Vidos Speech, 2001
In the spring of 1999 Ė a few employees at a fledgling telecommunications company got together to form a co-ed softball team. A simple task- it was almost an extended work function really, Just a couple people with a common interest, which everyone was quick to admit was merely a precursor to the nite of drinking that would inevitably follow.
I don't know that there was even a team name back then, probably just a number on some roster. A team determined mainly by who could make it that night, who couldnít, and what last-minute fill in's showed up. I couldn't tell you all the names of the people on that team - it was before my time- back before my last name became my NAME, before I drew applause for walking into a bowling alley, before a group of beautiful girls would charge into Matilda eagerly asking
"Where's Vidos, Where's Vidos". All of which I still baffles me.
No, back in 99 that team did not have a name, didn't have uniforms, and as far as I know, didn't have a discernible character or presence. But that team, that team was the foundation for what you see before you, and what we are all here tonight in tribute to.
I've played Mullet softball for 2 or 3 seasons now. I play Catcher. It's a glamour position: Canít catch? cant hit? cant throw? Hey! - You get to play catcher!! One of the many perks of being the cornerstone, of the team, the #1 spot, is that while I stand there for an hour, watching Batt get LIT UP, I get to talk to the umpire every once in a while. Last season, me and the ump were talking before the game and axed me " So.. Why Mullets?" I looked at him blankly. "Whatís up with that, what's it mean, why y'all called that?" again I looked at him blankly. "Well, honestly buddy" I said, "I have no idea. See that tall skinny kid at center... I think it was him - the dude's out there. We're lucky we're not called Fecal Matter, or Pubis, or YoYo Fuck you Mother Fucker".
I later went on to single-handedly lose that game - but some time after that it dawned on me: Why are we called The Mullets? How did we get that name, how does it possibly apply to us? I mean none of us has a Mullet, well, Roy had something going on there for a while, but not a true-to-form Mullet. No one here has ever been on Springer, We're not White Trash, not all of us anyway. So what?! What is it then?
What is it about that name that we so readily embrace?
Now we all know what a Mullet is.... Actually it's some salt-water fish found only in the oceans of the North Pacific- Yeah.. I looked it up. But in for all intents and purposes - we pretty much know what it is. Out of a doublewide in some trailer park in Central Alabama some dude stumbled into the town barber shop and muttered " Say Earl, whatta ya say ya leave it lowng in back this time?" And so it became: The Beaver Handle, The Camaro Mullet, The Kentucky Waterfall.
And I can only assume that either Nate or Roman or Z or one of you guys at some point wore a Mullet - and more than likely a ridiculous one too. That would explain the continued fascination. A personal joke carried over through the years between good friends? I donít know. But is that enough, enough to justify subjecting your team, your friends, with the stigma and connotations of being named after a bad hair style?! If so, we could have just as easily been called The Members Only Jackets, or The Garanamals. Or any inside joke that no one understands.
No, I think there's more to it than that.
There are probably more than 50 websites out there dedicated to the sole intention of identifying and humiliating people with Mullets. People publish dumb books, make up songs, tell jokes, or outright openly ridicule people with Mullets. I wouldn't be caught dead in one; I can't see anyone here growing one out. It took a couple years but Roy got rid of his!! But even up against all that, in the face of overwhelming adversity - you see them every day. And you see those people with their heads held high, walking with smiles on their otherwise unattractive faces. Walking with pride. Do these champions of bad taste hold this level of self assurance, because they're just like that and they happen to have bad hair, or is it the hair that makes them that kind of person? I don't think it's either one.
I think they conduct themselves with such confidence because of what that stupid looking haircut means to them. Itís not the Mullet itself Ė itís what it represents to them. That one determining factor ... that One Thing that no matter what, lets them at least be able to look in the mirror and say " I have a KICK-ASS MULLET!"Öand to them - thatís something. Is that pathetic? Yes - but if you are lucky enough to find that Thing - you take it where you can get it. Cuz itís not easy. And itís different for everybody. Now, am I gonna stand here and tell you what that thing is, do I even know what it is... Obviously not, believe me, or I would be giving a much better speech. But they HAVE it. And they know it. And for them it comes in the form of a Mullet. So maybe the joke's on everyone else. Because who's to say they shouldn't walk tall, and be proud, those people who get so much out of something so simple? I know I do the same thing: I'm proud of those crappy T-shirts we got from the Union.. Damn thing fit me like a dress - but I wore it every week, because of what it represented to me. I'm proud of the super cool bowling shirt Melissa got me with my name embroidered on it. and of the First Place Porn Mullets and especially of my
Should-Have-Won-That-Fucking-Championship-for-the-Last-Two-Seasons-In-a-Row softball team. And Iím proud of that team 2 years ago, that has become This. Because I am a part of This. I have a team of MulletsÖ that cheer for me when get a hit, or throw a strikeÖ and tell me itís alright when I donít.
And maybe for me thatís my One Thing.
So if we have to be called Mullets, I'd like to think that's what our name is based on. Because DO I have anything in common with that Camaro-Drivin, Obese Wife-havin, minimum wage makin inbred dude with short hair on top, long hair in back?
Hell yeah I do.
He's got his Mullet.... And in a way, I've got mine.
A few weeks ago I was well on my way to a perfect 97 game at Diversey Bowl, when one of the members of the team we were playing introduced me to the rest of her group. "This is blah blah blah," she said. "This is so and so, and I don't really know those 3 very well". At the time I couldnít have cared less - I was bowling like shit and wasn't feeling exactly chatty. But later I started thinking about it and kinda felt sorry for her. I was thinking... this nameless team, this number we're playing, they're the Mullets 2 years ago - but it's not working for them. They don't high five after a tough spare.... They don't cheer, loud.... They don't do the strike dance... They don't give props out on the way back from the bar.
That one thing, that one intrinsic, effortless, indescribable thing - they didn't have it. Most teams don't have it. Most people donít have it .
But whether it's bowling, softball, or just hitting the booze afterwards.... Weíve always had it.
So, as you proceed to stuff your faces tonight, and get loaded like I wish I was right now - I want you to take a look around at the group that is assembled here tonight.
This is your team
This is your friends
These are your Mullets.