How my best friend wound up on the 10 o’clock news spreading malicious lies about the decor of my bedchamber is a matter I’m still trying to understand. I mean, I know how it happened; it just doesn’t make any sense.
The imbroglio started with an e-mail. Subject line: “NBA All-Star Shawn Marion Exclusive Pool Party Invite!” Click, open: “NBA All-Star Shawn Marion of the Dallas Mavericks will be hosting an exclusive summer pool party at his home this Saturday, July 17, 2010. DJ Grail will be spinning from Noon to 6PM! Come and join us, there will be drinks, food and fun! Early arrival is strongly suggested as we will get to capacity quickly! 21 and older please, ID’s will be checked at the door.” The exclamation points, not to mention the run-on sentences, troubled me. Nor did it escape my attention that the e-mail was addressed to “Hey There!”
I replied to the publicist: “You’ll forgive me. But how ‘exclusive’ is this party if I’m receiving an e-mail invitation to it? I must confess that I don’t know Shawn. Though I really am flattered to have been invited to his house.” The woman told me she had been given an invite list and had no idea how it had been composed. But my name was upon it.
Sometimes I guess I lose sight of the fact that I’m a total badass. Giddyap.
My idea was, I’d approach Shawn Marion’s pool party as if it were an actual pool party—working on the obvious assumption that when an NBA star throws a “pool party,” it’s really an upscale orgy with a natatorial theme (i.e., no one actually gets in the pool). Thus did I arrive at Shawn Marion’s North Dallas manse, at noon sharp as strongly suggested, wearing swim trunks and carrying a pool bag stuffed with my favorite Teletubbies towel and lotions of varying SPFs.
The backyard was dotted with large Red Bull umbrellas at stand-up tables. Near a porch, an even larger Red Bull umbrella shaded a bar. Palm trees overlooked a modest black-bottom pool bordered on one side by a fountain that spilled into it. A beach ball floated on still water.
I was the sole guest. Just me and four Red Bull girls and the DJ setting up his equipment. And, of course, Shawn Marion, aka the Matrix. He was wearing what looked like a hand towel tied around his head as he schlepped party supplies. His publicist introduced us. The Matrix put down a bag of ice to shake my hand, and I said the only thing I could think of: “You need any help setting up?”
I spent the next four hours standing at the bar, sweating, drinking Hennessy Black, trying to figure out exactly what the hell was going on. Eventually, other guests did arrive—but only a couple dozen or so. They came in groups of twos and threes and didn’t seem to know each other. Pretty much everybody but me swam. The first guy in the water was whiter and softer than I, and he had a tattoo of a dragon on his arm. People shot each other with Super Soakers bought for the party (I had helped unbox them while waiting for people to arrive). Every so often, the Matrix would stroll by and say something to me that I couldn’t make out because the music was so loud (nearly every song, with the notable exception of the Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight,” played at my request, was sprinkled liberally with the N-word, which made me nervous). So I’d just give the Matrix an all-purpose laugh and say, “Right on, man!” We bumped fists once.
As far as I could tell, the pool party was actually a pool party—and a pretty laid-back one at that. The Matrix even ordered pizza, enough that every guest could have an entire pie to himself.
Shortly before I decamped, a photographer asked to take a picture of me and the Matrix. And here is where my best friend figures into this mess. On that day, I was wearing an odd t-shirt he’d made for me as a gag apropos of nothing. Above a picture of NBC Channel 5 weatherman David Finfrock, the shirt says: Finfrock!
Which brings us to the conclusion of this strange story. The folks at NBC saw the picture of me and the Matrix online, and they wanted to know where I’d gotten the shirt. Next thing I know, the station is running a story on its 10 o’clock newscast about “the latest t-shirt craze” in which my friend—whom I’ll call Mr. J, because I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing his name in print—informs viewers, “He has a fascination with David Finfrock bordering on—it is creepy. It’s not bordering on; it’s gone over the border to creepy. And so I thought Tim Rogers would really love a Finfrock shirt to go along with his David Finfrock bedsheets and pillowcases and his Finfrock posters.”
And now, as I review these words, I realize that I’ve failed you, dear reader. Because in trying to explain how this terrible thing happened, I’ve only made the story more confusing. It’s like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma sponsored by Red Bull.
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