Rarely, oh so very rarely, do we actually get contacted voice to voice by anyone we write about. This includes indirect contact through secondaries, flunkies, coolies, whatever. Being a blogger has that advantage: writing the sort of fever-dream metafiction most blogs consist of mean the subjects rarely have time to read, appreciate, or get enraged at what you write.
Au contraire, though. One coach did actually, indirectly, take umbrage with something we included in this edition of the Curious Index. Was it near-libel? A particularly obscene description of a bad play call or team collapse in a crucial game? Or in the case of this coach and the usual tack sailors of the information high seas take on him, a fat joke?
Negative on all counts. What enraged Mark Mangino enough to have his real estate agent call us not two days later and ask for removal of the screen capture we used in the post? Using a publicly available photo of his house from the real estate agent's virtual website, which is for sale, and making fun of the champagne chilling on a table in the photo.
(This is, removed picture or not, hilarious whenever anyone does it in a real estate photo: "Oh, welcome. We didn't even know you were coming by, lawya, but that's cool. You know how we do. Now, please, just have a seat on the plush sofa, chill, and I'll just grab this Bollinger I just happened to have on hand here." As if purchasing this house will make you seventeen times instant classy, and that like Gurgi's bottomless bag of food in The Black Cauldron, the opened bottle of champagne will be POOF! instantly replaced with a new bottle sitting on perpetually frosty ice.)
So, Friday the 11th, the phone rings.
Quick Google of the area code: Lawrence, Kansas. I put down coffee and answer the phone.
"Is this Spencer Hall...um, Orson Swindle?" Man's voice, Midwestern accent. Slight trepidation, as if he were calling someone who likely didn't speak English, or wasn't sober. (Either's possible here, depending on the hour.)
"I'm [Dude's name here] and I work for [Realty agency name here]. And I've got one very unhappy client here."
The guy is--let's get this straight--all but completely professional in not mentioning his client's name, but he references the post, and that the home owner would really, really like for the photo to come down. Meaning that "the client"--obviously Mark Mangino, if we're not playing hint-and-tickle here--is in a lathered rage over people actually looking at his for-sale house online.
He might have reasons, though what they are remain obtuse to me. Everyone in every college town can find out where a coach lives in seconds. And the house is on the market, and presumably the worst thing coming from me mocking the champagne placement would be a chapped ass at being mocked, unless he's got some fear of someone using the pictures as blueprint for robbing his house.
(Again, Mr. Mangino: if you're reading this, do not fire your agent in a fit of rage. He was beyond professional, even if he did wangle for an apology from us at the end in a passive-aggressive way. Which we didn't give him or owe him.)
This brings up the whole point, though: if you don't want something to go public, don't put it on the internet. Pictures of you having sex, the interiors of your house, you meeting your future 2020 self on the pavement in Vegas, anything you care to toss in the basket: if you don't want someone else to find it, don't put it online.
Jim Tressel and Kirk Herbstreit both had interiors of their homes for sale, and even willingly let them in the paper without protest. It may have even sped up the sale, for all we know, and relieved Tressel of one of his two mortgages. (The other one on the Big House? Expensive, but rewarding.) Mangino, in contrast, flipped out and had his real estate agent call us. Control freak much? All the cans in line? LOTION IN BASKET WITH THE WIRE HANGERS?
You don't drag a program as musty, derelict, and hopeless as Kansas to the Orange Bowl by being a nice guy. From the tiny brush we had with the Battleship Mangino, he really is the perfect guy for the job in that sense. Tommy Tuberville, as chop-blocky as he might be, must be far too nice to ever succeed at Kansas: after all, he gave out his address on the air during a postgame show and keeps his phone number in the Opelika/Auburn phone book.