July 20, 2010

Sucking Balls by the Cuyahoga, Part Deux: "Sleep Well, Cleveland"

By Robb Witmer Full  |  July 20, 2010


"This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his 'decision' unlike anything ever 'witnessed' in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment."
-Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert
After his second week of good behavior at the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute, the author has been allowed limited contact with the outside world. His mental state is still listed as "less than stable," though he's been described by his doctors as "reasonably coherent" after his most recent marathon session of controlled electrocution.

The author's attitude has not been cooperative with what the doctors at Forrester call "the process," and his mood has been quite demanding on the staff. The hope everyone has is that he will now direct some of his built-up psychic energy and aimless rage into the letters he is now allowed to write, instead of toward the staff itself.

What follows is a letter written to Robinzon Chavez, the author's editor at America-Thrust. It was hand-written on a series of thirty-six unique post-cards, numbered 1 to 37 (with #9 missing, presumably confiscated by Forrester, or possibly lost in the mail).

Most of the post-cards were of the tourist-town variety; Mr. Chavez's favorite was for Denver, touted on the post-card as "America's Toronto!"



Chavez,

The accommodations at the Forrester are hellish as always. I've tried to explain to the help that shocking the living fuck out of me on twelve-minute intervals has not exactly been improving my condition.

If anything, my violent tendencies are more acute, more focused, more... energized, than they were before. I don't remember having the need to maim people before I came in here, but the only image in my brain anymore is of me running over Dr. Clayton Forrester with a spike-mobile, followed by the burning of his corpse in a raging hay-fire.

Well, you know how all that goes, don't you? Maybe it's not that bad here, at least not all the time. It doesn't help that they have the worst room service of anywhere I've ever stayed, and the food is roughly on par with what you could pick out of the garbage at Del Taco.

But who's complaining? This is all on the America-Thrust dime, no? It's like a vacation, except instead of sitting on a beach, letting the rays soak in, I'm receiving massive doses of electricity and beginning to question my personhood.

My access to the news, or pretty much anything else in the Outside World, has been severely limited. Dr. F theorizes that any contact I have with a newspaper would send me into a vein-popping fury. I can't disagree.

All television is strictly Off-Limits. Even the requested Saved By The Bell reruns were denied. The official explanation is that the electronic signals could interfere with the delicate Shock Therapy Experience... My guess is that Dr. F has a Screech Complex, or some unresolved issues regarding the wardrobe of one Albert Clifford Slater.

The only news story I've been allowed access to is the LeBron James debacle. Every morning, the nurses carefully clip out any LeBron-related story from The USA Today, and gather any pertinent Espn.com print-outs.

Just from those two sources alone I've filled up three five-inch expanding folders of clippings and compiled a full spiral-notebook of jottings and rants. I can't imagine television was any better, with [...]

[ postcard missing ]

[...] or the grip of lunacy that has taken hold of the major sports owners in Cleveland. Randy Lerner went around the bend years ago, largely through no fault of his own, given the pure skull-fuckery of a typical Browns season.

LeBron was the only thing keeping the Cavaliers relevant. Before him, the Cavs were best known for the manner in which they lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls.
"The good news is that the ownership team [...] here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you." [sic]
If he ever wants to get his life back, Gilbert will have to accept the fact that LeBron has already given more to the Cavaliers franchise and the city of Cleveland than either is capable of repaying on any level.
"...this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels."
The use of unnecessary quote-marks is well-known in the Drug Culture as a sure sign of Brain Syphilis, or another similar neurological infection, and Gilbert employs them in spades.

He's probably only in the early stages, but soon he'll be in the same sad boat as Lerner, waiting for the statues outside the stadium to tell him what to do. No small wonder then, that LeBron had zero interest in getting initiated into the Upper Escalon of Cleveland Sports; all the available evidence points to it being curtains for your sanity.

Before long, I'm sure, the story will break of Mike Holmgren's tastes for underage Indonesian hookers and endangered-animal cuisine, but for now we'll have to settle for the late-night, drunken ramblings of Gilbert.

Which are fun, no?
"Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there."
What the fuck? Do you have any idea what he's getting at here, Chavez? This whole thing is at about the maturity level of a ninth-grade break-up, or maybe a night out with you, trolling Pirate's Paradise for cheap drugs and free margaritas.
"The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma."
You would think Cleveland would be used to being shit on by now. Art Modell, John Elway, Jordan... Hell, even Tommy Maddox got a few jabs in.

No one outside of Gilbert's internal monologue could possibly have thought that LeBron was going to stay in Cleveland. This is the NBA; You're not even in the discussion of The Greatest until you have at least four or five rings, and it's not conceivable for that to happen in Cleveland, except for maybe serious users of Voacangine, of which James is not.

If LeBron ends his career with no championships, he's the Dominique Wilkins of the Reality TV Era, a Super-Superstar, but not Great. Even one trophy would only rise him to the ranks of the NBA's Peyton Manning.

Real Sports Fans don't care about stats, ability or potential; Even the number of championships isn't that important. To be Great, you must do Great Things. It's an easy formula, and a single Super Bowl win over the Grossman Bears  or a boring seven-game series over, say, the Suns  isn't going to cut it.

The odds against something Great happening in Cleveland are off the charts. LeBron might be a Gambler, but no one is in a position to take that kind of risk.
"Sleep well, Cleveland."

Robb Witmer Full thinks that America probably has a few Torontos.
@robbwitmer