There’s really no moral to this story at all. I just thought it was an interesting thing that happened. It’ll end and you might be all, “What was the point of that?” There’s not one. It’s just a thing that happened. It’s a true story. I find it necessary to say that because I’ve written fake stories about Chandler Parsons finding himself inside a Lacoste store before.
Two days ago at 2:30 PM CST I was in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee with my girlfriend, we’ll call her “B”, watching LeBron get his broom out and sweep away the Bucks. The game, while competitive for the better part of three quarters, wound up being what all too many games have been lately that feature LeBron: A clinic in physical and mental dominance.
The Heat ran away from them late and the people of Milwaukee were left to spatter the arena with applause until a few minutes after the game when only LeBron and Ray Allen stood on the floor, camera scrum rubbing elbows with them, smiling from sea to shining sea. As they walked off, those left in the Bradley Center rained down boos on them. Their insults blotted out the sun and they flipped them off in the shade.
The only other observation necessary to vocalize would be that every single Heat fan there, and there were a lot of them, looked exactly how you’d think a Heat fan would…right down to the white bandannas. Also, B would want me to tell you that, despite his 8 points and 9 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova played a lazy game and couldn’t set a good screen to save his life. It would appear he completely refuses to dive on the floor for a loose ball and he forever looks like he’d be fine if you left him alone so he could go take a dump.
After the game we went to eat.
We’re going to Odd Duck, a Bay View restaurant in Milwaukee that Yelp and a “Best Dinner Places In Milwaukee” Google search tell me is quite dope. I’m not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination. I still order my cheeseburgers plain and garner eye rolls when I tell McDonald’s I don’t need any sauce with my number 9, but this place looks cool and too many Internet people are all “Oh you have absolutely got to try it” so we’re going.
We get there and don’t have to pay for parking because Milwaukee may very well be God’s town and their metered parking shuts down at 6:00 PM.
The place looks like it belongs in a ski lodge. Even the blues seem like they’re a shade of brown. It’s warm, though. Inviting, I guess, if you want to say that. Some kind of modern cabin vibe. I mean that affectionately. It’s a relaxed setting without forcing the relaxation too much. Tiny candles on the tables neighboring real flowers in tiny, little vases.
We get closer to our table and as my eyes are spanning the room I spot a familiar face from the game. It’s JJ Redick, all V-neck sweatered out. He’s talking to a table of four. The four are on the older side and I THINK one of them is the Bucks head coach, Jim Boylan, but I read this so my assumption is it’s not.
Redick says bye to the table and as he’s walking by I scramble inside to figure out if I’m going to bother him by saying something
Traditionally, even if it’s to say something nice, I refrain from pestering. I don’t want to do that to him. He came out to dinner and doesn’t want to deal with people asking for pictures or autographs and it’s really not any kind of pressing that I talk to him. But it doesn’t look like he’s here with anyone in particular, so if I just say something as he’s walking by then there’s no harm in that. I legitimately thought he had a good game, so I told him that.
“Good game today.”
He looks down briefly and says thank you and keeps it moving. No big. I wouldn’t want to talk to me if I was him either. In retrospect, dude might have thought I was being smug by saying that after a loss, so I don’t mind the response. But I really did think he, individually, played well. He had 10 points and a nice floor game in limited minutes. Hustled, generally. My compliment was sincere, I guess I’m saying.
Myself and B, after first sharing a moment of “Well clearly this is the place to be”, watch him walk to the table behind us and sit down with a pretty blonde and an older couple that look to be around the age I’d imagine his parents are. Later on in the meal I hear him call the older man “Dad”. So there’s that.
Redick, and B confirmed this, is a good looking white dude in person. He looks, for better or worse, completely and positively Duke.
I should tell you the layout of the tables. B is facing the front of the restaurant. She can see the Redicks well. I’m facing the back of the restaurant and have a perfect view of the couple I’m presuming to be the Boylans but I really have no idea. Our table is, essentially, between their two tables. We are the bridge.
Our waiter shows up and we get focused on the meal and conversation at hand. She’s wearing a little black dress that makes me walk taller and the food is good. We’ve had a great day, the details of which I won’t go into because you don’t care, and this dinner is doing nothing but enhancing that.
We’re getting a kick out of our waiter and his strangeness. It’s like he’s put himself on a word limit for the day. He’s really quiet and treats some of our questions like surprises. His hair looks like Ben Kingsley’s in the new Iron Man 3 trailer and he’s wearing a pink shirt that looks like the costume closet of The Brady Bunch had sex with a flamingo that loves salsa music. He’s wearing some green-grey jeans that he’s rolled up the cuffs on and a pair of black mid-top Vans. Sort of seems bothered to be there.
The general vibe of the place is Portlandic, if that’s a word. Terms like “organic” and “local” kind of pepper the room to the astonishment of absolutely no one. At different points throughout the dinner I hear Skinny Love, Wake Up, and Timshel, all of which couldn’t fit more perfectly. I think I hear the final fade out of No One Like You at one point but I can’t be sure because we were discussing the differences between rural Oklahoma and Los Angeles and you try in that conversation.
The man that might be Boylan is opening presents and eating a slice of cake they brought out for him. He’s holding up a blue polo that looks like something an older white guy wears to the golf course and I mutter to B that it looks it’s his birthday.
Then I have to pee. I always have to pee. I have the bladder of an 80 year old man and that is not an original joke. When I get up I get a better look at Maybe Boylan. I go into the bathroom and take care of business and after I wash my hands I pull out my phone and Google “Jim Boylan” like I should have done in the first place. His birthday is April 28, 1955. Boom. Roasted.
I get back to the table and show B his Wikipedia page and we confirm that’s definitely him. I sort of think Hey, that’s kind of cool. They finally talked. Good for them. Nice to see two people….WAIT A MINUTE.
This is when I see Redick’s waiter show up with a slice of cake with a lit candle in the middle. He sits it down on the table. It’s Redick’s dad’s birthday, too.
Redick lets out an “Oh, wow. Thanks so much.”
Then that’s it.
Soon Boylan leaves with his wife and their friends and the Redicks wave bye and each of the birthday boys wishes the other one happy birthday and I guess all this proves is birthdays bring people together.
*Shoutout to the hostess at Odd Duck who watched me take the crappy picture outside the restaurant with my phone and thought I was taking it of her so she smiled. My apologies to her for waiting until she stopped cheesing to take the picture.