Photo by Andrea Morales
You may have heard this by now, but the Grizzlies made a pretty radical change to their starting lineup last week — moving future “Mayor For Life” Zach Randolph to the bench and starting Jeff Green in his place at power forward — and are now joining the NBA trend of playing “small ball,” using a smaller, more agile lineup to spread the floor and defend better. But, bottom line, the Grizzlies used to be big, lumbering basketball giants, and now they’re not. Here are some other things in Memphis that could use some downsizing:
Memphians, in general. One poll last year ranked Memphis the most obese large city in America. We all know why that is: You can’t throw a rock in Memphis without hitting a good BBQ or fried chicken place that would instantly be the best such restaurant in any other city on Earth. The fact that we have so many means we spend a lot of money on pulled pork (or chopped, at Payne’s and The BBQ Shop, but I didn’t come here to enter any religious debates). Maybe we should eat less and walk more?
Our Confederate monuments. I’ve solved it. By adopting the Grizzlies’ strategy of going small, we can solve the debate over what to do with the city’s statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis. Hear me out: We replace the current statues with 6-inch tall versions. No one would be able to accuse us of “removing our history,” and we wouldn’t have to look at them. Everyone wins. Besides, Jefferson Davis was a mediocre rebounder anyway.
Our empty buildings. This one is actually already underway, with the ongoing renovations of the Chisca and the Sears Crosstown building. If you’d told me three years ago that both of those buildings would be undergoing major renovations by 2015, I probably would’ve laughed it off. That said, the city’s lineup of abandoned buildings is still a little too large. With any luck, the Sterick Building can be rehabilitated soon — according to Wikipedia, it’s the fifth-tallest building in town (though I really should’ve asked Vance Lauderdale that question), and while I’m sure it’s nice to have such a large obstacle course for urban explorers, it’d look a lot better with a fresh coat of paint.
Potholes on Tutwiler. This one’s a little personal, I guess. Some of these things are approaching Kola Superdeep Borehole status. (By the way, have you ever read about the Kola Superdeep Borehole? One of my favorite scientific experiments ever. “Hey, guys, what if we just see how deep of a hole we can dig?”)
Our expatriate web commenting community. I could live my whole life without seeing another one of these:
When I used to live in Memphis, it was beautiful and you could drink straight out of the Wolf River and there had never been a single crime committed and everyone lived in perfect harmony and no one ever went more than 8 days without mowing their front yard, but now I can’t get west of the Wolfchase exit without being gripped by mortal terror. If you move there, invest in an armored personnel carrier or else you can forget going to the Kroger’s. Or, better yet, move to Kabul, which is probably safer.
Seriously, folks, we get it, and we got it the first 37 times you commented on this web article about a Girl Scout service project at the Zoo.
I’m sure, as small ball continues to grip the NBA, that it will start to trickle down into other aspects of life here, and this seems as fine a place as any to start shrinking some things.