I Like You, But You're Crazy: The Life and Times of Gilbert Arenas
As a person blessed (or perhaps cursed) with the ability to spew free-flowing sports-related rants at regularly-timed intervals, it's rare that I find a subject so perplexing, flabbergasting and fascinating that it leaves me at once at a loss for words yet at the same time unable to stop discussing it.
Such is the case with the recent Esquire magazine piece on Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas. Like Arenas himself, the article is completely crazy and somewhat disjointed yet wildly entertaining. And since there's no way I can say something coherent about such an insane subject but can't resist discussing the madness I've witnessed, here are my scattershot observations on perhaps the most delightfully loopy man in all of sports:
1) At one point in the article, while Arenas is sharing some of his dreams and having their meanings analyzed, he says, "The other dream I've been having is my teeth falling out. But that just means someone is stabbing me in the back. So I know that one."
Come again, Gilbert? Personally I've never heard "that one" before. Have any of you? Why would dreaming that your teeth are falling out mean that someone's betraying you? Couldn't it just as easily mean that you're afraid you're suffering from gum disease or gingivitis? Part of me hopes that Arenas just definitively came to the conclusion that losing his teeth means betrayal, because that would just be such a completely creepy thing to decide. And part of me hopes he didn't come to that conclusion for the exact same reason.
2) On the subject of his late-night TV watching habits, Arenas says, "I'll watch infomercials. The last thing I bought was this colon cleanser. I just got talked into it. I'm like, Man, he makes it sound so good."
For some reason this made me think of that scene in L.A. Story where Sarah Jessica Parker's character talks Steve Martin into going to get an enema with her, and then I started thinking about Steve Martin and Gilbert Arenas going to get an enema together…and, it's probably best that I stop talking about this right now and just let the fact that Gilbert Arenas bought a colon cleanser speak for itself, which it is more than capable of doing.
3) Gilbert Arenas purchases excessive amounts of DVDs that he probably will never watch, for no apparent reason other than the fact that he likes buying them.
This is okay for him because he's filthy rich, but can someone please explain why some of us who don't share his stellar financial portfolio engage in the same ridiculous practice?
4) In what is one of the most bizarre exchanges in the entire article (you really have to read it to understand, or not understand as it were), Washington's point guard explains to his interviewer that he has trained himself to sleep on the couch, because, "I don't like women all up on me, touching me. So I get up and go."
He then proceeds to explain how he tells the women to "Stay there" and "Wait for me behind that door," when it's not clear at all what door he's talking about or what in the frozen tundra of hell he means by any of this. He then adds, "I discovered that women don't like that much."
Which part don't they like – when you get up out of bed because you don't like them touching you or when you tell them to go stand behind some mythical door that apparently doesn't exist? Perhaps we should just move on.
5) A little later in the article Arenas goes Lloyd Christmas and totally redeems himself by confessing that he loves to wrestle (or “wrastle,” as Arenas puts it) with teammate Awvee Storey. And wrastling – at least when Arenas and Storey are involved – includes biting, stomach punching, and one instance in which Storey pinched Arenas’ nose until it was bruised purple and called him "Rudolph." Methinks this would be a rather entertaining video to watch if such a video existed.
And while we're on the subject, let me remind you of a little "storey" about Awvee: He was the guy whom Arenas was defending several months ago when he got in trouble with Johnny Law for disobeying police officers. If you'll recall, the incident apparently originated because Storey was blocking traffic. Wouldn’t it be great if traffic was actually stalled because the two of them were wrastling in the middle of the street?
6) Another episode in this long dissertation on Arenas includes a video game confrontation in which Arenas is playing against one of his friends in NBA 2K6 and is attempting to beat said friend by 200 points. And he ends up winning by 199 when his friend hits a buzzer beater. Which makes me think that either Arenas is one of the great unheralded video game players of our generation…or his friend just really sucks. In any case, 199 points is a lot to win by.
7) You know how it’s really en vogue these days for athletes to hire personal trainers and eat really boring meals about three times a day, not limited to what always seems to be steamed vegetables and grilled fish for dinner? Well, our friend Gilbert is decidedly not on board with this trend. He may have one of the best motors of any pro athlete, but it has nothing to do with his diet. On the road, he says he only eats burgers, and he once ate 12 in one day from a place in Canada he really likes, which is kind of like winning a game of NBA 2K6 by 199 points, except worse for your health.
8) You may have already heard about this particular tidbit because it seems to be more well-traveled than some of these other pieces of information, but as soon as Arenas gets a new phone, he proceeds to call it from a land line and leave meaningless little messages like “It’s me,” and “This is Gilbert” to fill up his voicemail so that no one can leave him messages on the phone. Which is actually a pretty wise way to go about business if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t want people to be able to reach you.
9) Arenas is in possession of a list of the 30 players in the 2001 NBA Draft who were selected ahead of him. When he finds out one of them is no longer in the league, he crosses said player off the list. The example used in the Esquire article: “I got to get the pencil out.
Of course thinking of Arenas crossing people off a list immediately calls to mind the scene in Billy Madison in which the psychotic Steve Buscemi character crosses Billy off his list of “People to Kill” after Billy places an apologetic phone call, at which point Buscemi’s character proceeds to smear lipstick all over his face. This of course made me think of Gilbert Arenas putting on lipstick…and maybe we should just move on.
10) At the close of the Esquire article, Arenas reveals an idea he had for a shoe commercial. Since I can’t possibly do it justice by paraphrasing, I’m going to include that idea in its entirety as it appears in the magazine (in Arenas’ words):
You know how I always throw my jersey into the stands after a game? In
Remember how at the beginning of this recap I said I didn’t think there was any way I could comment on this subject coherently? Well, in the process of writing this, I came to one clear, coherent thought: Gilbert Arenas just might be the most fascinating character in all of pro sports.