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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12-- Pondering if I was an A-hole

So I'm bored out of my mind sitting in the juror's lounge at 500 Indiana Ave. Yes, the District of Columbia feels I am uniquely qualified to determine the guilt or innocence of one criminal.. Yes I'm prejudiced, I'd rather be in Ashburn, but hey, who am I to complain about civic duty..

It got me thinking about about an incident that happened over the weekend that has been bothering me for 4 days now.. Please tell me, was I an asshole?

So I go to Laurel Park with my friend Saul and my Father Milton.. Dad has always been into horse racing, it's one thing we indeed have in common, so every so often when I get a free afternoon we tell my Mom we are going to lunch and head to the track. She's onto us, but it's fun to lie..
At Laurel, there is a closed off section called Tycoons that has two walls of televisions, table service and three private betting windows.. For 3 bucks, you can be a VIP. For 3 bucks I pull Brad Pitt. So we grab a table, order some food start placing some wagers on every track in the country and lose ourselves in the inexact science of handicapping.

My father meantime is as gregarious as they come. If you are a human, he talks to you. And he doesn't care what you think. He has an inate talent of saying something remarkably innappropriate to a stranger without alarming that person. Example: He'll ask a 14 year old girl he's never met if he can sit on her lap. He's not really going to do it even if for some outlandish reason she agrees and she seems to inately know this. He'll ask a Chinese waitress if she has change for a nickel so he can leave her a tip. And so on..

Most of the time, he just tells strangers his life story, in turn, he's that guy who knows the bank teller, the gas station mechanic, the cashier behind the bullet proof glass at the greasy spoon that he suggests is the home to the best steak and cheese in the area.
And in turn, they know me, Bram Weinstein, Redskins beat reporter. I'm proud that he's proud of me so I don't mind being asked by the cashier I've never met how Jason Campbell will do this season. The conversation typically starts with Milton saying, "This is my son, the one I told you about." It's nice.. Weird, but nice..

So as you might imagine, my Dad has made friends with the guys tellers at the track. The conversation goes something like this, "Belmont, race 5, I'll take a $1 Trifecta wheel, 6 with the 2, 8, 9, 10 with the 1,2,3,7,8,9,10, hey did I tell you about my son Bram who covers the Washington Redskins. Give me two more tickets like that one except have all those other numbers over the 6. Bram thinks the Redskins have a shot to make the playoffs because their defense is faster. Ooh, and Laurel Park race 2, 2 exacta box, 1,3,5,6,7,9.. OK Dave thanks.."

So when "Dave" is introduced to me, he knows who I am and what I do.. Thus what happened over the weekend left me in a hairy predicament..

While seated at the table with my Father and Saul, a large man who introduced himself as "Dominic" came over to the table and asked which one of us "works with the Redskins." I raised my hand, he reached to shake it. I obliged. He cotninues without pause, "I am a huge Redskins fan."
Me: "Great."
Him: "You know who else is a huge Redskins Fan?"
Me: "No."
Him: "That woman (pointing to a woman at a table across the room) in the polka dot dress. She's a huge Redskins fan."
Me: "Sounds like you two have somehting in common."
Him: "Would you come over to the table and say Hello to her?"
Me: "OK.."

Whoops.. Big mistake. By no means do I intend to come off as a blowhard here, but I do have a public job and I don't mind talking to strangers, if for nothing else, the material. Plus, I like talking about the Redskins. If someone listens to my reports or radio shows or the games, I'm happy to spend a few minutes with them. But you never promise a meeting if you aren't intending to do so because I don't want to be perceived as some jackass who thinks his stuff don't stink. But upon review of the conversation, I didn't think I owed Dominic what I promised.

Here's the issue, Dominic didn't know who I was. If he did, he certainly didn't lead on otherwsie. All he knew was Dave told him someone at a particular table had some form of proximity to the Redskins. Dominic never said "Are you the guy on the radio?" He just asked if I worked with the Redskins. For all he knew, I mopped the floors at Redskins park. Or I could be the punter. Or I could be Dan Snyder. I was in Tycoons after all.. Bottom line, he had no clue who I was. So now I am supposed to go talk to his lady friend about, um, what?
How does this conversation go, "Hi, Dominic asked me to come over to talk to you because you are a Redskins fan and I work with the Redskins." An reasonable response would be, "uh, ok."

