I stumbled home around five o'clock this morning and convened an emergency meeting of the Briarwood Brain Trust. The hour-long symposium took place on our couch, with the TV on mute and the room half-awash with whatever sunlight managed to creep in by the time we finished. When the conference closed, Robusto and I had outlined an abstract, academic guideline for evaluating women, and we established four essential categories: intellect, competence, grace, and attractiveness. A man’s goal, obviously, is to score a four-for-four, or, at the very least, a three-for-four—assuming she’s got an over-abundance of one of those three to compensate for her weak facet. We also determined that “wisdom,” in the way that we assign it to savvy old women, is a combination of competence and grace. We adjourned while contemplating the possible permutations of those four elements, and considering the following question: were we missing something?
We must have been, because I wouldn’t feel very comfortable picking a significant other based on her batting average. Come to think of it, I don’t want to use numbers in any capacity to figure out how much I like somebody. I don’t want to think about four-for-four, 37 out of 40, Perfect Ten, 100%, 2 becoming 1, other half, or the One. Were the Briarwood system to turn on itself, it might say that it is thoroughly intellectual and generally competent, yet devoid of grace and attractiveness. It’s a two-for-four.
As Robusto is fond of saying, we often overlook the “amorphous” quality that sets people apart. It’s entirely plausible that one could be out on a date with a total four-for-four but be utterly disinterested. The opposite could also be true, and you could find yourself with somebody who barely passes the Briarwood test but somehow keeps your interest for hours and hours of non-intellectual, quasi-competent fun. The missing element, if you will, is compatibility, and I can’t believe that we burned through more than 60 minutes of profound deliberation without mentioning that getting along with a girl is an important part of being with her. Perhaps it was implied, or maybe it went without saying, but it’s important enough to be articulated.
Similarly, it bothers me that the best players in sports video games are demarcated by a high numerical rating. I still remember looking at Ken Griffey, Jr.’s rating of 99 in some baseball arcade game and thinking, This is it? A guy spends his whole life playing baseball and entertaining fans and smiling and rejuvenating the entire city of Seattle, and they sum up his entire existence with "99?” Granted, video games are intrinsically number-based; after all, computers operate on zeros and ones. In addition, it makes perfect sense to rank players by number, since it’s straightforward and clear and leaves no room for interpretation.
However, what bothers me about the numbers in sports games is what bothers me about the Briarwood test: both overlook compatibility. Ken Griffey, Jr. wasn’t a star simply because he could hit and field better than anyone else. He wasn’t merely a “99” to Seattle or his teammates. Seattle loved him. His karma worked with theirs. By contrast, you can take one look at the way New Yorkers abhor Alex Rodriguez (also an erstwhile Seattle star) and realize that it’s not sufficient to be a 99. You have to be the right 99. Or 40. Or four-for-four, or however the hell you want to count it.
I’ll take this up with the Briarwood Brain Trust immediately, and something tells me we will sleep in tomorrow after we undoubtedly spend hours discussing compatibility. I don’t think New York will miss us—if it could be so cruel to a 99, what do you suppose it thinks of a bunch of guys who don't even play baseball?
Stay Snarky, Yankee Stadium
DJ David Wright