The First Trimester: Denial
I must confess, the very first thought that went through my mind was that Ricky Ricardo was full of shit. And that devastates me, because I love Ricky Ricardo. The man was wearing clothes in the fifties that would still be hip today, and he made smoking look so cool I started doing it. To my mind, he was the coolest character in the history of television.
What a shame he was so obviously full of shit.
I’ll tell you how I know: Remember the episode where Lucy tells Ricky she’s pregnant? She does it anonymously, making him figure it out in front of his audience at the Tropicana nightclub. Ricky sings “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me,” trying to guess which guest is the lucky one. Do you remember how he strolls right past Lucy without the foggiest notion it might be she who is expecting? What are we to make of this? Was it the second Immaculate Conception? Had Ricky never traversed the space between those separated twin beds? Could it really have been that much of a surprise?
Now, this was the fifties, so I’m willing to cut them slack on sexual chemistry. I suppose in the time of Joseph McCarthy, network censors might have been squeamish if Lucy had said, “I should go off the Ortho-Cept this week. Last time it took me three months to get my period.”
But did they really need to insult our intelligence?
Now, maybe it was better the way they did it. I certainly didn’t need to hear Lucy tell Ricky she was ovulating, or tell Ethel she was three centimeters dilated and twenty percent effaced. I don’t regret never seeing Lucille Ball in the stirrups, or bored out of her mind on bed rest because she was carrying too low and they didn’t want to use a stitch in her cervix. Perhaps the world was a better place when we were spared all of that on television, but mustn’t Ricky have had some inkling that Lucy might be knocked up?
The point of all this is that today, my wife told me we are going to have a baby. Unlike Ricky, I was not shocked by the news. Not after we went off the pill three months ago, visited three obstetricians and a pediatrician, pinpointed the optimal instant of ovulation, became unprecedentedly intimate with a thermometer, had sex when I didn’t feel like it (a first), and spent hundreds of dollars on books—everything from prenatal diet tips to the benefits of communication with the fetus. Like everything else in my life, this transaction was carefully budgeted, programmed by a computer, dissected on a spreadsheet, discussed via e-mail, and scheduled in my BlackBerry long before any rabbit died. My wife didn’t need to slip me an anonymous note, and there was no point in feigning surprise. This was a day that was only about the facts.
We’re having a baby. My baby and me.
The first thing I have learned is that my role in all of this is negligible. My wife’s obstetrician made that abundantly clear when I made the catastrophic mistake of attending an appointment. What I found is that my contribution to anything beyond insemination is purely optional. There was not a single question I asked to which the reply was not: It doesn’t matter.
Should I exercise more?
Should I stop smoking?
Should I get more sleep?
Is there anything I should do about my diet?
It doesn’t matter.
But the doctor did have a great deal to say to my wife and, frankly, the language she used was absurd. Am I really supposed to know what a uterus is? I mean, does everyone?
Apparently my wife thinks they do.
“How in the world can you not know what a uterus is?” she asked.
“Well,” I said, “I don’t have one.”
“You don’t have a satellite dish, either. But you know what that is.”
“Do you know what rack-and-pinion steering is?” I asked.
“Well, you see,” I said, “I don’t make fun of you.”
“I cannot believe you would compare rack-and-pinion steering to my uterus.”
I realized there was no good end to this conversation.
“Well, does anyone want to tell me what a uterus is?” I asked.
Without blinking, the doctor pulled down a roll-up picture of a frontally nude woman with her abdominal cavity on display. And I immediately regretted not having pursued the rack-and-pinion line of questioning. By the time she finished, I needed a stiff drink.
That was how we began the horrifying process of insemination, which I must say bears absolutely no resemblance to actual sex. As Tom says to himself in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. . . . Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” I was stunned at how quickly sex started to seem like work when it became something my body was obliged to do.
Let’s do it now, honey. Seinfeld starts in eight minutes.
I actually spoke those words. What has become of me?
Though, on the positive side, I will say this: There is something liberating about a sexual experience where the sole objective is to get it over with as quickly as possible. It alleviates all the pressure. And all she wants to do is get it done and then lie flat on her back with her feet in the air like a T-square, anyway. She’s just as happy as you are if it’s over in time for Seinfeld.
So eventually it happened. Three months of that and away we go. I would describe my wife’s overriding emotion as relief; she has so many friends who’ve had trouble getting pregnant, she’s behaving as though the hard part is behind us. Me, though, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a giant cliff and cannot see what is waiting for me once I go over. There isn’t a hint of euphoria or delight or even joy. All I feel is a distant but heavy sense of dread. We’ll see how that changes—if it does—as time goes on.
