Tag Archives: Bill

Are you there Bill Simmons? It’s me, Rob

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,


Rob G.

The soda elitist

Last weekend we had a bunch of people over for dinner. I picked up a few two-liter bottles of soda, which, I don’t know, I couldn’t really figure out how many I should have bought, I had no idea how much soda people were planning on drinking. I’d say in total, about one and a half liters went, but it was like half a liter from each bottle. And so, as the rest of the week went by, I’d stare at these bottles, wanting to dump them all down the drain, but my roommate insisted on keeping them around, “I’ll drink them!” he said.

old soda

And maybe he had a glass the next day, but no more than a glass, because the days passed and I started to keep track of the soda level inside each bottle. Day after day, it wasn’t going down, I told Bill, I was like, “Hey man, we really have to get rid of this soda,” and he was like, “Why? Just leave it there, it doesn’t matter,” but I tried to argue, I was like, “Bill, that stuff’s getting flatter every day, nobody’s ever going to drink it, let’s just dump it, what is it, like three dollars? Come on, you couldn’t pay me three dollars to drink a cup of flat soda.”

But I think I pushed a little too far, now Bill was starting to push back just for the sake of pushing back, which I don’t get, not everything has to be a huge power struggle, but still, he averted his eyes, I think he might have called me a “soda elitist,” which I actually took as a compliment, because yes, when it comes to soft drinks, I think you have to be exacting in your standards. Otherwise why spend money at all on bottled drinks? If you don’t care about the carbonation, you might as well just buy packets of Kool-Aid, it’s significantly cheaper.

We were at a stalemate. I started buying new soda, smaller sized bottles. I’d keep them nice and cold in the fridge. On Wednesday night I ordered some pizzas and asked Bill, “Hey man, help yourself. You want a nice cold Coke to go with that?” It was the Mexican kind, the stuff that comes in the glass “hecho en Mexico” bottles, real sugar, delicious. “Yeah man, that sounds great.” And so I popped one open and extended my arm before laying down, “So, uh, I guess this means we can get rid of those big guys over there, right?”

“Actually,” he recoiled his hand, “That’s a good point. You have the bottle, I’m going to work on those leftovers.” What a jerk. Just admit it when you’re wrong. And he went over to the counter, the bottle had all of these little condensation drops on the inside from having not been opened in so long, when he opened the top, and I was listening, there wasn’t even the slightest sound of any air escaping. That soda had to have been completely flat for a few days now.

But he filled up his glass with ice, I asked him for a glass also, for my fresh Coke, I wanted him to see the bubbles dancing out of the top, when I took that first sip, I made this exaggerated face, like they tickling my nose. “Ahh,” that ridiculous refreshing sound after I took my first sip, to which Bill offered the same thing with his sip, but I could tell by the look on his face that it was gross, he kind of puckered up as he tried to choke it down.

But what came next, it was probably the low point of our friendship. I was like a slice and a half deep into dinner, and I had just taken a huge sip from my drink. While I had the rest of the pizza in my hand, Bill grabbed the two liter bottle and poured the sickly contents of that expired plastic bottle right into my cup, right on top of my good soda. I still had probably more than twenty-five percent of the cup filled with the good stuff, and it was ruined, the rest of my drink spoiled by Bill polluting it with his week-old poison.

I turned my head and said, “Get that shit out of my face,” placing extra emphasis on the word shit, just to really drive home that point, like hey Bill, that was a real dick move buddy, you want to play games with your own soda? Fine. But you’ve totally crossed a line here. And he just kind of smiled at me, “What? Just giving you a little refill,” before taking a huge bite out of his slice, the pizza that I bought for him.

I went into a rage. I grabbed that bottle, I ran to the sink, I started emptying it out down the drain. There were still the other two bottles, and Bill made a move toward the kitchen, like what was he going to do, try and stop me? I grabbed a knife out of the block and stabbed a few holes right in the bottom. “What the hell man? That’s my soda!” he screamed as I placed the leaking bottles from the counter into the kitchen sink.

Bill looked like he was going to make a move, like he was going to push me or something, and so, I don’t know, I guess I was a little more agitated than I thought. I held out the knife still in my hands, like go ahead and try something. Not that I had any intentions of actually stabbing him. The whole situation had steered out of control. And that’s when I screamed out, “Steve!” because while we were fighting in the kitchen, my dog Steve had quietly jumped off the couch and made a move for the pizza. And he got it, it only took him like three or four bites, and he polished off everything.

I can’t stop playing this one game of chess

I never play chess, but apparently neither does my friend Bill, because we’ve been stuck playing this same game for like three hours now. I don’t even know where he found this chess set, probably on the street, it has a distinct yard sale look. It’s one of those crystal chess sets, or fake crystal, whatever, but you know, the kind popularized by the first X-Men movie, when Professor X is playing chess with Magneto, but because he controls metal, he’s in a plastic cell, and everything’s made out of clear plastic.


