It has been an eventful week. English got engaged to his girlfriend of many years. I am in favor of the union, though a friend insists that getting married is what happens when you fail at being single. I do think love is pretty clearly the one socially acceptable form of psychosis. It makes us anxious, unsure, volatile, insecure, and prone to bouts of surveillance. Let us go to the father of modern psychology for insight. Freud: “Falling in love always verges on the abnormal, is always accompanied by blindness to reality, compulsiveness, and is a transference from love objects of childhood.” It victimizes nearly all of us, like some embedded biological defect. Carl Jung, Freud rival and longtime symbol interpreter, offers this: “The archetype is a force. It is an autonomy and it can suddenly seize you … You see, you have a certain image in yourself without knowing it, of woman, of the woman. You see that girl, or at least a good imitation of your type, and instantly you get seizure and you are gone.”
With his fiancée in the stands, I hope English doesn’t seize during a game—the on-site trainer doesn’t stock valproate, and such a fit would greatly diminish our chances of winning. He is the engine that propels the Piston machine.
The week also had me slammed with work. I went over to the West Hollywood apartment building of a TV comedian who wanted to pitch me a feature-film idea. The actor owns the building and has installed many and various young man-boys in the other units, some paying rent, others not as much. I was surprised to see him eating a steaming plate of black-eyed peas and broccoli, since he usually subsists on blow, bending down to hoover fat lines of yayo with great regularity. When I arrived, I was asked to wait in the back office and close both doors because the actor was in a heart-to-heart with an old friend who was going though relationship turmoil. Once the meeting commenced, someone would barge in every few minutes, including a red-haired 60-year-old who turned out to be the drunk mother of one of his concubines. The actor took pains to introduce one interloper in particular, insisting he was a “producer,” though it was unclear if he had his learner’s permit or had graduated high school. I suppose if one can produce high-quality narcotics at reasonable prices, then the appellation fits.
I did like the pitch but was worried the movie would be formless, overly picaresque, simply a series of skits stitched together. I think most successful comedies have an identifiable act structure and an underlying humanitarianism, but, frankly, what do I know? I was discussing it with the Captain, who turned to me as we drove and revealed that a mutual friend, an aspiring poet, was hired to help Brad Pitt move out of his home and was forced to sign an NDA. The Captain had been given a card from a tabloid reporter while at a bar and was told that they pay considerable sums for tips. He suggested the poet drop a dime to the Enquirer.
The other tumult of the week involved B3, Boy-Band Brother, fresh off a big win in ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. He made a call to the commissioner saying he was going to return for this Sunday’s game. “You know what he can do?” the Captain asked me, his Irish ire flaring. “He can dance his ass right to the end of the bench.” The Captain was not about to concede precious playing time to someone who had missed such a large chunk of the regular season.
Meanwhile, I heard some troubling news that a member of the Suns with whom I had always been friendly made disparaging personal remarks about me, which only affirms the observation that Hollywood is indeed high school with money. Word travels fast, and it gave me a little extra motivation to play well.
The problem was that I didn’t get my chance at payback.
Because the game was scheduled on the same day as the Oscars, the biggest night of the year in the entertainment industry. I thought the chances of the Suns fielding five players was slim. Sure enough, they were a guy short, having scrounged four, which was the minimum required to avoid the forfeit. There was no studio director who doesn’t like to fly over water and who goes by the first three initials of his last name; no former pop star turned syndicated-entertainment-show host; no boyfriend of caramel thespian goddess Jessica Alba, a presenter at the Academy Awards. The game, nonetheless, was on.
And it was a bloodbath.
We set an NBAE single-game scoring record by pouring in 105 points and ended up winning by over 40. English recorded the first triple-double in league history, and I was three assists away from following suit. Sure, we played five on four, but good stats are good stats, no matter how you slice it. It was the last game of the year and we took great advantage. The NBAE is our laiterie d’agrement, the sports equivalent of the kind of French pleasure dairy Marie Antoinette was so fond of. All the rage in the 1700s, they were places where ladies went to milk cows, make cheese, take a ramble, and enjoy complex creams and mousses. King Louis XVI built Marie an exquisite dairy stocked with Merino sheep and fine china, where she indulged her remove from the discontent fomenting within her country. It, of course, ended poorly for her: being escorted from the royal palace at Versailles to Paris, where she was eventually guillotined. I can’t imagine that our fanciful participation in the league would bear us a similar fate, though one could conclude that some of the players, luxuriating in the success and sycophancy of Hollywood, share her preoccupation with bling and insulation from reality.
When the day finished, we ended up with a 10-3 record, tied for second best in the league and behind only the Chicago Bulls at 11-2. Our first-round playoff opponent is last year’s champion, the Miami Heat. They have an excellent team but registered a poor record because one of their best players, a platinum-selling R&B artist, missed much of the year. When he was there, they only lost one game. I thought we would, by virtue of our record, have an easier road, but we will have to win four tough games if we are to attain our goal of an NBAE championship. Let the obsessing begin.