Dear Bill Simmons:
We just had a pretty big snowstorm here in New York. The night before it started coming down, the news was telling us to expect at least ten inches. And no, I didn’t get out and measure it or anything like that, but it looks like ten inches, I think. It’s a lot of snow, is what I’m getting at here. It’s a powdery type of snow though, not too dense, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to clean up.
Still, snow is snow, and I had to shovel. I actually got a ticket for not shoveling in front of my house the last time it snowed. Yeah, yeah, I know, I have like a million excuses, like I was working both the night of the last snowstorm and the night after. So it was like, I came home from work, I should have just shoveled right away, but I put it off for the next day. And of course I overslept, I was rushing to get ready for the following night at the restaurant. I told myself, tomorrow, definitely tomorrow. But the Department of Sanitation must have been thinking the same thing, tomorrow, we’re definitely giving that guy a ticket tomorrow.
This time around, I made sure, as soon as that last snowflake fell, I was outside with my shovel. As I was shoveling I thought, Bill, wouldn’t it be cool if we were next-door neighbors? I know you’re a busy guy, and so I’d totally get your walk if you were at work or something. I don’t know exactly where your job takes you these days, I mean, I don’t really know where you do your filming for ESPN. You write a lot about how you’re from Boston, but you don’t live there anymore do you?
Maybe if you moved to Queens, right next-door to me, it would be like a rude awakening, it would snow, you’d have to shovel. How long has it been since you’ve had to shovel a walk? Don’t worry about it too much though, I told you, I’d help out. And maybe you’d be walking home just as I was finishing up the path right to your front door. Would we have met yet? Like, maybe you’d have waved to me every now and then on your way out the door. But a conversation?
“Hey man, thanks a lot, I really appreciate the help. I’m Bill, by the way, I know we haven’t gotten a chance for any official introductions, but yeah, thanks again for the shoveling.”
I’d say, “Hey, Bill, no problem, any time man.” And then it would get tricky, because obviously I’d recognize you, you’re a pretty famous guy. But do I want to come across as too eager? Like, “Yeah, I know you, you’re Bill Simmons, you’re the Sports Guy, I read all of your stuff on Grantland, I actually have a blog where I write you a letter every week begging for a job as a full-time writer. Have you seen it? Have you read any of my letters? What do you think Bill, can I have a job?”
It might come off as a little too strong. Still, anything else, like if I pretended not to know who you are, “My name’s Rob. Nice to meet you … Bill? Did you say it was Bill? Or Phil?” and you’d have to reintroduce yourself, “Bill. Bill Simmons.” That’s cool, I mean, it would have the benefit of you thinking that you could let your guard down around me, you’d go to work in the morning, you’d be the Sports Guy, but you’d come home at night and you’d just be regular next-door neighbor Bill, hanging out with his new friend Rob, a nice guy who shoveled his sidewalk, plus the path leading to his door, all out of the goodness of his own heart, not looking for anything in return.
Which of course isn’t really true, which is why I’d hesitate to go down that route. What if we hit it off? What if we became good friends? You’d obviously start to ask me questions like, what do you do for a living Rob? And I’d have to be like, well Bill, since you asked, I’m an aspiring writer. What about you?
And you’d go into your whole, “Really? I’m a writer too. I’d love to look at your stuff.” Which, yeah, that would be great. Please, read my stuff Bill. But then you’d come across these letters, the whole Dear Bill Simmons column, and you’d see that not only did I know who you were all along, but maybe my generous acts of snow shoveling weren’t as selfless as they appeared.
You’d think, is anything that Rob’s said about himself true? I’d try to explain, that yes, I really am a nice guy, and also yes, I desperately want to write for Grantland. “You moving next-door to me, I couldn’t believe the luck, but I didn’t know how to handle the situation. So, I’m sorry Bill, I’m sorry for coming across as disingenuous, but I just really, really want to work for you. And I also really want to be great neighbors. And maybe friends. But we’ll take it slow. What do you say?”
I’m pretty confident that you’d see through to the real me. I’m a nice guy Bill. And although we’ll probably never be next-door neighbors, we could still be coworkers. You could totally be my boss. And while I won’t push the friendship thing, I won’t close the door on it completely. So maybe like after years of working for you, building up a professional relationship, one based on hard work and writing whatever you tell me to write, maybe we can think about being friends. But first things first. Offer me a job Bill. I’ll say yes. Ask me to shovel your walk. I’ll say no. You’ll say, “But I thought you’d do whatever I told you to do.” And I’ll say, “I can’t shovel your walk. Because I already did it.”
I’m for real Bill. Give me a shout. Give me a job. Please.