Dr. Gray has recommended that I keep this diary for the duration of the pregnancy. I pledge to be diligent in doing so, even though I have some doubt as to how much good will come of it. I figure, if nothing else, maybe it will make for interesting reading someday.
Note to self: At some point, make sure you write a letter to unborn child. A tad kitschy, perhaps, but an idea I find appealing. Perhaps I’ll read it at the kid’s wedding someday and everyone will cry at the majesty of it. Be sure to write it majestically.
Just back from a visit with Dr. Gray, who has the uncanny ability to be uplifting while she explains that I am doomed to forever be unhappy.
“What you must come to accept,” she told me, “is that we all have priorities in life. Those priorities define who we are, and yours are about to change.”
“But what if they don’t change?” I asked. “I am the most self- centered person on earth. What if I remain that way even after the baby is born?”
“It does not happen that way, Michael,” she said, “not for us who love our children and put them first.”
That’s the trouble. Sometimes you don’t put the really important things first. I should know; I talk about sports for a living.
“Ah, yes,” she said, “the games you enjoy so well.”
“I do enjoy them, but it’s more than that.”
I thought about it for a minute. “I don’t know.”
“Think about it,” she said. “If you can tell me why you love sports so much, it may give us the answers to other questions, too.”
Well, I spent the rest of the day thinking about it.
I love the fact that my father, a man who grew up penniless during the Depression, refers to the Yankees’ loss of a World Series game as the worst moment of his childhood. And I love that after making himself a successful lawyer and publishing a book, he dedicated it to his heroes, including Joe DiMaggio along with Clarence Darrow and William O. Douglas.
I love the fact that my mother, who grew up within walking distance of Yankee Stadium, is such a passionate sports fan herself that she must watch games alone because she finds conversation distracting. And I love that she would have left my father for Joe Namath in a heartbeat, and that he would have applauded her for it.
I love that my kid brother, who—like all kid brothers—always hated everything I liked, chose to root for the Miami Dolphins because they were the sworn enemy of my beloved New York Jets. And I love that, thirty years later, he flies to Miami every time the Dolphins have a big game.
I love that my wife, who grew up without sports playing any role in her life, now watches games with me and occasionally puts down her magazine. I love that she recognizes it is important enough at least to try.
I love the way I felt the first time I covered the Super Bowl. It was Pasadena, California, in January 1993. The Bills were playing the Cowboys and Garth Brooks sang the national anthem. I remember thinking about all the games I’d watched as a kid, and how if someone had told that kid he would someday get to cover the Super Bowl he would have said, “I am going to have the best life of anybody in the whole world.” And then U.S. Navy jets flew overhead in formation just as the sun set over the mountains in the distance. That stadium was the loudest place I’ve ever been.
I love that Dave Wannstedt, then the coach of the Chicago Bears, once yelled at me over something I’d said on the radio, and I stumbled into the pressroom, humiliated, and a veteran writer pulled me aside and said, “Don’t sweat it, kid. They never yell unless they know you’re right.”
I love the way Michael Jordan used to pump his fist when he made a big shot. I love the way Pete Rose ran to first base when he could have walked. I love that Lou Gehrig really believed he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
There are so many things to love about sports, so many moments and thrills. But, as I think about it, none of those really have anything to do with the question. Those are not the reasons I love sports. They are symptoms; the question is about the disease.
Upon further reflection, I have decided that what I really love most about sports is the impermanence. Sports are like war without all the dying. Imagine how intriguing war would be as a spectator sport if, when it was over, everyone shook hands and showered together. The strategy, the passion, the courage, the stakes; war is magnificent theater until you start counting bodies. That’s where you lose me.
In sports, you never lose me. You plan your attack, prepare physically and emotionally, attempt to execute your game plan—often in hostile environments—and then it ends and you all have a beer together.
That is the beauty of sports. That is the reason I became a sportscaster in the first place, because of the impermanence.
You see, growing up I wanted to be a journalist—a real journalist. I wanted to cover politics and uncover corruption and ask the questions that topple the high and mighty. But all that changed when Andrew Donatelli drowned.
