The DEFEND Cleveland Show

My Andrew Bynum Story



I am often drawn to the subjects of isolation and loneliness in the peril of the 21st impossible to doubt our camaraderie within this subject sect. Loneliness, isolation and to a very real extent, death, complicate our senseless days more contemporarily than ever. They run a thick thread through our fabricated society. Fabricated here implying two things—a factually imagined sense of kinship, found in the ether and pathos of technology, and a culling of the sense of, and pun on the term, “fabric”. Ah, the follies of youth to take the looming great beyond and let it translate into waking hedonism and entitlement.


My impression of Andrew Bynum is on par with the Reaper, a harrower of death (and as an aside, yes, I realize that this story is perhaps so eloquently retrofitted as to make it seem fabricated as well). I left the True North gas station just north of the Crocker Rd. exit in Westlake on the night of December 10th stuffing various chocolate victuals into the pockets of my jacket. With hands unavailable I began to lean into the door with my left shoulder, a gentle dip rather not a bullish thud, but nonetheless enough force to open the air-compressed egress. As I leaned-to, the door was opened from the outside by someone I did not see approaching. I was not looking up, not expecting the door to be swinging away from my expectant shoulder. I stumbled and caught my balance with enough ego left to mutter a thanks at whoever was holding the door. And whoever it was, was the darkest and most towering person I had ever seen. I did not have enough time to get my eyes to the top of this beast, did not find a face. In fact I think my own face was level with this minaret’s genitals though I was unable to sex the thing.


I settled into my car and in the rearview mirror I saw a car, a little super auto, at a pump and thought. Though it isn’t 100%, the odds that a 7 foot black man in Westlake driving a car of that caliber is an athlete are fairly high. I sat and watched the inside. Who was it? I watched a head popping above the aisles as he went to the cooler and then back to the front register. I saw him then, Andrew, his face, the largest man I have ever seen.

The Cavs had just previously, and I mean just, beat the Knicks downtown. Knowing that he must have hit the showers and got the hell out of dodge, I decided that I should ask for an autograph anyway. My wife might find it silly not to and I didn’t want to relay this tale to her with an ending she would question. I clamored around the car for something, anything. I knew that I had a basketball in the trunk but no marker. That would have been too perfect. I acted quick and grabbed a sheet of paper, a Lube Stop receipt for a passed e-check, and a pen. When he emerged in his long black sweat suit, something Tatooine about the neck piece, an attached loose scarf, cosmopolitan but lazy, made him look lanky in dark robes, nothing like the engorged Cavalier I watch on television.

I rolled down the window and asked if he would mind signing an autograph. He looked at me with something like indignation. It was enough to give me pause. Was this Andrew Bynum? Was this some poor soul who gets this all the time? He lumbered to the window, visibly exhausted by walking, took the pen and paper, completing the signature without a word, and returned to his car—death over his shoulder, as a hobo of old, a parapet to the height of the young man.


I watched his car ignite, the dual boar exhaust of it all. I looked down at my newly minted Lube Stop receipt now with a Hancock: A. Bynum #21. I thought of the all but hooded figure; silent, arching, perturbed, demonized, slinging the wares of death about him. I have told this story several times, emphasizing different parts for different crowds, playing up either the car, the height, the sheer odds or the near dick-to-the-face for the comedic types. But what stuck with me most, and what I haven’t told too many, was his soundless gaze and silent seeming contempt.


It would be gross to forge ahead with the claim that there is no cohesion among the masses, no barrel of monkey effect. We are woven. But where entitlement creeps into the space constantly being created from the need for multiple conceived and construed identities (though the digitally imprinted you may in fact be separate, the man hours needed to imbibe this other artifice of self are completely real and in most cases, becoming rapidly dominant, the majority of actualized hours), we become, in waking life, perhaps crocheted and perilously porous then at best. Cobbled from the knobbed fingers of arthritic grandma and packed alongside cookies containing a lion’s share of cat hair, so much sweetness inedible, we wait with the frail geriatric-ism of our creator. We are becoming very good at waiting for what we want, what with meaningful life taking place now mostly in the binary. Andrew is exceptional at it.


-Jon Conley
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Posted by on Dec 31 2013. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “My Andrew Bynum Story”

  1. […] had written previously of the time I had an ill-fated gas-station-autograph exchange with Andrew “Brevity” Bynum, more serendipitous than […]

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