Because I agreed to greet her though, I felt obligated and for the next 15 minutes or so, I noticed Dominic staring at me from across the room waiting in anticipation for my arrival. Meantime, Pops and I have bets all over the place, we're glued to the screens..

The more time that went by, the more I felt Dominic's stare turn steely. But the discussion of whether I had to meet this person became the in between race topic of discussion at the table. Did I owe Dominic something? Did I owe Dave the common courtesy of talking to a stranger because he was the one who clued him into the fact that I have a cool job (even if the guy didn't know what it was)? And if I owed Dave that courtesy then I certainly owed my father this gesture consideirng he was the one who proudly told Dave about me in the first place.. The last thing I want to do is have people think "Hey that Milton is great, but his son is an asshole."

So, I ask this, should I have talked to the polka dot dress woman?


Blogger Arlington said...

Yes, since you said you would. You didn't need to say that you would.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Bucktown Skins Fan said...

I'm with Arlington on this one. If you said you would, you should feel obligated. Don't agree to do something if you're not going to follow through.

You pulled an a-hole move, but it doesn't necessarily mean you are on. It happens sometimes. Don't say yes next time, or follow through on your word, and you'll be cured.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Bucktown Skins Fan said...

Also, keep up the great work. I definitely appreciate it.


8:48 AM  
Blogger Geoff said...

Agree that once you said yes there was a certain obligation to go say "hi" but it also warrants mentioning that it's a bit of an imposition to ask someone to leave their seat, go up to a total stranger and then initiate a conversation. The woman in question could have easily approached you if she really wanted to chat. This whole thing is more about "Dominic's" ego--wanted to appear like a big timer to his female companion by getting some donkey who "works for the Redskins" to come say "hi" all by his doing.

Long story short: don't lose sleep over it, and, next time say "Sure I'll talk to her--tell her to come over here--we just laid a bunch of bets."

8:58 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

i would say that it probably would have been a good idea to go say hi. you could have easily slipped away quickly if you said something like "hey, i'm spending time with my father so I need to get back, but it was a pleasure to meet you."

the benefit is that they didn't know who you are so both your reputation and that of your employer are not tarnished.

i understand why you didn't go over there, but since you asked: yes, you probably should have.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Dustin M. Czarny said...

Why is no one asking the obvious questioon:

Was she pretty?

Seriously if you said you would, you probably should have. No big deal IMO, definitely not risign to the level of A-hole, but you probably should have spent 1 minute to at least go over and say hi.

10:47 AM  
Blogger pohocker said...

I wouldn't say "A-hole", but I might say "jerk."
Once you said yes, you were obligated to go. By not going, you've perhaps embarrassed your Dad & his connections around the track, not to mention reflected badly on the organization. We all know that they need no help screwing themselves in the public's eyes.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Covering The Redskins said...

I knew it.. Crap.. When people approach me I typically will chat it up but this one got weird..

To answer the important question, no she was not what I would deem attractive, she was an amazon but I guess I could have helped Dominic get laid..

You live and learn..

11:14 AM  
Blogger gabe said...

yes and no. I think you kind of went back on your word, but to be honest I might have down the same thing.

I wouldn't have hurt to go over and say, "hey Dominic said your a big fan, well I cover the skins for a living, who's your favorite redskin? or "how long have you been a fan?" and that's it.

tough call. I can picture my mom, who is a huge fan, she would have loved to speak with you and ask what is Riggo like, or have you ever spoken to Art Monk ..etc.

I'll admit, that is a tough call.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

yes your a butthead, loser.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Covering The Redskins said...

Gabe- Tell your Mom I said Hi!
She wasn't wearing a polka dot dress the other day was she?

2:27 PM  
Blogger pohocker said...

Bram, don't sweat it-you're a good dude. We all live and learn.
Rock on.

7:14 AM  

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