I never met Donatelli, but I’ll never forget him. A high school senior in a small town where I was doing an internship at the local newspaper, the kid was headed to college on a football scholarship and was valedictorian of his high school class. He also had the prettiest girlfriend you could imagine and the saddest dog I ever saw. The night of his prom, Donatelli and a few buddies took their dates to a beach; some were drinking beer and others were allegedly smoking pot. Somehow that pretty girlfriend wound up in the water and Donatelli inexplicably drowned saving her. The next morning, the newspaper sent three of us on the story, one to the police station, one to the beach, and one—me—to the house to interview the parents.
I went. I stood on the porch. That was where I saw the dog. He came around the house from the backyard and stared at me. The dog was handsome but powerful looking, like a guard dog. I don’t suppose there were many times a stranger could have stood on that porch without the dog barking, but this wasn’t the day for that. He just watched me for a little while and then grew bored and flopped to the ground with his back to me. He didn’t move after that, not in all the time I stood on that porch, which had to be an hour. I’ve never seen a dog so still. He wasn’t asleep, either, just sad. Dogs may not understand everything, but they usually know when to be sad.
I couldn’t ring the bell.
I had all my questions written in my yellow reporter’s pad but I couldn’t ask them; I knew it was my job but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t ask a woman I’d never met how it felt to go to Malcolm and Brothers Funeral Home on Worth Avenue at five in the morning with a football uniform and a navy blue Brooks Brothers suit because she couldn’t decide which her son would have wanted to be buried in. I have all the respect in the world for people who ask that question, but I can’t.
The experience really shook me up. It also made me wonder, for the first time, what I would do with my life. I had always wanted to be a journalist; now I would have to be something else. I told that to my adviser, in those words exactly.
“Have you ever thought about covering sports?” he said.
Funny that he barely knew me and still asked that.
So that is the story of how I became a sportscaster, and it is also the best way I can think of to explain why I love sports so much. There is nothing in the world better than investing everything into something that means absolutely nothing.
I often read about people whose lives are filled with tragedy, civil war, poverty, hunger, and I think how much better off the world would be if everyone could spend all that energy worrying about football. Maybe I’m onto something with that. Maybe the solution to all our problems can be found in irrelevance. Try it. The next time the mortgage is due and the baby is crying and you’re late for work and the car in front of you is taking up both lanes—that is the best time to fret over someone dropping a ball you care too much about. It may not make your troubles disappear but it might make them blurry, distort the focus, at least a little. Maybe, on a tough day, that is the most we can ask for. Maybe that’s what I should be passing along to my child someday. Maybe the best thing any of us can wish for is just a little blurriness.
There is nothing at all blurry about the way I feel today. The word of the day is anxious and my anxiety is not at all blurry; it is crystal clear. I’ve felt this way since the phone rang too early this morning, and my feelings of anxiety have only grown as the day has worn on. It has reached the point where I am so anxious I can hardly sit still. In keeping with the intention of this journal, I am writing in hope that trying to explain the events of the day will relax me.
It was my Aunt Ada who woke us up this morning, on a bad phone line. It sounded like she was calling from a cell phone in the Brazilian rain forest. When she told me she was on an airplane my heart started to race. Why would my aunt be calling from an airplane?
“Darling,” she said, in her whiny soprano, “grab a pencil.”
“Take down these numbers. Three, nine, twenty-two, forty-six, fifty-five, and sixty-one.”
She was shouting; I can only imagine how loud it must have been if you were seated beside her.
“Those are the numbers on my lotto ticket,” she said. “I put the ticket in the freezer, under the mushroom barley.”
“I didn’t make the soup, darling. It’s Tabatchnick.”
“Aunt Ada, why are you telling me this?”
“In case the plane crashes,” she said. “I share the tickets with the girls from mahjong, and if I go down they’ll never cut the family in on my share!”
I looked at the clock. It was five in the morning.
“Aunt Ada, do you know what time it is?”
“What am I, blind?” she asked, in the way that every member of my family answers questions with questions. “I’m on the red-eye to Vegas.”
My father’s sister was widowed young. She has no children, but she does have a bit of a gambling problem. For instance, she always spends the week of the Super Bowl in Las Vegas so she can make every prop wager known to man. (Last year she made me ask my research department to do a study on the history of the coin toss.)
“Have you got the numbers, darling?” she asked.
“I have them, Aunt Ada.”
“All right, go back to sleep. If you wake up to terrible news, make sure you watch the lotto tonight.”
I hung up and sat bolt upright in bed, which awoke my pregnant wife. Somehow she had managed to sleep through the entire conversation, but my sitting up woke her.
“What the hell is going on?” she asked.
