Ever since I was born, my mother has reminded me of the fact that I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. Yea, no big deal right? Wrong, because there’s another big part to it… That it happened to be the same hospital where Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, was born. It was a fact that I repeated time and time again throughout my life. In grade school, the kids would hang on my every word and repeat the story to others as if I were a legend. Through my college years I would tell the tale and be met with responses along the lines of “No way!” or “Get out of here!” and other expressions of excitement. Even now as a working professional, I still tell the tale and receive the nod of approval and ever so slight grins that grow at a slow, yet proportional rate. I repeat it as if it’s my mantra, my motto.
It was one of my proudest claims to fame, a highlight of my life, and a great pick-up line for the ladies. In fact, it was merely a couple weeks ago that I was attending a bachelorette party and I laid down the line in front of a large crowd of babes, where they all smiled with a heightened level of impressiveness. And for those that are wondering, yes I said bachelorette party, and yes, aside from the over abundance of phallic objects, its was really fun (thanks to the efforts of a few boundary babes)! Even better than any of the bachelor parties I’ve ever been to, no offense to those bachelors, especially my buddy Alex. I love you man, but being stuck in the middle of the woods at night with a busted up rig that can’t start in weather that was around 10 degrees wasn’t exactly the greatest moment of my life. Especially after the fact that we nearly rolled off the edge of a cliff and to our deaths about 10 times, but that’s a whole other story. Let’s just say I’m happy to be alive to tell my stories after that incident.
But the point is, I would walk into a room and spread the truth in front of a crowd of people, and instantaneously I would be greeted with astonishment, with a slight wave of jealousy coming from a few. What could they say that made them relevant? Nothing. I was always one step ahead.
It had been nearly 25 years since I stepped foot in the motherland, or crawled for that matter, and I was ready for a welcoming reception home. I met my compadres Mike and Jason at Jay Bee’s World Famous Hotdog’s in Statesville, North Carolina, where I have no idea why their hotdog’s are considered to be world famous. Every place I’ve been to that claims they have world famous hotdogs have always left me with a feeling of disappointment, such as Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington DC. If you’re going to say you have a world famous hot dog, it better be damn good. At least don’t call them world famous so your standards shoot through the roof. If you don’t claim it and your hotdog is terrible, I won’t really care, but when you claim world fame status and your hotdog stinks, your reputation and integrity fly out the window in my book, and leave me with less satisfaction than if I ate a 1/4 pound all beef kosher dog from Costco, except that those actually aren’t that bad. One, they taste better, two, they’re only a buck fifty, three, a 22 ounce drink is included, and four, they don’t even claim to be world famous! They just let the taste of their juicy dog do the talking, and that’s the way I roll.
Anyway, after eating my less than mediocre world famous hotdog, we headed to our destination in Asheville, NC, telling story’s of the glory days when we were hooligans roaming the streets of Moscow, Idaho. We were a minute away from the house when the story popped into my head, and I found the perfect segway to tell my great tale of fame. “Dude, this is my first trip my back to North Carolina since I’ve been born. And I don’t want to brag or anything, but I happened to be born in the same hospital as Michael Jordan.
Mike tweaked his head toward me with a sudden look of confusion. “Uhh, Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn New York dude.”
“Bull crap,” I swore back to him. He was wrong. He had to be. I knew he was going to take offense to my statement, just like he always does, and of course he wasn’t going to believe it, he never believes anything I say, but he couldn’t prove anything this time. What the hell did he know? He was seriously going to go against my mother’s word? I don’t think so. Not even he has the balls to go there, and when it comes to arguments with Mike, trust me, we’ll go to the deepest and dirtiest depths just to prove a point. It’s personal.
“Wikipedia it man,” is all he said back.
“Wikipedia isn’t a source!” I wanted to screamed. That’s like the first things they teach us in college! God I couldn’t believe he just said that! Wikipedia? C’mon! It took a lot to hold back the fury that bellowed inside me, because I was freaking mad! Lieutenant Dan mad when he’s yelling at God during the hurricane in Bayou La Batre. Bill O’Reily mad when he’s told to play it out. Freaking Kanye West mad when Taylor Swift robs Beyonce of the best video award at the MTV VMA’s!
