Well, we are proud to report that our copy of Bill Simmons' Now I Can Die In Peace arrived at Deadspin World Headquarters last week, and, as tends to be the case with Simmons' writing, it went down smooth and quick. It took pretty much two days to read, and we read slow.
The question most people have asked us most often about the book: Is it just a collection of his old columns. Frankly, we thought Simmons had addressed this already, but whichever: Yes, it's a just a collection of his old columns, broken into new sections with original intros to each one. We'd be hard-pressed to rip him about this, and besides, the real appeal of the book are the footnotes.
Yep, Bill has gone all David Foster Wallace on us; the book is jam-packed with little addendums and obsessive meta-commentary befitting a guy who we always imagine is up all hours of the night Googling himself. (We're just as bad.) No years-old sentence has gone overlooked; Bill's always questioning himself and revealing too much, changing his mind, hopping back and forth between bravado and insecurity.
Did we enjoy the book? Yes; Bill, whatever you think of him, is always a fun, breezy read. Once you get past the jarring nature of Bill using the word "fuck," it's a good time. But the footnotes have kept us mesmerized; it's almost Beautiful Mind-esque (we imagine the walls in Bill's study covered in Post-It notes). After the jump, our equally obsessive statistical breakdown of the 501 footnotes. Prepare to be overwhelmed.
(All statistics approximate; we have an early galley of the book that very likely will have changed in the final version.)
Total Number Of Footnotes: 501
Number Of Footnotes Featuring Direct Quotes From Another Column That Bill Wrote That Didn't Make The Book: 66
Number Of Footnotes That Feature Direct Insults To The New York Yankees And/Or Their Players: 29
References To "Saved By The Bell": 7
References To Gabe Kaplan: 5
References To Gabe Kapler: 2
References To "Life Goes On" That Made Us Almost Pee: 2
References To Pop Culture Things We Have Simply Never Heard Of: 13
Media People Bill Finally Gets To Cut Loose On: Too many to count. But Joe Buck should enjoy this book.
Spin Doctors References: 2
Spin Doctors References In Any Other Red Sox Book: 0
Wrestling References: 13
Fever Pitch References: 9
Jimmy Kimmel References: 11
References to Sarah Silverman as "Jimmy's girl Sarah": 1
Great Stories About Darryl Hannah Backstage At "Jimmy Kimmel Live": 1
Great Stories About Snoop Dogg Backstage At "Jimmy Kimmel Live": 0, sadly.
In addition, we feel like Bill's maybe a little too confessional in this book. Here's a smattering of facts we learned about Bill, from the footnotes alone.
• Bill learned how to read when he was two years old.
• Bill once wrote a screenplay about college life (which we will someday find).
• Bill's first erection came while watching Cheryl Ladd on "Charlie's Angels."
• Jaclyn Smith was "asking for it" from Bosley during every episode.
• The first person Bill called a "fucking asshole" was Mickey Rivers.
• The fact that The Skipper from "Gilligan's Island" never got his due has been nagging at Bill for more than 30 years.
• Bill knows, um, nothing about buying pot in a foreign country.
• You can sum up modern professional sportswriting by the phrase "press box hot."
• Bernie Williams is a dick.
• Bill's mid-90s relationships mirrored the lyrics of Counting Crows' songs.
• Bill has never drunk an appletini.