“It’s nothing, honey,” I told her. “Go back to sleep.”
She shook her head in that way that means she’s aggravated. Then she fell back to sleep. Watching her, I wanted to cry. She’s a wonderful woman and now she’s only months away from giving birth to a child whose blood is catastrophically tainted by the dementia of my family. I laid my head down but knew I would not sleep. I could not stop thinking about the baby. What chance does it have for a normal life? What chance could anyone have in this lunatic family where they call at five in the morning just in case they win the lottery and die in a plane crash on the same day?
Such is the curse my child is being born into, a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It reminds me of the line at the beginning of Angela’s Ashes, where Frank McCourt says there is nothing as miserable as an impoverished Irish childhood. He would change his mind in a hurry if he ever spent Thanksgiving with my family.
That’s how my day began. I assumed the pit in my stomach would fade, but as the hours passed, just the opposite happened. My sense of impending doom only grew. After lunch I decided it might cheer me up to call my parents in Palm Beach and give them the big news. What I forgot is that calling my parents has really never cheered up anyone.
My mother answered the phone and immediately started yelling at my father.
“Come here, you aren’t going to believe this!”
I could hear him in the distance. “What the hell do you want?”
“Just come in here a minute!”
“What is so important it can’t wait five minutes for a commercial?”
“Is this man unbelievable?” she asked into the phone. “He’s watching the Marx Brothers, what could he possibly miss?”
“You don’t have to disturb him,” I started to say, but she was already shouting.
“Is it too much to ask to have you come here when I say it’s important?”
“For forty-one years it’s been important! I can’t do anything without you needing me for something important!”
“Then leave, why don’t you? If it’s so hard to be with me, just leave already!”
“I’m going! I’m going!”
For forty-one years, he’s been going.
“Are you coming in here or what?” she shouted.
“What the hell is so important?”
“It’s the telephone!”
“Who is it?”
“It’s Fred Astaire, he wants to give you dance lessons. Can’t you just trust if I say it’s important?”
“For forty-one years it’s been important. That’s why I’ve never seen the end of a movie!”
It was around that point that I hung up. The pit is still gnawing at my stomach; it feels like a hamster running on a wheel. I still feel anxious. And, it occurs to me, I’m going to have to call another time to give my father the news.
She’ll never wear the green shoes.
That’s how well I know her.
Which isn’t to say I understand her; I certainly do not understand her but I know her, and I know there isn’t any way in hell she’s going to come out of that closet wearing the green shoes.
I should explain that my wife wears black like a suit of armor. It is her protection, her only color, and now she is convinced that the only reason her cousin asked her to be a bridesmaid is so she would have to wear a lime-green dress.
“I mean just look at it,” she shrieked when she brought it home, still wrapped in cellophane. “Barbara Bush wouldn’t wear this!”
Tonight, she emerged from her closet wearing the dress and a pair of lime-green shoes which, she told me, had been recommended by the bride.
“That’s the part that really gets me,” she said. “She doesn’t insist you wear these horrendous shoes, she just recommends it. So you’re a bitch if you don’t but you can’t complain because she didn’t make you wear them.”
She was teetering dangerously close to that place where anger turns to tears, which is a bad place to be when we are due in Fairfield, Connecticut, in two hours and the traffic on the parkway is guaranteed to be a nightmare.
“You know what?” I said, as gently as I could. “I think they look great.”
She gave me a look that said: How could I have married someone with as little sense as you have?
But I hung tough. “I know it isn’t your style, but it’s actually a nice look, especially with your hair up like that. You’re only having trouble with it because it’s so different from what you usually wear.”
She softened. I was getting to her.
“I’ll be waiting downstairs,” I said. “You do whatever you want, but I think the shoes look great.”
I left her staring at her feet. Now it’s been forty minutes and we are guaranteed to be late to this wedding, which will create endless strife in the family. Our tardiness is sure to be the topic of conversation at holiday gatherings for twenty years, but she’s still up there struggling with the shoes. I’ll say one thing: If she comes down wearing the green ones, then there is more power in hormones than there is in an atomic bomb, because under normal circumstances there is no way I could convince her to make even an insignificant change in her life, much less something as enormous as wearing green shoes.
I hear her coming. I’ll let you know what happened.
The following day
What a horror show that proved to be.
It began before we even left, when a moth flew in. We both saw it go past us into the living room and disappear near a light fixture. Now, I hate moths but I must say this did not cause me nearly the consternation it did my wife. Before I could stop her she had kicked off her black shoes and climbed up on a kitchen stool, swinging a broom over her head. Mind you, we were now inside of an hour from the time we were supposed to be at this wedding.
