Jeff Pearlman

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Nobody understands my obsession over a bottle

Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 4.46.09 PM

So this is a weird one.

About a week ago I was walking my dog Norma through the neighborhood, and she led me to a spot in between two houses where she likes to piss and poop. Norms was sniffing around, doing her dog-dance-before-excreting thing, and as this was going down I spotted an empty beer bottle nestled alongside some weeds.

Now, I’m a guy who always (nearly without fail) picks up garbage when I see it. I don’t care if it’s in front of my house or on a messy street in San Diego—I like the idea of people keeping the earth clean, even down to the small stuff. So I bent down, grabbed the bottle, prepared to chuck it into a recycling bin. It was pretty nasty. Not coated in dirt, but definitely stained like an object that’d been there a while. So I walked and walked and walked and walked, bottle in hand.

Then, for some odd reason, it hit me: I’m gonna paint this bottle and make it nice.

That’s what I did.

“Nice” is certainly a stretch. I’m neither artistic nor swift with brush. But sometimes I just find it so interestingly random to take an object—placed in a space for some unknown reason—and transform its future. The bottle was headed to the bin. Now it’s on my stovetop, confusing wife and children. I’ve tried explaining it: Life can be quirky, so be quirky. People say the Nets have a 1×1 million chance of winning the NBA title. Well, what were the odds this bottle would wind up painted and in our house? On and on.

Maybe I’m just a weird bird with a bottle.

I’m OK with that.

  • nrwillick

    Love it.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life