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GUEST VOLUMN ‌ Why I'm Me

And Phil Knight is Phil Knight

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I am the dumbest man in the world. There is no one more stupid, more shortsighted, forgetful, or just plain boneheaded than me.

I wish that I could wake up tomorrow and be anyone other than me. A garbage man. A third grade teacher. Or a pimp.

I feel like a one-winged bird. A bird too weak to fly. A bird so helpless that the other birds feed him to keep him alive. A bird so stupid that he doesn't even know he can't fly.

I don't usually feel so bad about myself. In fact, I almost always wake up happy, but that won't be the case tomorrow because I made a big mistake. An error that actually effects starving, dying children.

You see, when I'm not writing this whimsical column, I run a sports ball company legally named Fireball Golf. We created Fireball Golf eight years ago and I made a small profit for five years from which I fed myself and my growing son, Gabriel. I was most grateful for this minor success of Fireball as it afforded me the opportunity to live in a beautiful place, help raise a healthy child, and generally worship life.

Just over three years ago, my ex, who is a physician, read about a group of AIDS orphans whose caretakers could not afford the drugs to save them. My ex thought I should do something to help them. I pointed out to her that I was a struggling golf ball maker and former comedian and that these sort of problems were better solved by Bono and Bill Gates. She asked that I think about it. So I did.

I decided that it would be fun and potentially profitable for these children if I turned over 100 percent of my Fireball company profits to children, in perpetuity. We quickly discovered that we were not going to be selling more golf balls. As I suspected, our audience of the average male golfer cares very little about the needs of dying Third World children. So, we started making soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, and the like and approached major corporations with youth and child consumers. Groups like the Boy Scouts, Peace Frogs, Life is Good, and Paul Frank Industries.

After three years of work, our first major client was the Boy Scouts of America.

Days ago, after over 1,000 concerned and fretful days, we delivered 4,525 soccer and basketballs to the Boy Scouts for sale in their 5 million catalogs, websites, and 100 retail stores.

I figured that we would change our company name to Fireball Sports as soon as the balls went up for sale and create a Fireball Sports website. I checked the web in the past months and found no Fireball Sports website in existence and had "Fireball Sports.com" printed on the balls.

The balls were delivered to Boy Scout corporate headquarters. All looked swell and I was trying to enjoy the days until the Scouts paid our posted invoice. Then we could pay the debt for producing the balls and get some money to these children ... finally.

Then, while in Florida working on making more balls. I got a phone call from the Boy Scouts saying that they were not going to sell any more of our balls or pay us for any of the balls until we solved a problem. Boy Scout administrators found a Fireball Sports website — not ours — in the U.K.

The Boy Scout business office said they would be returning all 4,525 balls to us without payment.

I drove back all night and I'm trying to solve this self-inflicted dilemma.

All I had to do was stamp the balls Fireball Golf, same as the past eight years, or purchase the domain name. I got lazy. I got forgetful. I got tired. I was poor. I was stupid.

I've never had a personal debt before and now I have one of over $40,000 with no way to repay.

So much for the grand idea of a "permanent source of wealth for the needy." I'm a jackass.

Does anyone have Phil Knight's number and an e-mail address at Nike? I would give anything for a 10 minute sit-down with Phil. Phil makes balls correctly.

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