The notion flashed through my mind that the pregnancy was making her delusional. “Honey,” I said, “this hardly seems worth the trouble.”
“We have to get rid of it!” she shouted, swinging the broom like Derek Jeter.
“It’s a moth,” I said. “Are you worried it’s going to steal the television?”
Well, as it turned out we were a good half hour late to the wedding, my wife refused to wear any shoes at all during the ceremony, the best man made a drunken toast in which he reminisced too fondly about the groom’s womanizing, and I got a speeding ticket on the way home because my wife had to pee really badly.
Oh, and the moth lived.
Then I was in bed, just on the verge of falling asleep, when I heard her burst into the room, crying loudly. (I should mention that my wife cries every time she sees the movie Rudy, so upon hearing her cry I was not panicked.)
“I’m bleeding all over the place!” she shouted.
That is when I panicked.
It turns out she had been in the kitchen and opened a cupboard, then bent to pick something up and cracked her head when she stood. I got dressed as quickly as I could and raced her to the emergency room, where we were seated amid a collection of gunshot-wound victims. She had a bathing cap filled with ice cubes against her head.
“Honey, are you feeling faint?” I asked.
“I didn’t want to bleed on my new Burberry,” she said.
She was wearing my raincoat.
It was almost two hours before they called us in to see a doctor. There were two other patients in the room where they took us: a woman who looked as though she had been stabbed in the ribs, and a man with bandages covering his entire head. I later found out he had fallen off his motorcycle and skidded almost fifty yards on his face. A nurse told me she’d be surprised if he didn’t need skin grafts on over seventy-five percent of his body. Nothing like skin grafts to put things in perspective.
Then the doctor came in carrying a needle that must have been nine inches long. I thought I would pass out; if he had actually stuck that needle into my wife’s head, it would have come out beneath her jaw. I could not say a word, even good-bye, until the doctor squeezed the top and I realized it was just a syringe filled with water to clean the cut. My relief was probably evident on my face, though no one would have noticed because when that water struck my wife’s head, all eyes in the room turned to her.
All the action stopped. Even the guy who had lost half his face on I-95 turned to see where that sound had come from.
“That hurts,” she said, more softly.
It wasn’t long before the subject of stitches was raised. The doctor said she would need between seven and nine. Then the subject of shaving the head was raised.
“We could shave such a small area I doubt anyone would even notice,” the doctor said.
Doc, meet my wife.
“There is no chance we are shaving any of my head,” she said. “There has to be another option.”
“There is,” the doctor said hesitantly, “but it isn’t as desirable. We can staple the wound. It isn’t what I would advise, but it will work. You’ll come back in a week and we can take the staple out.”
“And I won’t lose any hair?” she asked.
“You won’t lose any hair.”
“Then that’s what I want.”
I felt I had to say something. “Doctor, are you sure this is an effective medical solution to the problem?”
My wife gave me a look that said when we got home I was getting kicked in the nuts.
“It is safe and effective,” the doctor said. “It’s more commonly performed on the homeless and others without medical insurance, but it’s not dangerous.”
“We’re doing it,” my wife said. “Get the stapler.”
And that’s exactly what the doctor got. With one quick motion, he stapled my wife’s head like a term paper.
She’s asleep upstairs now. If you catch it at exactly the right angle, the staple gleams in the light. She’ll be fine; she always is. Come to think of it, I may be giving a false and completely unfair impression of this woman. She is an intelligent and accomplished corporate executive and I am enormously proud of her. (When we were first married, she made more money than me and people asked how I handled that. I bought a BMW, that’s how I handled it. All men should be cursed with a wife who makes a six-figure salary.)
And I suppose that while we’re on the subject of my wife, I should tell you that shoes are her reason for being. They are her passion, her raison d’être. My wife has more shoes than Imelda Marcos. And they all look more or less alike, which I suppose is why she always has such a difficult time deciding which ones to wear.
A typical evening for us will begin with my wife repeating over and over the time by which I need to be ready to leave the house. When that time comes I invariably find myself sitting on the sofa, shaved, showered, and dressed and shouting time checks at three-minute intervals while she scurries about madly wearing two unmatched shoes.
Then disaster strikes.
She always asks me which shoe I like better. This is unfair. While I am familiar with Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, that doesn’t mean I can tell them apart. Half the time, I’m not even certain they aren’t a matching pair.
