The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 77
If you are going to test the depth of my capacity for empathy, bring a ruler, not a yardstick. Sorry. It comes from the innocent, enchanted days of my adolescence. Or my homeless days. Or my basketball days. It comes from something Laker coach Phil Jackson told Laker forward Robert Horry mid fourth quarter in a deciding playoff game against Portland, circa 2000.
L.A. was getting killed, down by 15, mainly due to Horry’s inability to handle Rasheed Wallace down low. Jackson said: “You’re guarding him with your upper body and hands, arms. He can out maneuver you. He can out jump you. Guard him with your hips. Bang him out of position with your hips.”
L.A. came back to win the game. And that particular strategy dramatically altered Horry’s defensive career forever.
Didn’t make him any less of an asshole. The Lakers of that era were all assholes. And Jackson, during his playing days with New York, was the dirtiest motherfucker the game’s ever known.
Point is, one could say that coach’s empathy for player that night was transformed into meaningful advise, which was further transformed into action. Take that interplay off the court, however, and rarely are similar results achieved.
So, from my usual hangout under the streetlamp, 3AM, all the bars in town shut down for the night, she walks out of the fog, sticks a high heel on the curb and looks me in the eye. “Listen, sweetheart,” I tell her, “you posted that sad self portrait because you want people to believe you’re just like they are.”
She tries to slap me but I grab her wrist just in time.
“Cut the crap, sister. Let me talk to the ghost.”
She jerks free, bolts.
I follow, find a broken left shoe, no dame.