The Optimist Manifesto, Part I

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Bonjour, faithful readers! And welcome to the new and improved

Most of you people know me as a modest man of few words – the strong, silent type. And you know that normally, unless the Optimette is out of town, that I don’t like to blow my own horn. But this new website is the cat’s meow, people! The interior pages are covered in rich Corinthian leather. We’ve got enough ram under the hood to blow the doors off of any and all comers. Plus, just check out the leg room!

For the past few weeks, Web Manager and former dental student, Jeff Lillibridge, has been nervously nurturing the new behind the scenes. It’s been a string of sleepless nights for our boy.

Then, on September 8, one of Uncle Dave’s minions – Chris Benyarko – called Jeff to say that it was “time.” So L-Bridge went scurrying around the Gund, boiling water and tearing sheets.

It’s easy for me to say, but labor was relatively painless, and on Thursday, September 8, 2005, L-Bridge, Phyllis Salem, Bruce Wimbish, bed-wetting webshill Joe Gabriele and Yours Truly became the proud parents of the new and improved We’re thinking of naming the little fella “” but we’ll have to check with the in-laws back in Secaucus, New Jersey first.

I started out by saying most of you people out there know me. But that’s a little presumptuous. I really should consider that there are some readers out there that don’t – if you can believe it. With that in mind, I have decided to take this opportunity to introduce myself through my three-part Optimist Manifesto.

The Optimist Manifesto will describe who I am, where I came from, what I want, and whether or not I have any gum. By the time you finish reading the Manifesto you will realize that I am not one of your ordinary run-of-the-mill polemics that have littered the landscape of the World Wide Web.

First and foremost, I have constructed a “glossary” that should get all of you readers out there up to speed. Once the regular season gets underway, there won’t be time for me to hold anyone’s hand and go through the playbook. Like training camp, these installments are all vital to a successful season.

Please take some time to review today’s glossary. It will help you understand certain terms and concepts that you will be seeing in the 2005-06 campaign. It will be invaluable for keeping pace with the rest of us during what could finally be the Cavaliers’ first ever 82-0 regular season.

TheBron – Many of you might have wondered, “Who is this ‘TheBron’?”

The answer may be simpler than you think.

As is evidenced by my international greeting at the start of every column, the Optimist is multilingual. And based on my studies of the many nuances of the French language, I can tell you that in France, “le” means “the” and “Bron” means “Bron.” Ergo: “TheBron” James and “LeBron” James are actually one and the same.

You fancy-pants Frenchies out there can call him “LeBron” if you want to. But the Big O is a red-blooded, Big-Mac-and-freedom-fry-eating American, and as far as I’m concerned, No. 23 for the Cavaliers is TheBron.

E-mailing Machine -- When Michigan moneybags, Dan Gilbert took over as owner of our beloved Cavaliers, he brought in state-of-the-art technology. Many of us had heard that the Internet was now on computers, but Gilbert brought that dream to life.

Money was no object for Gilbert. Everyone got computers, even the rabble down on the fifth floor.

But the heavy hitters – names like Komoroski, Ferry, Carper, Optimist – got their very own e-mailing machines. “E-mail” means “electronic mail” and on the e-mailing machine, I can both send and receive messages from other Cavalier employees and even a select few people from the general population.

If you’re one of the privileged class who has the financial wherewithal to have an e-mailing machine at home, please feel free to send me an electronic mail by clicking here.

Researchers believe that one day, technology will be so advanced that nearly everyone will have their own e-mailing machines right at home. What a beautiful world this will be. What a glorious time to be free.

Guaranteed Win Night – Countless times during the regular season, I have issued Guaranteed Win Nights. This has regularly flummoxed many of my readers. But I won’t be cowed by their negativity. It’s like a fatwa: once I issue it, I cannot take it back.

Many of these chickenhawks consider Guaranteed Win Night inflammatory to the Cavaliers opponents. To both my critics and Cavaliers opponents I say this: “Tough crap!!!”

