On Common Interests

I listen to The Dan Le Batard radio show every day on my phone. Around noon my Podcast app refreshes, and I get all 90+ minutes, sans commercials. I’ll plug it into my car and listen as I go to lunch, or when I go for a walk in the afternoon, or while I clean and make dinner after work. Every day, I never miss a listen. I genuinely love these people for making me think, for making me laugh to the point of tears, for giving me a respite from an endless stream of #HotTaeks that come my way every day, whether I’m looking for them or not.

I was thinking about this last night as I listened to the day’s episode. For years, Dan and the guys have read emails, texts, and tweets from people who complain that the show isn’t talking enough sports, not bringing on enough coaches and athletes, or generally doing the exact opposite of what every other sports radio show is doing.

“Real great show, Dan! One of the best NCAA Championship games ever, and your entire guest list today is a damn ZOO KEEPER to talk ANIMALS. [bleep] OFF!”

…forever followed by:

The guys had me rolling last night. YOU DON’T GET THE SHOW is now officially an in real life thing.

“Dan, my seven year old daughter heard me listening to the show and asked me why I would do that. Hit her with a YOU DON’T GET THE SHOW.”

“Dan, was at a stop light when the person in the car next to me heard you guys yelling, ‘GO KILL A DRIFTER! GO KILL A DRIFTER!’ and he looked at me weird. I told him YOU DON’T GET THE SHOW.”

This morning, Awful Announcing ran a glowing piece on “the premier sports radio show going“:

There are plenty of choices in sports radio land. Many are terrible. The search for something informative, entertaining, and different can seem like a hunt for a $2 bill. Your limited choices generally fall into these categories of show that takes itself way too seriously (looking at you, Mike Francesa), show that’s flavorless (looking at you, Mike & Mike) or show with scalding takes simply meant to incite (looking at you, Colin Cowherd).

Sometimes this audial onslaught can make you lose faith in humanity. You’ll want to gouge your eardrums out with a rusty spoon after all the name-calling, unfunny jokes, and manufactured arguments over who/what is to blame for your team’s misfortune.

The Dan Le Batard Show is a respite from this mind-numbing drudgery. Sure, Le Batard is polarizing and delights in being the guy many people despise. But his show is (thankfully) the antithesis of virtually every other sports radio program out there. He is fearless, humorous, and enlightening whether the topic is race, the NCAA’s exploitation of student-athletes, or disagreements with his employer, ESPN.

To me, these 90 minute daily podcasts are the very definition of perfection, provided you’re the type to regularly listen to sports radio or even just like hearing entertaining people say fun and interesting things. But every once in a while I’ll see my intelligent, sports loving sister re-tweet something from the Mike and Mike show, her preferred choice of daily radio, and I’m  reminded of the depressing fact that no one I personally know listens to these geniuses. I’ve tried to get friends and family to tune in, turned on the radio when I’ve been driving and gestured as if to say, “See! These guys are amazing!” only to get blank stares at best, hostile revulsion at worst. They don’t get the show. They don’t love what I love.

There couldn’t be anything less surprising about this sobering fact. No one loves what I love. No one I personally know, that is.


 

This last week a girl I was seeing (hanging out with?) and I decided we were gonna stop doing whatever it was we were doing. She recently got out of a relationship and wasn’t ready for something serious, I’m old as shit (35, she’s 24) and don’t really date around anymore. It was a disappointing, if inevitable conclusion that I saw coming since the first night we got together.


*editor’s note: I fucking loathe Rob and High Fidelity. One of those movies you loved in college and regret now with every fiber of your being as an adult. Chasing Amy and Garden State, looking at you two motherfuckers too.


 

The beauty of social media, and Twitter specifically, are the communities that form. Post enough about any one thing, and you’re gonna end up meeting people online that share your same interests. Eventually you’ll start referring to these communities with proper nouns.

Brewers Twitter
Game of Thrones Twitter
Black Twitter*

Soon you’re getting to know these people, both online and in real life. I’ve been to weddings of folks I got to know only because we both loved the Milwaukee Bucks. I got into a long distance relationship with a girl in Milwaukee because of Wisconsin Cooking Twitter (yes motherfuckers that’s a thing). One of my dearest friends in the world is a woman I only know because three years ago she Fav’d a tweet I wrote about Keith Whitley. I sent her a bunch of books when she was pregnant, she sent me a shit-ton of delicious crawdads.

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.29.41 PM

*I am not a member of Black Twitter but it seems dope

I’m incredibly fond of so many people I’ve met on Twitter. There are some that I would do anything for at the drop of a hat, and we only know each other out of a mutual admiration for Prince music. Prince Twitter, y’all.


I leave people behind. That’s what I do.

I’ve moved, by my count, 24 times in 35 years. When it happens, I don’t keep up with the people I met. When I left high school I never went home to visit a single person. Ditto college. I’ve met some amazing people and had some of the best years of my life with friends I made in my 20s as I’ve bounced around from job to job, town to town, and I don’t even keep up with these people on Facebook anymore.

There are moments when I ask myself whether or not I’m missing out of an essential part of life, those friends you spend your weekends with watching sports or weeknights you get together for playing video games or checking out the latest episode of Mr. Robot. But those people don’t exist anymore for me, outside of nearby family. Once you hit a certain age, the only people you meet are those at bars and those you work with, and I work with people that are hella old.

So I’m on Twitter every waking moment of the day, talking with people I’ve mostly never met, bonding over our mutual love for stuff that a lot of people probably believe  doesn’t matter.

And I love it.


One night a couple weeks ago the recent girl and I got back to my place. She sat down on my couch and noticed Twitter on my open laptop. She knew that it was a thing I was into, one because I was always on it, and two because I told her. I didn’t tell her why specifically, because who gives a shit. But she made a comment and gave me a look that was essentially, “Really? Twitter?”. This is the reaction I get from 98% of the people I know in real life (shouts to Eliza, Adam and Beck). I’ve tried over the years to explain to friends and family how amazing it is to get instantly breaking news, how much more aware you are of the world you live in, how fewer baby photos you’re forced to see than on Facebook.

It doesn’t work, and I wasn’t surprised that night that she thought my interest in it was stupid. She checked out during an episode of You’re the Worst, talked through The Usual Suspects, and when she wanted to play me music she played Bieber and Florida Georgia Line.

Nobody loves what I love, but especially when they’re 24 years old.


A day after I told this girl that I was checking out of whatever it was we were doing, I was depressed. More so than I usually am, as someone who’s been diagnosed with clinical depression. I took two days to be self-destructive, drank more than I should have, and slept a lot less. Despite knowing almost immediately that it wasn’t going to work, there’s still always going to be that sliver of hope when you meet someone new that they’re going to be one who loves you and all your weird shit. She wasn’t going to be that, and it stung, because she really is a fantastic person. But some differences are way too much to overcome.

Three days later I was over it. Five days later I’m happy to have known her and she isn’t on my mind.


I hold out hope. Not just for meeting that person, but for people in general. I know that there are folks out there who live and die by who the Bucks draft and sign in free agency, who get disturbingly excited for Shane Black films, and would rather spend a night sipping whiskey by a campfire than going to the trendy bar with hundreds of people. If you got this link from Twitter, there’s a chance it’s you.

Hopefully we’ll meet one day. Life’s too short not to share our weird shit together.

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