This is a modified version of a post I originally posted in November 2007. My dad has a particular fondness for this story, which is why, during a recent phone conversation, he mentioned Derek Jeter‘s retirement.
I used to think my destiny was to marry a Jewish doctor. That was long before I met my sweetie, a gentile/atheist software developer. When I was living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in my twenties, a Duke medical student asked me out. Bwa hahahaha! It was all going according to the plan! I was quite razzle-dazzled by this guy’s status as a future doctor. I would eventually discover he was pretty impressed with himself as well.
In an effort to wow the would-be M.D. I did some pre-date research. Although I knew virtually nothing about baseball, I knew he was a Yankees fan. I should have known it would never work, as he rooted for Duke and the Yankees, while my loyalties were to the Tar Heels and the Red Sox. The morning of our date, I flipped to the SportsMonday section of the New York Times over breakfast. Do note, I have never sought out the Sports section of any newspaper, ever, either before or since.
Derek Jeter had apparently done something no one had ever done before. I can’t tell you what it was now (and I could barely understand it at the time), but I’m sure anyone who paid attention to this Yankees-Mariners game of the 2001 World Series knows the history-making play to which I refer. I read the article several times. I memorized the gist of the play. By the time the med student picked me up for the State Fair that evening, all my ducks were in a row; I was wearing a carefully chosen super-cute outfit and I was ready to talk about baseball. As we started out toward I40, he asked if I would mind if he just put the radio on for a moment to check on the score. (We had flip phones back then).
“Oh great, I was curious myself,” I lied.
We got the score. Emboldened, I continued the charade.
“So how about Derek Yeter!?”
He looked at me quizzically. I explained.
“Last night? Against Seattle? Yeter caught that ball?”
“You mean Derek Jeter?”
SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIIIIIT! I THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THOSE WEIRD SILENT J’s. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. JETER!?? YOU PRONOUNCE THE J!? WHAT THE F*CK IS THAT!? WHY DID THE NEW YORK TIMES FAIL TO MENTION THIS!??????
I tried to recover.”Oh right, Jeter, yeah… I um, just read about it and so I thought you pronounced it different.. but yeah, Jeter….”
I wanted aliens to take me far far away. Instead we spent the evening at the fair, partaking of a deep fried Milky Way, getting dizzy on shoddily constructed rides, and peeking at the largest pig in the state of North Carolina. He said he would call. He never did. I did not yet know that if a guy doesn’t call it means he is not interested. After much debate I called him several days later. But not before pressing *67. (Remember that? It made it so your number would not be revealed on Caller ID). After some chit-chat he called me out.
“Where are you calling from?”
“Then why does it come up on my caller id as restricted?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you press *67?”
“Nooooo.” (pronounced with 3 syllables as in hell-no-who-would-do-that??)
I never saw or heard from him again, except one time when I ran into him at my favorite local bar when I was inebriated and accidentally fell off my chair, narrowly missing his bandaged, freshly post-operative fractured ankle en route to the floor.
The Duke med student was the last guy I tried to impress by pretending to know something I did not actually know.