But I kept my cool and held my tongue through the whole ordeal. Now was not the time to blow up and cause a scene. I was about to meet the remainder of his family that I had not yet met, including his mother, and impressions to me are above and beyond the most important. Besides, there was plenty of time to prove Mike wrong and make him look like a fool, an act I get more joy out of than being that kid who receives an Xbox for Christmas! All I needed to do was wait for the opportune moment. Patience is key in situations like this.
Luckily for us, nothing brings a bunch of testosterone craved boys together like a classic Pay-Per-View UFC match, including an epic bout between Rhonda Rousy and Miranda Tate, and watching Anderson Silva’s leg snap in half. I know people are gonna hate on me for saying this, but seeing that live was freaking awesome! And even better than that was the epic Packers and Bears matchup that proceeded the following day. Wow, that was one that’ll go down in the history books. It’s 4th and 8 with 44 seconds remaining in the game. the Pack is down 27-28 and the Bears are lined up for a jail break blitz. 7 defensive linemen vs. 6 on the offense. Rodgers snaps the ball and Julius Peppers runs towards Rodgers unblocked. John Kuhn the fullback dives in front of him with a last ditch effort to deliver a block. He barely slows the bastard, but it’s just enough for Rodgers to escape within a fingertips length. Out of the pocket he spots a wide open Randall Cobb in the middle of the field. He delivers a strike and into the endzone goes Cobb, ball in hand… and that’s when me and Mike went bonkers. We were jumping up and down in the bar, yelling, calling, texting, hugging complete strangers, and even in some instances, kissing (ayayay I know, I almost got slapped for that)! But in the end it didn’t matter, for we were full of cheer and were going to spread it around to everyone we could see, including Bears fans! You’re probably asking why, but it’s just the kind of guy I am. I can look past those types of things for one night.
We made our unmistakable appearance known to all at the various bars we visited, and by the evening’s end it had been a complete night of unforgettable memories and passion. Yet something was still bothering me deep inside as I lay in bed at the end of it all. The controversy of Michael Jordan’s birthplace still lingered, and I just couldn’t shake it off. I had to know. This had to be settled once and for all.
I picked up my iPad and googled his name. I hovered my finger over the link, but couldn’t quite press down on the screen. What was I nervous for? This was my mother’s word against Mike’s. There should be no sense of hesitation inside of me. But there was… “Man up,” I told myself before I pressed down on the link and watched the circular bars rotate in the upper left corner of the iPad, waiting for the answer, my heart working overtime against the disproportionate level of alcohol in my bloodstream. The answer would come soon. I was right. I had to be right. The screen finally refreshed and there popped up the wikipedia page. I gazed down at my answer in plain black text, waiting for me at the right hand side of the screen.
Michael Jordan: Born – Brooklyn, New York.
My heart sunk at the answer presented in front of me. How could this be? My mother had been lying to me my whole life, and I bought into until just now, when I finally saw the truth. How was I going to tell all my friends whom believed my story throughout the years? How could I even bare the thought of facing all of the babes I had met at the bachelorette party now that I’m a phony? And the worst of all, how will my relationship with my mother resume now that that sacred bond of trust has now been broken?
I awoke the next morning, pretending that the whole incident never happened, but it was no use. “Oh, by the way, did you find out where Michael Jordan was born?” It was a cheap shot question I could not defend, and he said it so smugly in front of everybody. He was mocking me big time, and I tried to play it smooth, but all that came out was one of those pathetic looks of the same fashion as the one that is permanently engrained onto Jay Cutler’s face. And he stood there in his pompous stature that makes James Franco look like Mother Teresa. No other words needed to be exchanged. Congratulations Mike, you won the argument, and my life is over. I’m sure you feel no shame whatsoever. In fact, I bet you’re ecstatic. I hope you’re happy, and I hope the torment you put me through along with a newly broken family was worth it for you.
I can’t believe she did that, out of all people, my own mother! I’m completely devastated. Those types of things just shouldn’t happen. The thought of sneaking off to get a McRib before Thanksgiving pales in comparison to this quarter century fib. It’s probably going to be at least another quarter of a century before I fully recover too. But then again, I did get over the fact that Santa Claus didn’t exist, so maybe there’s hope for a rebuild of our relationship. Although I think a lot of chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake may be required for the rekindling (*hint hint*).