That was like the go-to Christmas present for everybody’s dad across the country that Christmas. “Look dad! I got you a present!” and the dad’s like, “Gee … thanks son … it’s a chess set. Thanks.” And the kid is so oblivious, so pumped about how cool it looks, he can’t tell his dad’s blatant lack of enthusiasm, “You want to play dad?” and what’s the dad going to say, no? It’s Christmas. “All right, set it up, let’s do it.”

One game of chess, one painfully slow game of chess, during course of which, I’m sure even junior realized his total lack of chess abilities, that just because you know what each piece does doesn’t mean you know how to play. Ten minutes later, the pieces are back in the box. Ten minutes after that, the set is lodged permanently underneath the coffee table, where it sat unused, for years, for over a decade, and that kid doesn’t even live here anymore, he never came back after he left for college.

“Let’s have a yard sale!” from the mom turns into, “Look what I got for only five bucks!” from my friend Bill, and he looked so happy, jeez, he’s not an unhappy guy or anything, but it’s rare to see him this happy, and so I’m scratching my head, “Sure man, set it up, let me know when you’re ready to go.”

And chess, Jesus, I’ve read articles about chess, how the pros spend so much time looking at previous games and mastering moves thought out seven turns ahead, that it’s not even about an individual piece, they’re playing patterns, brainwaves are working at a level that would take me probably the rest of my lifetime to dedicate just to learn how to think that way.

I remember one night while I was in Ecuador, the power went out and, for lack of anything else to do, I spent ten or fifteen minutes just staring at my Internet-less laptop screen, going through the hollow motions of pointing and clicking and opening up folders and there I found it, the built-in chess app. I said to myself, I know how to play chess, I was in the chess club.

Yes, I was in the chess club, but so was everybody else in my school. We had this rule, you had to belong to at least two extracurricular activities every year, and the two default clubs that required practically zero effort whatsoever were chess club and social studies club. Social studies club is a whole different page of crazy, but it more or less amounted to an extra social studies class once a week after school, sitting in a desk and listening to the crazy old social studies teacher get lost in tangents about when the UK and the USA were finally going to merge into the United States of the North Atlantic. Insane stuff.

But he made us sit there the whole time. At least the chess club moderator let us put our names on the sign up sheet before chess club started. So it was basically sign up, sit around and pretend to play chess for a while, and then leave. Chess club.

I wondered if Bill was in chess club also, and he confirmed it, not in anything he said, but by his opening move, he took the castle right from the back and jumped over the front row of pawns. Whatever, I really didn’t feel like prolonging the agony, so I let it slide. The game would have been cool if we at least had those timers, the cool things the pros slam down on when they’re done taking their turns, but we didn’t have anything.

And as we each started accumulated pieces, our attitudes turned surprisingly competitive. No, I don’t think either of us were exactly following the rules, I mean, I didn’t jump any pawns, but I did execute a very questionable castling maneuver, like I know it’s possible, but I just kept assuring Bill, “No, it’s totally legal. That’s exactly how it’s done,” and finally we got down to just two kings, his and mine, pointlessly circling each other around the board.

“What do you say Bill, call it a draw?” and he smiled, “Sure, if you want to forfeit, we can stop playing.”

Of course I wanted to stop playing, these were some of the most boring minutes I had spent all week. But forfeit? To Bill? I would have been hearing about it for years. This guy doesn’t let anything go, the most trivial successes have a way of echoing down the ages, I could see it now, he’d be over my house years from now visiting my family around Christmastime. He’d see the chess set my son bought for me, and he’d throw in, “You know, I used to beat your dad in chess all the time when we were roommates.”

Bullshit. “No way Bill, it’s either a draw, or we keep playing.”

And that’s been it. I feel like I’m being fair here, I’m not demanding Bill gives up. Why is he being so stubborn? Isn’t this boring for him too? How long are we going to keep this up?

