They say no good deed goes unpunished. My deed must have been better than most, because I'm still fairly sore.
A friend recently held a charity fund-raiser for children who want to run marathons or something. At least I think that's what it was for - to be honest, the whole thing sounded suspicious. An event for children who want to eat ice cream all day or play Xbox 360 until their wee hands lock up from carpal tunnel, that would make sense. Kids who want to run marathons? I don't know any of those and I'm not sure they exist.
But when it's "for the kids" it's a social faux pas to question these things. It could have been "for kids who want to join the IRA one day" and everyone would have just shrugged and pretended to choke back tears while opening their wallets.
The event included an auction where people wrote down bids on merchandise such as dinners, baskets full of knickknacks, Phillies hats, Flyers tickets. I was chatting with one of the Sixers dancers when she asked if I was going to bid on something. I'm relatively certain my buddy dispatched her to shame me into it. Women are strong motivators. Unfortunately, lager is an equally powerful logic inhibitor. Combine the two and you've just downed a toxic brew of guaranteed sadness.
For some reason, I decided to place the first bid on a pair of almost-courtside Sixers tickets. There were a lot of people at the event. Surely, I figured, someone else would come along and outbid me - because, you know, the Sixers are super hot right now and everyone loves going to their games. I really didn't care who ended up winning so long as I didn't get stuck with the tickets.
Guess who got stuck with the tickets.
Among my friends, I'm a well-known impulse buyer. My top three worst purchases of all time:
3. Guitar Hero: I played for a week straight with my then-girlfriend and haven't picked it up since. Each morning when I go into the living room, there it is mocking me in the corner, a dust-covered reminder of another failed relationship.
2. Pop-A-Shot Basketball: About eight years ago I bought one for my apartment - instead of a couch.
1. Sixers tickets: I'd have an easier time giving away Guitar Hero and the Pop-A-Shot than getting someone to take these things off my hands. That's what this column is about (I had to get to the point eventually) - trying to unload them on some unsuspecting rube who thinks Allen Iverson still plays here or maybe that Elton Brand is actually worth the sickeningly fat contract he received.
Sadly, those people don't exist. Fans in this city are keenly aware that the once-proud franchise, which ranks next to last in the NBA in attendance this season, has devolved into an unspeakable mess that an industrial-size drum of Purell couldn't sanitize. The Sixers have fewer wins than the Eagles, and just two more than the hapless Knicks. When you reside in the same neighborhood as New York, it's time to burn your belongings and hope the insurance company pays out.
Have you ever tried to give someone Sixers tickets? It's like asking people if they might like a warm glass of curdled milk. You can tell them the lumps are free, but that never persuades them to drink it.
Upon claiming the tickets, I asked friends, family members, coworkers, bartenders, a door man, and several complete strangers if they wanted my seats. Not one person said yes. Most were noncommittal and quizzed me about what night the game is (Monday), who's in town (the Nuggets), whether parking is included (yes), and whether the tickets are part of a cool promotional package like a meet-and-greet with the dancers (nope) or the all-you-can-eat buffet (negative).
Apparently, sitting close to all that hair-raising Sixers action isn't good enough these days. I have no idea how the team sells as many tickets as it does. The marketing people all deserve raises. It was grim last season, folks, but things have gotten even nastier if you can believe that.
So it looks as if I'll be forced to go to the game. I asked - nay, begged - a friend to come with me, and he reluctantly agreed.
"You owe me one," he said.
He wasn't kidding.
Looking for something original for that special someone this holiday season? The Spectrum - yup, still standing - has you covered. Comcast-Spectacor is selling seats from the arena. For $395, you can get a pair, while a single seat costs $295. Too much? Don't sweat it. Folding chairs can be had for the low, low price of $195. What a bargain. I can't wait until they start selling the urinal cakes. ... If you didn't see AMC's miniseries The Prisoner last week, I highly recommend you catch it on demand. It's trippy and well done. ... So I've been wondering: If last week's game in Chicago was the Eagles' Super Bowl, as Quintin Mikell suggested, then when's the parade?
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.