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“Those Rackets Were Paid For”

Roger Federer US OpenI have no idea what this means, but here’s how it went:

For some reason I was hanging out at this weird hotel/restaurant/airport hybrid place — a kind of all-purpose building that existed to serve travel-related needs. There was a large conveyor belt running right through the middle of it that carried miscellaneous items from point A to point B. Mostly it was luggage, but often it was tools (drills, jigsaws, etc — mostly Black & Decker).

There was a man assigned to a post near this conveyor belt, and his job was to place a swath of tape on any exposed sharp points or edges that came by on the belt. Meaning, he’d tape up the end of the drill, the blade of the saw, and whatever else might be perceived as a hazard.

Well, for some reason he had abandonded his post and I decided that, in the interest of safety, I’d go ahead and start taping up the edges for him. It was more complicated than you’d think, but eventually I got the hang of it. I found myself thinking “you know what, I could get used to work like this.”

After awhile the belt slowed down and I started talking to my girlfriend. Then all of a sudden, Roger Federer’s tennis rackets came through. They weren’t in bags or labeled or anything, just sitting there on the belt. I knew they were his because they were the same model you can buy at Target — the one with his website address on it (Chris has one).

I got real stoked and went over and tentatively picked one up. I thought about stealing it, but really I just wanted to see what it was like (it was real light). Then I look up into the lobby of the building and Roger is standing there with Andy Roddick and some chick. My girlfriend says “you have to go get his autograph!”

Before I can decide on the wisdom of that approach, he sees me and comes outside (Roddick and the chick bailed out). I’m like “Wow, man, it’s great to meet you. I’m a big fan of…”

He says “Yeah, whatever. What’re you doing with my racket?”

I say “Oh, I wasn’t going to steal it, I just wanted to…”

He takes the racket and says “Those rackets were paid for.”

I woke up wondering if they were the same rackets he used in his comeback win over Feliciano Lopez last night, which I watched and which sets up a quarterfinal match against the aforementioned Andy Roddick.

And what did he mean by “those rackets were paid for?”

12 comments to “Those Rackets Were Paid For”

  • Chris

    I got minez @ Kmart, actually.

    And I’d like to think the Swiss Morrissey would be more gracious IRL.

  • I was in the Dallas airport back in the late 1980’s when I was traveling with the soccer team and we were sitting in the concourse getting ready to board a flight to somewhere when a commotion took place and lo and behold, there’s Sting and a bunch of promoter types hovering around him…

    The place settles down and I sort of bashfully walk over and say, “Hey, Sting…I love your new CD, ‘Dream of the Blue Turtles’ and he looks me square in the eye and says, “yeah, and what do you fucking know about music, anyway?”

    Uh, I know you’re an asshole, Gordon.

    I didn’t say that, but I should have.

    That WAS a great CD though.

  • Chris

    Damn, “Love is the Seventh Wave” aside, you shouldn’t have let him get away with that. You shoulda told him Stewart Copeland was the real driving creative force behind the Police, that woulda gotten his stupid goat.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Or you could have stuck your middle finger in a bottle of Coke, stuck it up in the air and said:

    “Hey look asshole, it’s a message in a bottle”.

  • Chris

    or “I’ve got a moon you can walk on.” and then expose your bare buttocks in his general direction. i dunno, maybe that was a reach.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    How about “what kind of over-reaching prick actually references the Scylla and Charybdis in his lyrics”?

  • dan the man

    Apparently Paul Simon is a douche, too. One of my former drum teachers said he played with him once. Simon wouldn’t allow anyone to look at him during rehearsals, so my teacher made it a point to stare him in the face and even bump him with his shoulder passing him in the hall. How can these guys write such inspiring music and be such dicks?

  • neal s

    @ Chris:

    The problem with that approach is that if you use “walking on the moon” you run the risk of infringing on Nestor’s intellectual property rights.

    This morning you read the Sun, you’ve just heard the Moon.


    (sorry, Drew — couldn’t help it)

  • neal s

    Outside of that, I’ve been pretty lucky in my meetings with “celebrities”. The guys from the Strokes are awesome, and so is Pharell Williams. Bucky Lasek was about as cool as anyone could be, and I had the distinct pleasure of having beers with Merle Haggard on his tour bus. That man knows what’s up.

  • dan the man

    Merle Haggard! That’s hilarious.

    I was backstage with NOFX once. Not a huge fan, but my buddies had passes. Anyway… Fat Mike, the lead singer (and nasty bassist), is a complete alcoholic punk-rocker idiot. If you know about NOFX and haven’t met the guy, well, he’s exactly how you thought he was. And pushing 40, if not mid-40s. He was in his pajamas drunk as shit whining about having no coke. During the show, the straight-laced drummer kept calling him over to yell at him and tell him to shut up in between songs. Great stuff all around.

  • neal s

    Man, he’s not even hilarious. He’s amazing. A true legend in every sense of the word. The fact that he’s also a cool individual is just icing on the cake (if I may indulge a cliche).