Guest Blogger: My friend Bill

I need, like a prescription, man, or something. I’m like so tired all the time. And it’s like, you know, I’m like really tired. I can’t get up on time for work. And my boss is always like, “The next time is going to be the last time, I mean it!” and I’m just like, whatever man, please, just do it already, just like fire me already, come on, just like, yeah just go for it and do it. Maybe I can get some sort of a medication to get me up on time and stuff, you know, one where I hear the alarm clock go off and instead of just beeping over and over again, without waking me up, you know it’s always like that, like I’ll set it for eight, or eight fifteen … no, not or, I set it for both. And eight twenty, and eight twenty five. And I do this thing where I put my phone charger on the other side of the room, and so eight o’clock comes around and it’s like that really aggressive, just really, really … like a really aggressive sound, it’s like, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” over and over again, not saying it like that, it’s an alarm noise, but that’s what it sounds like to me, when it goes off, at first, because, and I think this is where I was starting to get started with all of this, that I need some sort of a medication, just a light dosage, where the alarm goes off, and it would only be one alarm, and I’d be like, “Good morning!” and I’d be up. Instead of what normally happens, which is: alarm goes off. I don’t hear anything. Nothing. I’m just sleeping away. Every once in a while I’ll be having a really good dream, like one of those really good morning dreams, and sometimes if the alarm is going off in the background, that alarm noise, it’ll sort of, you know, like I’ll hear it in the dream, but it won’t be hearing it from the awake world, it’ll be like I’m hearing it in the dream world. I think. That stuff happens on TV all the time. And five minutes goes by then my roommate starts banging on the walls, that guy never works at all, so I don’t know where he gets off, for serious, because it’s like, dude, why don’t you try and get up early in the morning? And then finally he keeps banging, and, like I’m still half asleep, sometimes I won’t even remember doing it, I’ll get out of bed and I’ll walk over to that other side of the room and I’ll take it off the charger and turn that alarm off and put the phone right next to me in bed. So then the next alarm goes off, “Wake u—“ I’m already turning it off. Back to sleep. And the snooze button. And then I wake up later than ever, and I’m running around, I know my boss is going to call me, and I’ll be like, “On my way boss!” but not even, because I don’t want to do that, he’ll know I’m still at home. No, better to just show up, try to act all out of breath, I’ll tell him, “Boss, the subway, it just stopped. You know how it is boss,” and the breathing in and out, really heavy, he’ll know that I ran right in, like right straight from the subway stop, as fast as I could. But if I could just have like one pill, up and at ‘em, and another one, just one to make me go to sleep at night, I swear, sometimes I try to go to bed early and I’m just like, I can’t do it, I feel like I just got home from work, and there’s no way, I can’t, I just … I can’t do it, I can’t just have like a whole day where it’s like, alarm, alarm, alarm, work, bed, alarm, like I need to, you know, I don’t know. I just got to like … I just got like go to a doctor, my roommate does that shit, he’s just like, “Uh … it hurts,” and I don’t even know how much longer he’s going be able to keep pulling this off. He never gets out of bed. Never has to. Just keeps knocking, banging, like turn your alarm off dude, not saying it out loud, but saying it with his banging. But every once in a while, if I’m like really asleep, like really, he’ll be like, “Dude! Shut the fuck off!” which doesn’t even make any sense. Like I get it, but it’s not right, right?

Go ahead, punk

Make my day. Ow! What the hell? You shot me! You didn’t really have to shoot me. I was just saying that line, from the movie, the one with Clint Eastwood. I’ve never even seen it. Jesus Christ. Do I have to go to the hospital now? Am I going to bleed out? This is insane. Why would you shoot me in the forearm?

It hurts so bad. Call me an ambulance. I don’t know, I won’t tell them anything. I won’t. Whatever, was it an accident? Well I guess you should have thought about that before you pulled the trigger. Did you know it was loaded? Holy shit you could have shot me in the stomach, or the head. Seriously, just put it down.

Ow! Again? In the same arm? I think I’m going to bleed out. Quick, give me your shirt. Give me something. Well I don’t understand how safeties work either. Your dad really should have hidden the lockbox, or you shouldn’t have gone for it. When you asked me if I wanted to see your dad’s gun, I said no. Seriously, I meant it. You know why? Because I was afraid you might do something stupid, like shoot me in the arm, twice.

OK, the ambulance is taking forever, are you sure you called? Can you just drive me to the hospital? I’m losing feeling in my arm. You did call the ambulance, right? Come on man, we’ve got to do something. I won’t say a word. Please. Look, your dad’s going to figure this out eventually. Won’t he see the two bullets missing?

I’ve got it, I’ll take the blame. I’ll tell your dad I found his gun box, that I ransacked his room and found the keys to his gun box, that I … I don’t know, I’ll tell him that I started spinning it around on my finger, around the trigger, and that I shot myself in the arm.

OK, call him up, I’ll tell him right now. Yes, hello Mr. Daniels. Yeah, it’s Rob. Look, I was over here hanging out with Bill and, well, I’m really, really sorry, but I found your gun box and I found the keys and I started playing with your gun and I wound up shooting myself in the arm, twice, and Bill won’t take me to the emergency room because he’s worried you guys might get in trouble.

You know, spinning it around, on my finger. No, I guess I don’t know much about safeties. Uh, in your dresser? No, I don’t remember where I found it? Hold on. Bill, your dad asked me where I found the key and now he doesn’t believe me that I shot myself.

Ow! No, Mr. Daniels, that wasn’t a gun, we were just watching a movie on TV, a gun movie. Yeah. No, I’m fine. I mean. Well, can you call an ambulance? I really do think I’m starting to lose a lot of blood. No, you know what? CLICK.

Hello, operator? Yeah, I’ve been shot, twice. In the arm. Bill, stay away man, the call’s already been made. Ow! OK, OK! Operator, what I meant to say is that I found a gun. Ow! OK, I mean, I found these two bullets. Ow! I mean these bullets found me. Ow! Come on, OK, never mind operator, sorry to bother you. CLICK. Jesus Bill, come one, why every time in the same spot? What do you want me to say? Can you just drive me somewhere? I won’t say a word. Come on man, please.