Then it gets worse.
After I choose which of the identical shoes I prefer, she asks why.
Now, I don’t have a compelling reason for almost anything I do. I spend my life wandering about in a state of total indifference, so I certainly don’t have a convincing reason why I prefer one black strappy sandal over another. This inability on my part invariably makes us even later.
Of course, I hope it is clear that I say all of this with love. If she didn’t recognize the importance of these shoes, who would? I’m glad someone does, and I’m glad that someone is married to me. And now, as I watch her sleep, with an industrial-sized office supply embedded in her scalp, I am reminded of just how sincerely I mean that. As crazy as it seems, I love her more every time we have that fight.
I had a funny experience last night.
Actually, maybe it wasn’t really funny as much as it was sad.
You be the judge. It was around ten o’clock and I was bushed. I mean, really tired. The kind of tired where Charlize Theron could be beside you in bed with a jug of wine and a tray of grapes and all you would say to her would be “If you’re going to read, please be mindful of how loudly you turn the pages.”
I fell into bed and let out an audible sigh—more of a moan, actually—then rolled over, picked up the phone, and dialed zero.
“I need a wake-up call at four o’clock, please,” I said.
There was a pause. “Excuse me?”
“I know it’s early, but that’s when I get up.”
“Sir, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Then it hit me. I wasn’t in a hotel. This was my home. I was talking to a regular operator. I hung up and set my alarm clock, then started to laugh. I’ve definitely been traveling too much.
This was not the first time something like that has happened. In fact, back when I was on the road all the time—covering teams— I used to play a game when I woke up: I would see if I could remember what city I was in before I opened my eyes.
All of us who work too much have had those sorts of experiences, like dialing nine for an outside line from our home phone. For me, though, it has always been worth it. I have lived my dream and loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t part with any of the experiences I’ve had, not for anything.
Like the time I sat with Muhammad Ali in a hospitality room in Atlanta and listened to him talk about watching Mike Tyson fight.
Or that morning in New Orleans when Paul Prudhomme, the legendary chef, cooked me breakfast. He made omelets with sweet potatoes and spicy sausage and let me eat right out of his frying pan, and wash it down with fresh coffee with chicory. Nothing has ever tasted better, not in my whole life.
Or the time Mark McGwire handed me his bat at the All-Star Game in San Diego so he could use my cell phone to do a guest appearance on a radio show.
Or the afternoon I spent with O. J. Simpson, who complimented me on my tie while he chatted up an awestruck blonde, six months before his ex-wife was murdered.
Or being ten feet away from Larry Holmes when he threw up in the ring after going the distance with Evander Holyfield.
Or that night when the Reverend Jesse Jackson tapped me on the shoulder and introduced himself in the old Chicago Stadium. He said he wanted to go on the air and talk about the Bulls. And he did and he was wonderful, and knew more about basketball than most of the reporters covering the game.
I’ve had mayors in three cities proclaim days in my honor, I’ve interviewed Woody Allen and Jack Nicholson, the governor of Illinois calls me “Greeny,” and I once convinced Senator Joseph Lieberman to do an impression of Sylvester Stallone on the air. The only thing more amazing than any of those is that I got paid for all of them. It almost doesn’t seem fair.
So here’s the question now: Is it all going to have to end?
It might. When I was growing up, I don’t think I would have wanted my dad on the road two hundred days a year. I don’t think I would have liked seeing him more on television than I did in person. I don’t think I would have been excited to hear about his dinner at the White House; I would have wanted him to eat at my house, with me. I suppose that means I’m going to have to start eating at home. That’s going to take some getting used to.
Now, I can see where there is going to be a bright side to this crazy job of mine. Maybe my kids will come with me to the Super Bowl someday. Maybe I’ll bring them on the field before the game, and into the locker rooms to meet all the players. My kids will be the coolest ones in school if I do that. (When I was ten, the girl in my class who picked her nose took me to a World Series game. She was my best friend for the rest of the year.)
That’s going to be great, but it’s a long way off. And between now and then, I’m going to have to be there. Not in Miami, not in Atlanta, not in L.A.
Which, I suppose, is now forever to be defined as “wherever the kid is.”
I guess this means I am going to have to put something ahead of sports. And ahead of myself. That’s going to be quite an adjustment. Frankly, I wouldn’t bet I’ll be able to make it.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot by Mike Greenberg. Copyright © 2006 by Mike Greenberg. Excerpted by permission of Villard, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.