Favorite Westbrook story

After last weekend’s tragedies, I was planning to write about guns and my opinions on gun rights this week.

But I tell ya what, it’s a hard time to try to share an opinion in America. I understand that none of you care what I think on that topic, but it’s really sad that you can’t even have a discussion on anything semi-political without the immediate butwhatabouts or youdrankthekoolaids. Why can’t we have a conversation (or even a disagreement) without it immediately turning into name calling or ridiculous statements that end the dialogue? Yes, there is more to the issue than just the guns. Obviously, but does that mean we can’t also talk about the guns? Yes, Trump does some stupid stuff. Obviously, but does that mean every single issue is 100% his fault? It’s incredibly frustrating, especially for someone who doesn’t identify with either major party.

Eventually I might decide to weigh in on this topic anyway, since it’s my blog and you are under a court order to read it every week. But for now I thought it a good time to revisit my favorite Russell Westbrook poker story, since it’s highly possible I will never play with him again. Even though this happened more than four years ago, it still gets referenced every once in awhile. In fact, just last week Chad mentioned being worried about making the same mistake I did that night.

I’m also going to include the cracked windshield story that appeared in my original blog post about it, because I had completely forgotten about that part of the story and it still made me laugh today.

——

Once upon a time I had a cracked windshield.

To fix that problem, I called Safelite, which has a catchy commercial jingle that is obviously way more important than actual competence. They were nice on the phone and I scheduled the windshield replacement for Thursday, July 9, at 1 p.m.
However, on July 3 Missy’s sister Terri went into labor a tish early, and Missy already had planned to fly up to New Jersey to spend some time with her. So Missy moved her flight up to spend the week with Terri, leaving me home alone with the kid and needing to reschedule the windshield appointment. No problem, I call Safelite and they give me several other times, including 1 p.m. on July 16, exactly a week after the original appointment. That seemed pretty convenient so I booked it.
Everything went great with Missy gone. The kids had McDonald’s and Mountain Dew every day and went to bed at midnight. On Wednesday I’m waking up to get the kids around when my phone rings. It’s Safelite calling to confirm my appointment for the next day, July 9. I tell the guy that I have already rescheduled that appointment for July 16. He doesn’t say a word, just lets out the most exasperated deep and audible sigh that I have ever heard in my life. I hear some computer keys clicking and another one of these sighs, which are similar to the ones I have when I look across the room and see Maddux dumping a cup of milk all over the couch but know it’s too late to do anything to stop it.
I’m just sitting there listening to these click-sighs for about 30 seconds before he says, “We don’t have an opening on July 16.” I tell him I already talked to someone several days ago and it should be booked. He starts in on another round of clicking and sighing, sounding just like I sound when I look across the room and see Myra coloring directly on the kitchen table but know it’s too late to do anything about it. Finally he says, “Nope, we’re all booked up on the 16th, and your name’s not on here.”
Then he mumbles something about, “Let me check here…” and starts the clicking and typing. After about a minute of that I finally say, “It’s fine, we can do it another day. It doesn’t have to be the 16th. But I can’t do it tomorrow so just tell me what you do have open and we will reschedule this.”
Now he takes it up a notch, with the loudest sigh in the history of the universe, even louder than the time I walked into Addie’s play room and saw that she had taken the real maple syrup from our pantry and dumped the whole thing all over her play kitchen. He keeps clicking and sighing and doesn’t say anything at all, so finally I say, “Look dude I’m sorry but I have to get my kids up and around. Just call me back later and we can reschedule the thing, I’m pretty flexible.”
After a few more clicks and sighs, he says, “We can do July 20 at 4 p.m.” I have no idea what day of the week July 20 is or what we might have going on but I say, “That’s perfect,” and get off the phone.
The next day I wake up to see I have a missed call from Safelite. (Who calls people at 7 a.m.?) and a voicemail that says they have a question for me. So I call back and talk to a young lady who says, “We were just calling to let you know we have an opening next week if you want to bring you car in.” I ask when it is and she says…(drumroll please)….July 16th, at 1 p.m. I inform her that I briefly held that exact appointment time but was booted out of it by a guy who was sighing like I do every time my kids fight over a free Happy Meal toy when they have hundreds of dollars worth of better toys in their rooms. She didn’t seem too interested in my story and got off the phone with me as fast as I did with the Sigh Guy.

P.S. my windshield did in fact get fixed that day, and since then I now have one additional child. Hawk makes me sigh like the Safelite guy when he sneaks into the pantry and I find 12 empty candy wrappers and a huge smile on his face.

——

What does that story have to do with Russell Westbrook? Well, the reason I need a new windshield is because I was texting and driving in a parking lot and ran right over him. Smacked his head right on my windshield and broke it. He’ll probably never play basketball again. Gotcha! That didn’t really happen.

But I really did get the Russell Westbrook stink face and live to tell about it. While Missy was gone, my mom agreed to come watch the kids one day so I could play poker. It just so happened that Russell Westbrook was in the mood to play poker that day and it just so happened that I ended up playing at his table. I’ve gotten to play with RWB maybe 10 or 12 times over the years, and he’s a cool enough guy to be around. He’ll answer questions about where his favorite places to travel are or what his opinion is of infamous referee Joey Crawford. About the only thing he won’t do is take a picture with you, and I can respect that. He makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t want his picture taken in the casino. Westbrook is my mom’s favorite player, so since she was watching my kids I texted her and told her that I was playing poker with her favorite basketball player. The first thing she says is, “take a picture and send it to me.” I said no, he doesn’t like his picture taken. She says, “Just tell him it’s for your dear old mother and he is her favorite player in the world.”

I didn’t want to get into a back-and-forth with her about it so I figured I’d just sneak a quick picture when he wasn’t looking and send it to her. He was only two seats away from me so I had to be in stealth mode but at the same time it wouldn’t look totally awkward like it would if I was on the other end of the table and trying to lean around to point my phone at him. I made sure my phone was on silent so it wouldn’t make a loud clicking sound and then I snapped the thing. What I didn’t realize was that for the first time in 5 years of owning this phone I somehow had the flash on and it was pretty daggone bright and directly in his eyes.

As soon as I saw the flash I jerked the phone down and pretended to type on the phone as if I was texting someone and the flash just accidentally went off and/or had nothing to do with me taking a picture of Russell Westbrook. I saw his head snap over in my direction and he was giving me pretty much the exact same look he is giving in this gif.

I felt like the biggest idiot in the world and just kept my head down pretending to type. I may have soiled myself. Luckily, I’ve played with RWB enough that he knows me and likes me. Regardless, he didn’t say anything (and I’ve heard him call out other people for picture snapping at the table) and we interacted normally the rest of the night. I never mentioned my mom or admitted to anything. I just wanted it to go away. I went ahead and sent the picture to my mom. Ironically, the picture is quite blurry because I jerked the phone down as soon as the flash started going off. She texted back and said the pic was too blurry and I needed to take another one. I said there’s no way I’m pointing my phone in his direction the rest of the night. And I didn’t.

P.S. I played with Russ several times after this and he obviously didn’t care about it. In fact, he liked when I had the mohawk haircut, especially when I told him I did it in honor of naming my youngest son Hawk. We got to talking about our kids and he would always ask me how they were doing as soon as he sat down at the poker table. I’ll be rooting for him in Houston.

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