I spend too many hours navigating the math and science that goes into calling for a Guaranteed Win to worry about hurt feelings. Using the three P’s – parabolic functions, peyote and the Pythagorean Theorem – I can calculate the result of many Cavalier games right down to the final score.

I believe my overall record on Guaranteed Win Nights is 5-16, but as I’ve said many times, the Optimist isn’t about stats.

The girding of the loins – Some of you out there might have a laugh when I implore my readers to “gird up (their) loins” for a big game. But I’ll bet most of you little heathens don’t know that it’s a Biblical expression. And buddy, there ain’t nothing funny about the Bible.

Check it out: “And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (I Kings 18: 45-46)

If girding up the loins is good enough for Elijah, it’s good enough for you guys. It’s a long season and at times the heavens will be black with clouds and wind and there will be a great rain. But when that happens, you gotta gird ‘em up, y’all. Because a time will come where our beloved Cavaliers will need you to.

The Titanic Tower – World-renown architect and goofy-looking Cleveland native, Philip Johnson, once said: “Architecture is the art of how to waste space.”

It’s as if he had economically-constructed Titanic Tower in mind when he said it.

The tiny dynamo known as the Titanic Tower on W. 3rd in downtown Cleveland is where I was banished to for the high crime of cooking beans and franks on the hotplate in my office. That was the reason my boss, Tad Carper, gave me. But I still have my doubts. And my suspicions say that not being able to work and play with a certain folically-challenged webshill has something to do with it.

With my offices being a few blocks away from the Gund, there’s a whole “Hunchback of Notre Dame”/”Phantom of the Opera” thing going on. The only difference is that the Optimist, unlike those two mutts, is one beautiful piece of man.

OPTIMOÔ – I’m no Rafael Palmiero. I fully acknowledge that I was on the juice this year. I’m not proud of it. But for a while, I couldn’t call for a win without pumping up with prediction-enhancing supplement, OptimoÔ.

Sure, I was ripped. But at what cost?!

Every gameday, I would rub the supplement onto my buttocks – (Hey! I said I’m not proud of it!!) – because I hate needles.

But after three weeks, my hat size went from 7 3/4 to 11 3/4. I tried on a sweater at Tower City and the clerk made me give her a deposit. I was totally out of control.

After an intervention, I’ve been clean for nearly six months. And I’ve never felt better. I want to gird up my loins while I still have them to gird.

As long as Jerry and I have anything to say about it, you'll never walk alone.

The Optimist Calendar – The Optimist Calendar doesn’t deviate that much from a standard calendar, give or take a couple of your Earth months. The exception is that it breaks down by the season. We’ll begin from the beginning.

The New Year begins on the day after the Super Bowl. Unlike New Year’s Eve or even New Year’s Day, this is definitely not a time of celebration. In fact, the day after the Super Bowl could be the worst day of the year.

“That doesn’t sound very optimistic of you,” you might say.

To that I say: Au contraire. (French for "to the contrary.")

With the worst day of the year being the first day of the year, there is no place to go but up. And who can concentrate on making any kind of change during the NFL playoffs? It’s ridiculous. I refuse to have my annual schedule determined by a bunch of farmers!

Moving along: the first day of Spring is either St. Patrick’s Day or the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament. If they fall on the same day, it’s going to be a warm spring. If they don’t, it’ll be a cold spring. You won’t care. You’ll be drunk as a poet on payday in either case.

The first day of Summer is pretty standard: the Friday before Memorial Day. That’s easy to remember.

Finally, the beginning of Autumn can be traced to an exact second. Fall starts the minute Jerry Lewis finishes singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the end of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon on Labor Day afternoon.

In that moment – like all of Brian’s Song or when Kevin Costner says, “Hey, dad. Wanna have a catch?” in Field of Dreams – the Optimist is uncontrollably overtaken by the waterworks. Six tissues and $50 after Jerry finishes, I know that summer is over.

And people, summer’s over.

So if any of you out there reading this column are wearing white, either go home and change or don’t come back for Part II on Monday.