Two dudes, four stores, one vest to rule them all

As you are no doubt aware (due to strange children knocking on your door demanding candy), Halloween was this past weekend. I won’t tell you what my costume was. You’ll have to guess it through clues provided in the following story. An epic, really, about two men who ventured into places they didn’t belong for glory they didn’t dream of. It’s the story of two uncool dudes looking at clothes they ordinarily have no business wearing. But that’s how legends of Halloween are born.

Last Wednesday, Brent Harring and I were milling around the office at around 5:05 p.m., figuring out how to waste 90 minutes between the end of the work day and the start of our World Series party for season ticket holders and other assorted VIPs. Brent said he had no idea what he was going to do. I, on the other hand, had an idea: acquire a key piece of my Halloween costume. I asked Brent if he would like to accompany me on a quest for said outerwear. He said he would.

Understand this: Brent Harring and I are two of the biggest geeks in human history. Brent told me that a documentary about two Yugoslavian basketball players was the best 90 minutes of television he’d ever seen (which gives you an idea of his expectation level for the 90 minutes we were about to encounter). I consistently avoid shopping between the hours of noon and 10:00 p.m. The two of us shopping at the same time could produce a force like when Hulk Hogan became “Hollywood” and the nWo was formed. Except that’s wrestling and we’re just nerds.

Anyway, we went into three different stores in one shopping center, scouring for the piece of clothing that would set my costume apart from any other: a vest. I’m not talking about one that completes a three-piece suit or a vest that train conductor would use to hold his pocketwatch. I’m not even talking about a leather vest a biker or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would wear or a sweater vest, because those (obviously) are stylish. I’m talking about a stand-alone vest, worn as outerwear. Preferably with dragons embroidered onto the back. The closest thing we found was a quasi-see-through shirt (for men, mind you). Tempting, but no dice. So we went to the mall. Better known to people like Brent and I as “the most awkward place in the universe.”

First came the task of finding the store we wanted to get to, which was tough enough. Then, inside the store, we had to figure out where people with style would put vests, a foreign thought. Once we found the right section, I thought we had something close enough: pinstriped vest, but one you’d wear with a suit. No dragons on the back, but it was solid.

Then, on the way to the cash register, I saw something familiar: a Cincinnati Reds shirt. But not just any Reds shirt. This one said, “Big Red Machine 2010.” Utterly preposterous, since it could be interpreted as comparing the Bench-Rose-Morgan-Griffey-Foster Reds to the Ramon Hernandez-Orlando Cabrera-Drew Stubbs Reds. The dweebs we are, we walked over and discussed the shirt. Then, like Charlie Bucket seeing the Golden Ticket for the first time, Brent Harring glanced over to the next rack and found it:

Black vest
Embroidery on the right side of the chest

It was the perfect vest. I immediately put the other vest back, bought the “yes, I’m shameless enough to wear a vest as outerwear” vest and we hustled out of the mall like MacGyver running out of a building seconds before it exploded.

And that’s the story of how two dudes defied the odds and put aside their unfamiliarity with shopping to succeed in a key Situation. It was a Halloween miracle if I’ve ever seen one.

Also as part of the costume, I used a can of spray-on tan. Probably should’ve read the directions before I put the first coat on. When I didn’t see an immediate difference, I slathered on almost the whole can. Which may not sound like a great idea. But I’ll tell you this: three hours after I put that stuff on, I looked real good. The problem is, I came into work today still looking like the worst bodybuilder who ever lived.

Random thoughts:

  • Bryce Harper, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, hit his first home run in the Arizona Fall League. Who’d he hit it off of? Erik Davis, who pitched for the TinCaps in 2009. Small world.
  • Rob Neyer, who I like, is catching a lot of heat for keeping track of “breaks” the teams are catching in the World Series. You know, umpire calls which could’ve gone either way, bad hops… the randomness that is baseball. His theory is that the 162-game regular season can mostly be explained by numbers, but the turning points of a seven-game series can oftentimes be traced back to “the breaks.” Unfortunately, this series seems like it’s all about the Giants deciding they’re not interested in giving up runs. Which sort of refutes Neyer’s point, but that doesn’t mean it’s always wrong.
  • Every team tries to be as good as possible in every aspect of the
    game. But how long is it going to take for everyone to get it? GOOD
  • I’ve heard a lot of people act like Madison Bumgarner came out of
    nowhere. And I suppose it’s surprising that he’s this good this soon,
    sort of. He’s thrown over 200 innings this year, he’s barely 21 years
    old and pitching in his first World Series. But it’s not like he’s some nobody. Aside from a short period where his velocity took a nosedive, he’s been sensational since he was drafted in the first round in 2007. This is when you realize who follows the minor leagues and who doesn’t.
  • Is it weird that everyone in the state of Texas has these t-shirts with “the claw” and “antlers” on them to make a big deal out of the Rangers’ team chemistry, while the Giants might have even better team unity and all you see are homemade beards and Panda suits? I suppose it’s good business sense by the Rangers’ staff. And a bit of weirdness from the Bay Area, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
  • Apparently talking to yourself in front of the media gets you released. Sorry for giving you the idea, Randy Moss. Although mailing it in for a new team probably didn’t help.
  • While not in costume this weekend, I saw this video in 3D. Dogs flying right at people. Be jealous.

I may have posted this video already, but I don’t care. It rules… OK Go!

Take care!


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