10/26/2004: According to Doctor Science ("He knows more than you do!")....
today is the birthday of Bobby Knight, legendary college basketball coach and serial hothead. And that reminds me of my own near brush with fame at the hands of Knight....
Once upon a time (well, not as long as I'd like to think, but before my residence in Memphis began) I was in a long distance relationship with a woman who was finishing her bachelor's degree at Indiana University in Bloomington (no, I'm not studly enough to attract a woman in her early-20's; she was a middle aged woman who'd gone back to school to get her degree), and I'd regularly drive from St. Louis on Friday afternoons to spend weekends with her. One weekend, we decided to go to an Italian restaurant in Bloomington (a damned good one, if memory serves me correctly), and it was crowded. In the crowd, I almost ran (very hard) into a white haired man who glared evilly at me as he passed by.
My inamorata looked at me in what looked like close-to-shock. "Do you know who that was?" she asked.
"No," I replied.
"That was Bobby Knight."
It's always been one of the bigger regrets of my life that I wasn't able to answer her, "Bobby who?" While my ignorance of NCAA basketball (to my mind, "March madness" isn't a marketing phrase, it's a damned accurate description, and I try my best to keep my mind completely devoid of any information about The Big Dance and the season leading up to it) is such that if it was just basketball knowledge that was at issue, I might have pulled it off; unfortunately, as an ex-criminal lawyer, I do have a tendency to notice high profile assault cases (and the associated civil suits for personal injury), and in that context the name of Bobby Knight was all too painfully familiar to me.
My other occasional regret is purely mercenary; had I actually knocked into Knight, there's a good chance that he'd have beaten me up right there in the restaurant (and at least a fair chance that he'd have beaten me into a pulp with one of the chairs there). If that had happened, I'd have traded my "good looks" (well, not really, but by the time my lawyer got through at trial the jury would believe Brad Pitt had been The Second Coming Of Len Cleavelin, which is good enough for me) for financial security for the rest of my life. Or at least into advanced middle age.
There are days I think that would have been an excellent deal, and in those moods I'm sorry the confrontation never took placed.
*sigh* One always regrets those missed opportunities.
Len on 10.26.04 @ 06:02 PM CST