atop a hill. I’m down here, drinking my soda, watching Mork & Mindy clips on YouTube, scrambling for the next paycheck. I write books, write columns, take a nice nap.
OK, babbling done.