Every year, Columbia University awards Pulitzer Prizes in 21 categories and Friday evening, the DMN's Barry Horn made a bid to take home at least half of the prizes with one brilliant, timely, revealing, thought-provoking, humorous, insightful, profound blog post.
In "Why a 1998 meeting with Randy Moss 'really disappointed' Jerry Jones," Horn tells the tale -- 14 years in the making -- of the day that Randy Moss met Jerry Jones. I know what you are thinking. Finally, we will learn why the Cowboys passed on the playmaking wide receiver in the 1998 draft...
BUT IT'S TOTALLY NOT ABOUT THAT AT ALL!!!
Horn masterfully baits you into thinking that you are going to read about NFL superstar Randy Moss meeting Jerry Jones but instead he tells you a story about how there was this one time, a long time ago like maybe 14 years or something and what happened was that there was this writer for the Startlegram named Randy Moss but not THAT Randy Moss.
(Randy Moss & Randy Moss -- Randy Moss the writer is the one on the right, with blue eyes).
And then Jerry Jones was at Lone Star Park watching the horse races and someone said something about how Randy Moss was there and that maybe he would like to meet him and then Randy Moss -- but not THAT Randy Moss -- heard about it and thought, sure I would like to meet Jerry Jones so he went to Jerry's suite and introduced himself and Jerry had NO IDEA who he was!
Horn borrows from the comedic structure of Three's Company in this piece. Like, there is this whole misunderstanding that sort of begins to snowball into something that is totally out of control and it is freakin' HILARIOUS.
But I invite you to look behind the humor on the surface of this piece -- and I know that's asking a lot because, I am the first to admit, this is one funny MF'n piece -- and read it again, and again and again until you start to understand something about Randy Moss (not THAT Randy Moss).
Moss -- but not THAT Moss -- hears that Jerry would like to meet him. Horn exposes the hubris of Moss (the writer) as he reveals the writer's thought process in making sense out of the invitation to meet with the Great Jerry Jones. "Sure," thinks Moss the writer, "why wouldn't he want to meet me? He probably wants to get some betting tips and I'm from Arkansas just like Jerrell Wayne Jones, so sure, he would want to meet ME."
You and I know that could never happen. And Horn shows the reader the respect not to point out the obvious.
Obviously, if Jerry Jones needed gambling tips at Lone Star Park he wouldn't need to get them from Randy F'n Moss the racing reporter for the Startlegram, all he would have to do is tap Norm Hitzges on the top of his head and ask him to get out from underneath the dining table for a minute and take a look at his Daily Racing Form.
In this way, Horrn draws from the minimalist narrative style of a young Hemingway who creates space for the reader to contribute to the creation of meaning. He doesn't bludgeon us over the head by spelling out every single detail of the scene. He avoids a didactic narrative structure that attempts to control meaning by overwhelming us with background and context.
And that is where one finds sympathy for Randy Moss the writer because somehow, he is sadly the only one involved in this narrative (i.e. Horn, Jerry Jones, you, me, anyone who reads it) who either too stupid to realize that Norm Hitzges is certainly already right there, ready to wear everyone out with his analysis of the fourth race (probably a $12,500 non-winners of two for three year old Texas breds), or drunk.
Is Moss the writer really that dim? That full of himself? That blissfully unaware? What shortcoming, what character flaw, led him into such an awkward situation? Once again, Horn leaves it for us to speculate. This narrative technique -- what Ronald Pierspont Schleifer has termed the "cognitive-deferred ending" -- is something that, on one hand leaves many frustrated (and here I refer you to the final episode of The Sopranos) but which also gives the narrative a life that extends well beyond the text itself. Though unsatisfying on some level, it continues to give by giving you so much to think about, and no end to how long or how much you can think about it.
So I am totally giving this piece an endorsement and I hope that it gives you as much pleasure as it has given me. And not just because it is funny, but because it's is really freakin' deep and stuff.