Before anyone cared who I was, I was just a lowly resident of Indianapolis, Indiana. A mid-sized Midwestern hamlet, famous for speed, NFL quarterbacks with foreheads the size of IMAX screens, and its impressive 2-1 resident-to-Applebee’s ratio. It’s where I toiled diligently, standing on that median and waving the sign that read “CASH 4 GOLD,” hoping motorists would turn in and be willing to sell their teeth for $3 each. I feel a connection to this town. I feel pride when I tell someone where I’m from, and they respond with, “Oh yeah — think I flew over there once.” This town drives me. It made me what I am today.
That day when I was watching a Pocono race, I was making wisecracks to my wife. I’ll never forget her words: “You should really find a way to get these jokes out to a wider audience so that more people can not laugh at them.”
I typed www.twitter.com into that address bar and mashed the enter key with the force of Thor’s hammer. Enter a world I could never have fathomed even at my most inebriated on Boone’s Farm. A world where we could blame Jimmie Johnson for everything from wrecking Dale Jr. to our incurable rectal itch that hasn’t gone away in years. Where we could tell the masses, “I hope you’re race day is wonderful and may you have a pleasant week!” and receive, “Um, your…” in reply. An online utopia where a simple picture of Kasey Kahne in a V-neck shirt could be beaten into bad-joke smithereens, only for those smithereens to be beaten into even smaller smithereens, and, well, repeat this process about 500 times. A vast community that allowed us to bastardize the English language into shorthand like “OMG Blaney TOTES GORG.” I felt at home.
I signed up what feels like ages ago, back when the Car Of Tomorrow was still a good idea and Mark Martin was only on retirement No. 7. As I type this, my follower count currently sits at an astonishing 146,400. And I am told that a good 25 percent of those followers are actually real people and not bots or NSFW accounts. It is with these people I have built a trust.
Twitter has allowed me NASCAR access that I never imagined I would have without yanking Tony Stewart’s hard card off his neck then running away because I know I’m more high-motor than he is and could get away easily. I know a guy who is friends with a guy who plays basketball with JJ Yeley. I slide into Dale Jr.’s DMs and invite him to Bunco night at my house (Standing invitation, Junebug — hit me back.) I’ve been to Jamie McMurray’s house. Not IN. I sort of stood outside and pressed myself against his picture window while he was inside watching “Eat, Pray, Love.” He never saw me but based on my last check of Google Street View, the print is still there.
It is with those aforementioned people that I made a pact. Following Joey Logano’s encumbered win earlier this season, I tweeted this. You probably saw it, liked it, retweeted it, screenshot it, whatever it is you did.
Furthermore it’s not like @joeylogano isn’t gonna win again before playoffs. He will. If he doesn’t, I’ll tattoo DWs face on my inner thigh.
— nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) May 5, 2017
I entered into this pact under the assumption Logano and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford team would easily manage at least another win during the 2017 season. As the season went on and that win didn’t come, my anxiety grew more and more by the week. “Will I end up with something permanent that I don’t want?” I wondered aloud, much like every dude waiting in the green room of “The Maury Povich Show.”
The win never happened. When the checkers waved at Richmond, Logano’s playoff hopes and my hopes for having an unadulterated inner thigh blew away like a tearoff in the wind.
It’s OK, though. It’s difficult to maintain such a high level of competitiveness over so many years. Granted, Joey COULD have waited to have an off year in a year that I HADN’T promised to tattoo Darrell Waltrip’s face on my inner thigh, but I bear no ill will. There is no need to confront Joey about this. I’ve seen video of people trying to do that and they usually end up face down on pit road under a pile of NASCAR officials.
I never make a promise without following through with it, or having a way to completely weasel out of it without any legal repercussions. So as you can see, in all of its glory, is Darrell Waltrip’s face, forever emblazoned across my pasty white thigh.
This is what the people wanted, and this is what I delivered.
To be honest, I thought it would bother me more, but I’ve grown quite accustomed and even fond of his visage greeting me every time I have to apply Gold Bond on a warm race day. He sits mid-thigh — almost like a welcome rest area if you were traveling from knee to gooch.
“Will you be proudly displaying your tattoo at the race track?” you are wondering. I regret to inform you that is unlikely. I am a modest individual. In order for this tattoo to be on display, I’d have to cut my jorts higher than is usually allowed in most track media centers. Even a romper for men is too long. I tried several of mine on — no dice. If you want to see it, perhaps I’ll oblige, but we’ll have to duck into that blue tent where they dunk tires and things’ll get more awkward than Cody Ware’s Twitter account.
This tattoo will not change the person I am — a proud Twitter troll that you’ve probably had muted for years. Instead it will be a daily reminder of the importance of maintaining promises. If you flippantly tweet something, people will remember. MY GOD I wish your attention spans were like Clint Bowyer’s.
P.S. It’s totally not temporary I promise.
(Indianapolis, September 20, 2017)