[23 April 2003]
“During the Samuel Johnson days they had big men enjoying small talk; today we have small men enjoying big talk.”
A book for jocks or wanna’ be jocks who last read a book in the eighth grade, something for a book report, perhaps an illustrated classic. If this book is brutally honest, if Wells is “baseball’s most beloved badass”, I’m beginning to understand the demise of the sport and the lag in ticket sales. Wells’ book deserves to be on the New York Times Bestseller list, right along with Danielle Steele. The romance he has with baseball and stardom, combined with a life story that reads like pulp fiction, may sell millions of copies.
Wells is the quintessential pop sports icon—a brawling, abusive, chauvinistic whiner. He’ll make a bundle from this book because it reads like all the other psychobabble self-awareness autobiographies flooding the market. I was in pain, so I had to take drugs so I could fulfill my lifelong dream of making millions of dollars playing baseball. I was helpless to my painkiller addiction. Taking painkillers also allowed me to misbehave outrageously and now I must be excused for my raucous behavior. I didn’t mean it, guys, even though I had a hell of a good time and hurt a lot of people in the process—but since I did it, I will write a book about it and cash in on it.
Wells trashes Southerners, women, coaches, doctors and anyone who ever disagreed with him. But he does it all for the love of the sport, even if he does call the fans “mouth-breathers”, “morons” and “wool-hat-wankers”. Toronto fans get the brunt of his wit when he describes them as “silent, surly, cluelessly negative” and says he’d rather “play for hell” than the Jays. Bobby Valentine, of the Mets, is a “dick” whose reputation is one of an “arrogant, and obnoxious” backstabber with a list of former Mets who hate him that’s longer than your arm.
The wisdom of Boomer, some words to live by:
“I talk a lot of shit, but I always back it up.”
“From the time I was ten years old, my only dream (except for the one about me and all three of Charlie’s Angels in a Budweiser-filled hot tub), has been to make it as a major leaguer.”
“Here amid the southern belles and slack-jawed local of Kinston [North Carolina], I practically jumped a the chance to cohabitate with the maniac.”
Referring to Marge Schott, of the Cincinnati Reds: “It drove that woman nuts to think that her players might actually have normal (and/or not-so-normal) adult sexual relations outside the confines of marriage. To me, the woman always just seemed ten pounds of cuckoo in a four-pound clock.”
“We go toe-to-toe, and I end up just beating the shit out of him, breaking my hand in the process. We left those guys lying and headed back toward the bar and my car. As we’re leaving, one of the guys shouts, “Your keys are under your car seat, asshole! We hid them as a joke!”
“Don’t let the standard politically correct sports clichés fool you. We players are always aware of the milestones in front of us, and we really do bust ass to reach ‘em. ‘it’s really just about the team,’ we’ll lie to the guys from ESPN. ‘I never even thought about the record.’ Don’t believe us.”
Upon receiving a cortisone injection in his toe: “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a six-foot-two, 270-pound man scream like a six-year-old girl, but it’s a sight to behold, let me tell you. All I can do now is gobble more medication and hope for the best.”
David Wells’s Perfect I’m Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches, and Baseball—the ultimate pop culture experience. It combines all the trashy, hyped, celebrity/athlete badboy, “look-at-me-mommy, I’m misbehaving and you can’t stop me” elements that ensure millions of bucks for the perpetrator. It will no doubt be a hit movie someday. And—Wells is perfect as he tells readers how the media portrays athletes. Rowdy and uncontrollable if their lives are public; moody assholes if they don’t share every intimate detail of their daily routine. America—you get what you asked for, eh?
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/perfect-im-not/