A few moments ago I dialed a phone number I have for Rick Kane, the former Detroit Lions running back who played in the NFL from 1977 through 1985. I wanted to speak to him for my book project.
When you're a not-quite-fit-for-print columnist, you don't write books. Straight projects, homey.
“Hello …” the woman said.
“Yes, I was trying to reach Rick Kane.”
“I’m trying to reach Rick Kane, the former running back for the Lions …”Jeff Pearlman's flare for dialogue makes Dan Brown cry at his own raging inadequacy.
A lengthy pause.
“That’s my husband … (Tears, followed by a tone of angry disbelief) he died Christmas day.”
I didn’t know what to say.
You could have started by identifying yourself as a journalist, which is only, like, the first thing they ever teach you on the first day of intro to journalism. Even at UDel.
“I’m so sorry,” I uttered. “M’am, I had no …”
Let's get something straight: this is something that happens to basically everyone at some point in life. And not to diminish the pain that Rick Kane's widow is experiencing, but for Jeff Pearlman to characterize Mrs. Kane's tone as "angry disbelief" requires a suspension of angry disbelief. Have you ever had a parent or spouse die? Do you know someone who has? Since pretty much everyone dies at some point, you probably fit into one of these categories.
I had a friend in high school whose father died, and he always said that the toughest ongoing part of if for him was answering calls like that, but at the same time, he could never fault the caller for not knowing that his dad was dead. Realistically, how can you?
Really, Jeff shouldn't feel bad about this. I mean, how was he supposed to know?
Had I taken eight seconds to look at his Wikipedia page beforehand, I would have known.
Yeah, I guess there is that. Two instances of dreadfully shoddy journalism in one ten-second phone conversation. This is why you're my muse, Jeff Pearlman.