Dear Bill Simmons:
I haven’t heard back from you yet. You know, about that whole me-asking-you-for-a-job-at-Grantland thing. From last week. That’s cool, you probably haven’t seen it yet, you know, even though I sent you a link on Twitter. You probably don’t even check your own Twitter account. There have got to be so many random Internet people tweeting stuff to you all the time, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that my tweet ever even showed up on your feed.
Although, I do wonder, about famous people, especially those active on the Internet. How could you not go through all of those comments? I’ll write something on this blog, and it’s all I can do to not sit here clicking refresh, over and over again, hoping that the “zero comments” button will change to “one comment,” and that it won’t be something from Eastern Europe, “I am thanking so much for to your kind and thoughtful opinion on this matter. Let me know if you’d be liking to buy several Gucci handbags at …”
If it were me, and I had all of these people sending me comments and questions, I wouldn’t be able to look away. I wouldn’t get any writing done. Maybe that’s why you’re a famous writer and I’m not. Maybe. Or maybe you have seen my pleas, my begging for some sort of a full-time writing gig at Grantland. Maybe you get tons of similar requests. How do you know I’m serious? Well, I am serious. Look, this is my second open letter to you. Maybe you still won’t think I really have what it takes to churn out long pieces on a regular basis. But you will, sooner or later, you’ve got to cave. Either that or you’ll block my tweets.
Hey Bill, I was talking with one of my coworkers, and I don’t even know how this came up really, but this guy mentioned how he really loves reading Phil Simmons on the Internet. I think it was something like a question, “Hey Rob, do you ever read Phil Simmons, you know, the Sports Guy?”
And of course I knew what he was getting at, he’d obviously mistakenly called you Phil instead of Bill. I don’t really know you, personally, so I can’t comment on how that would make you feel. But I have to imagine that it’s not the first time that somebody’s called you by the wrong name. Every once in a while someone will call me Bob or something like that and, yeah, even though Bob and Rob are technically derivatives of the same name, the error is all but identical. I’m not going to lie, it bothers me a little bit.
And so even though I don’t like engaging in random arguments with acquaintances at work, especially people that are just trying to shoot the shit with me, have a little friendly banter to pass the time, I thought about you, you’re a public figure now, maybe it’s one thing for a pre-famous Bill Simmons to let the occasional Phil-calling slide, but now? After all you’ve done to get your name out there, on the Internet, on TV?
No, Bill, you deserve better than that. You deserve respect. I respect you Bill. I put this guy in his place, immediately. I didn’t try to ease it into the conversation, like subtly trying to put “Bill” at the forefront of most of my sentences. I didn’t want to leave anything to confusion, OK, I didn’t want it to be like maybe he’d be thinking, man, why does Rob keep calling Phil Simmons Bill?
“Listen,” I told him, “It’s not Phil Simmons, it’s Bill Simmons.” And this guy paused, only for like half a second, obviously your first name wasn’t going to be the central subject of whatever it was he was trying to tell me, so he tried to continue, “Oh, OK, whatever. But anyway, I was reading this …”
And I stopped him again. I said, “No, it’s not OK, it’s not just whatever, this is Bill Simmons, OK, this isn’t just some guy or one of your friends that you’re telling me a story about, OK? If you want to talk to me about the Sports Guy, I mean, if you want to talk to anybody about the Sports Guy, just get his name right, at the very least, have some respect, his name is Bill.”
Then I walked away. Because seriously, fuck that guy, right? Phil Simmons, please. This is just a taste of what I can bring to the table as a full-time writer for Grantland. Not only would I be able to offer top-notch writing, but I could be like an enforcer, making sure that when people talk about the web site, when they talk about you, they’re doing it right. They’re not calling you Phil. Or Will. Or … I’m trying to think of other one-syllable names that rhyme with Bill, and I guess that’s it, Phil and Will. Or Jill, but that’s a girl’s name, and if anybody ever called you Jill, I’d go berserk.
Please hire me,