Thursday, August 05, 2004

Empathizing with Isiah

Reconstructing the Knicks is not Isiah Thomas’ toughest task of the summer — and the three years afterward.

Nor is the salary cap a big issue for Isiah.

His major problem is dealing with the ineptitude of Cablevision.
After trying to return a cable modem the other day, I will never mock Isiah again. There was enough incompetency in those 12 minutes to outduel the people in the production and marketing meetings for “Gigli.”

We begin with finding the store. The back of my cable bill says the store is in Nassau County and Huntington at the same time. This explains the hiring of Scott Layden.

A call placed to the phone company produced no known listing for this store in Huntington. The ghost of Frederick Weis strikes again.

Finally, the store appears on the horizon. Perhaps the suffering is over, just like the return of Stephon Marbury to his hometown.

But Marbury has never won anything aside from a PSAL title with Lincoln High School, so my confidence is running on empty (River Phoenix imagery not included).

Walking through the automatic door which had to be pushed open, I feel like Isiah Thomas — trying to come up with a plan to deal with Cablevision intelligence and still prove beneficial to the rest of society. It’s a difficult task.

“Can I help you?” the clerk asks.

Here we go. Another sub-.500 season and a sweep in the playoffs!

“Yeah, I’d like to return this cable modem,” I reply.

“How come?”

“When I switched to Optimum Voice, which by the way should be called Optional Voice because you never know when it’s going to work, you people took the cable modem I bought on my own. And when I canceled my account, you people decided to charge me $100 for this modem.”

“Well, you swapped it out with this one.”

This explains the hiring of the losingest coach in NBA history.

“I guess I’ll repeat myself.”

I repeat the story. The logic of Cablevision taking my modem, then charging me for this one seems lost on this clerk, much like the trade for knee-impaired Antonio McDyess.

Incompetency is clearly a core value for this company. How does Isiah handle this? Can I sign-and-trade this clerk to the store in Lynbrook? Maybe include a draft pick to get someone in here from the Freeport office? I’ll take the salary cap hit if I have to.

Eventually, the situation is resolved, but not until the manager comes over. She was nice and seemed to understand the nuances of a computer. This was equivalent to Whoopi Goldberg becoming the coach of the Knicks in the movie “Eddie.”

On my way out of this debacle, I begin a newfound respect for Isiah Thomas. He has two hands tied behind his back and his shoelaces are tied together, too. Good luck. You’re gonna need it.

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