I had this dream last week where NASA offered you the chance to hop on a rocket ship and captain a deep space mission. “Bill,” they said, “We want you to spread sports across the cosmos. Get out there, find some alien life, and teach them all about basketball and football and hockey. Show them about sportsmanship and being a team player and the importance of picking a good mascot to represent their species. If there’s anybody that can not only show the aliens what Earth sports are all about, but can also get them actually interested, it’s you.”
And you were like, “I’ll do it.” And everyone smiled, but you continued, “On one condition. I pick the crew.” And they were a little skeptical, I mean, what do you really know about staffing a spaceship? But eventually they realized that it was the only way they’d get you on board, and so they agreed, “All right Bill, we hope you know what you’re doing.”
You did know what you were doing. You picked me to join you as your first officer. I was sitting here on my computer, dicking around, killing some time before I had to go to work, when I got this call on my cell phone from an unknown number. It was you.
“Hey Rob, Bill Simmons here. I’ve been reading your letters to me every week on your web site asking me for a job. Well, here it is, your lucky day!” And at first I was really excited, like, yes, finally, I’m going to get to work at Grantland, me, a full-time writer at one of the best sports and pop culture web sites on the Internet. My imagination went crazy, I started picturing what kind of posters I’d use to decorate my office, or how I’d casually drop by your office around three-thirty to ask if you wanted anything while I went out to Starbucks.
It was a shock when you told me it wasn’t exactly the offer that I’d been dreaming about, but of course I still accepted without hesitation. Because seriously Bill, I’d do anything to work with you. I’d leave all of my family and friends here on Earth as we set out on a one-way trip to explore the galaxy. That’s the kind of dedication I’d bring to your team, in both my fantasy dream world and in real life.
Yeah, the dream kind of went in a weird direction after I said yes to the mission. Like most dreams go, there were huge gaps in the narrative, weird tangential events that didn’t really make much sense in terms of context or continuity. For example, all of the sudden we were both deep in space, and you told me that the months of isolation were starting to get to you, that routine spaceship maintenance work wasn’t as satisfying as you thought it might be.
But I was like, “Bill, why didn’t you say something earlier? I brought a chess set. We could learn to play, together.” And yeah, you lit up at the idea of a new hobby, something to really challenge your atrophying mental faculties. But we discovered pretty quickly that playing chess in zero-g isn’t really possible pastime. Maybe if I had thought it out a little better, like if I brought some Velcro, something to keep the pieces from flying off the board. But no, I didn’t have anything, and so we both gave up after a few minutes of futilely trying just to keep everything still on the constantly floating surface.
And then pretty soon after that, we weren’t in space anymore, we were at a McDonald’s. It didn’t make sense at all, but neither of us questioned our new surroundings. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, you didn’t even remember being in space at all. And when I was like, “Bill, don’t you remember? The spaceship? The chess set?” you were like, “My name’s not Bill, it’s Fred. And can you hurry up a little with my order?”
It was then that I looked down, and I was actually behind the counter, I was wearing a McDonald’s uniform, and my name tag didn’t say “Rob,” it said, “Jean.” Which, yeah, that doesn’t really make much sense. The rest of the dream went on for like another minute or so, in dream minutes anyway, who knows how long it was in real life. Everything got fuzzier and fuzzier until I woke up, it was ten-thirty, I was late for work. But I still thought, I’ve got to write this down. I’ve got to tell Bill.
And now that I’ve written it all out, I’m actually kind of sorry, because for real, I know how boring dream stories are. Whenever anybody starts telling me, “Rob, listen to this dream I had …” I automatically shut down, because regardless of how interesting the dream may have been in the dream, it’s never even remotely worth retelling once you wake up. And so I don’t know why I thought this one was going to be different, because it wasn’t, and again, I apologize.
All I can say is, when you hire me to work at Grantland, I’ll never talk about my dreams. Unless you order me to. Then I’ll do it. I’ll do whatever you say. That’s the kind of employee I am. Unless you order me to stop following your orders, because I’m not that clever, I won’t really know how to respond to one of those logical paradoxes.
Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend. And I hope that whichever team you predicted to win the Super Bowl wins. And I’ll tell everybody, “See? It’s just like Bill Simmons said would happen. That guy is the best.” Me? I predicted the Giants would win, way back when they were 0 – 6. Things were looking pretty good for a while, until Dallas scored that field goal. I hate the Cowboys.