By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
There was a break where Sydney Pollack and I didn't see each other for a little while. But after a few weeks, there we were, me pushing a brand-new Baby Jogger, and him, with just a quick double take that I'm pretty sure said, "Congratulations on reproducing."
Then one day I saw Sydney Pollack pull into the dirt parking lot driving a white Explorer. Not a new one. That's so like Sydney Pollack to drive such a common-man car, I thought. He probably owns it just so his dog will have plenty of room in the back. He's got BMWs and Jaguars at home, I figured, yet he chooses to drive a spacious, unpretentious car that could â really use a wash. Now I like Sydney Pollack even more.
Then one day I heard Sydney Pollack say something to someone else, but it wasn't in Sydney Pollack's voice. I didn't expect him to sound exactly as he did in Husbands and Wivesor on the rerun of Will & GraceI saw the other night, but it surprised me how . . . menschy his voice was. I pretended I'd heard wrong. But over the following weeks, I noticed something very unSydney Pollacklike about his upper lip, though I tried not to stare. It wasn't the upper lip of somebody who'd directed Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. It was the upper lip of somebody who works at a job he hates or whose kids haven't called in months or is just incredibly ordinary. It was not an upper lip that would belong to Sydney Pollack.
The car. The voice. The lip. I had to come to terms with the fact I've been denying for months. That this is not Sydney Pollack. That I've been living a lie. That I now must figure out just what kind of relationship I've been having with a stranger who drives an Explorer, wears a baseball cap and has a forlorn upper lip. There are still days when I'm almost 70 percent certain it's him, but most times it's more like 20, maybe 25 percent. And even if he is Sydney Pollack, which there's maybe -- maybe -- a 30 to 40 percent chance, what was I doing? Coincidental stalking?
Meanwhile, I've gone on walking my usual route. In fact, the other day I spotted Eric Idle and his beagle. I'm almost certain of it.
Sporting Life: Showtime, Burbank Style
WITH 11 SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME, down by only a bucket, the point guard of My Bad pushes the basketball up court with the celerity of a fox. The game is on the line, and he ain't about to feed the rock to a wide-open teammate on the perimeter. It's showtime. And he's absolutely positive that one of the eight people in the "crowd" is a pro scout. This kid dreams of the CBA, just like the rest of us on the court. Only he just might have the skill and "mad hops, yo" to make it. Sure enough, he loses his bald-pated defender with a spin move and takes the pill coast-to-coast for a chippy, getting fouled in the process. The beer-gutted culprit looks astonished. Not your high-fiving, finger-waving point guard, though. He's smiling; he's having a good time. Swish. The ball tickles the twine, and My Bad does away with the Wolverines. The scorekeeper pockets another $10, the referees $20 apiece, and the next two teams begin their warm-up. The gym smells like a giant nutsack. "Let's not break out the champagne just yet, fellas," I tell them after in a very white way. "You draw Rebel Alliance next week." I don't understand the laughter that ensues.
I play basketball in the Burbank city league, for the Rebel Alliance. None of us can touch the rim. The name means nothing, really, but we cherish thinking of the rest of the league as an evil empire. Besides, last season we were "Ed?" We have never finished better than third place, but on paper we look formidable. The gray division is ours, and that is second to bottom. Gold is tops. There are eight divisions, supposedly divided by skill level. We are mostly a Warner Bros. team, except for me. I signed on via free agency a couple of years ago after being coaxed by a longtime friend. "I just want to win. It isn't about money. I couldn't care less what the fans think. ESPN can say what they want . . ." That is what I would tell the press, if there were any press, and if there were any money involved. Instead, I brag about the double/double I am averaging per game to my Warner Bros. teammates at the Sizzler.
But one must be careful about divulging a game plan at such locations. Sizzler has a team. Oh yes. And so does IKEA. They are a gang of cheap-shot artists. In fact, you never know who fields a team. Bobrick furnishes bathroom dispensers and toilet-paper bars. They also furnished me with a season-ending eye injury recently, and I am still not convinced it was an "accident." Now I am left on the I.R., praying that dude washed his hands with one of his soap dispensers prior to the game. Blinded me momentarily, which is better than the permanent blindness that the referees must suffer having missed that call.