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The interviewer walks into the empty, white room. He’s a short, shrewish man, and I take an immediate dislike to him. I don’t like shrews. He sits down across from me and says, in a nasally voice, “Well, Mr. Jordan, are we ready to begin?”
I check my watch. “If this thing is right, I was ready a half hour ago.”
“I’m sorry for the delay, Mr. Jordan. I’m sure you’re a very busy man.”
“Darn right I am!” I say. I had to miss some kid’s birthday party for this. They had to hire a replacement Michael Jordan, for heaven’s sake! I suppose I must have looked a little angry right then, because the shrew flinches and shrinks back in his seat.
“As you know, Mr. Jordan, I am an interviewer for the New York Tiny, a newspaper that represents the minority of the people in New York.”
I interrupt him. “What do you mean, the minority?”
“We poll people on what they would like to know, and then we answer the question that the least number of people asked.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” I say. I’m too large for the small, plastic chair I’m sitting in, and I begin to fidget.
“I don’t agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” the shrew says.
I stare at him, bewildered. “What the h--- does that have to do with anything?”
“It’s the New York Tiny’s motto. Wait- that doesn’t matter. My first question is, ‘What do you think of gymnasts.”
“Oh. My. God. That is the worst question I have ever been asked. That’s worse than when I got asked what cup size I wear. Why the bloody h--- do you want to know that?”
The shrew looks angry. His little beady eyes wrinkle up, and he straightens the collar of his impeccable suit. “Because .001 percent of people polled wanted to know what Michael Jordan thought about gymnasts. As you know, Mr. Jordan, we are a minority newspaper-“
“Fine!” I cry out. This is a huge waste of time. If I can answer my questions as fast as possible, I can make it to the kid’s birthday before the fake me arrives. “I’ll answer your d--- question.” I pause. “What’s a gymnast?”
“You know, people who do gymnastics,” the shrew says, looking at me like I’m stupid.
“Oh. Gymnasticers. Yeah. I knew that. Alright, if you really want to know, I’m deathly afraid of gymnasticers.”
The shrew looks at me as if I’m even stupider than the last time he looked at me like that. “Why is that, Mr. Jordan?” He’s adopted the kind of voice people use when talking to little kids or people with mental disabilities. I stand up and begin to pace, just to remind him who’s 6’ 6”and famous, and who’s 5’ 4” and representing a minority newspaper.
“Well, it’s because these are people with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! I mean, I can dunk from six feet back, but I can’t do a flip while doing it! Imagine a gymnasticer on the basketball court! We’d all be out of a job! Flip, flip, hand springer, back hand jump, and score!”
“Alright then. Well, thank you Mister Jordan. You may go,” the shrew says. He looks shocked.
“That’s it? Just one question?” Yes! I can go to the birthday party after all!
“That was the only question that accurately represented the minority. Have a nice day…”
I’m out the door and in my car by the time he says ‘day’. The party is at a Chuck-E-Cheese, and I have to break a couple of speed limits, traffic laws, and fenders to get there in time. I dash out of the car and across the parking lot.
Through a window I can see the fake Michael Jordan preparing to make an entrance. I’m almost too late. I crash through the double doors, my ears immediately assaulted by the noise of screaming kids and video game beeps. The fake Michael Jordan is greeting the birthday boy. Nooo!
I leap over a party table and tackle the faker to the ground. The kids, after a stunned silence, cheer. “Hi kids! I’m Michael Jordan!”
One of the kids raises his hand. “What’s the most points you’ve scored in a game, ever?”
I walk over and hug the kid. “Best. Question. Ever.” I say into his ear. “Thank you.”