Bateman: When it comes to Tweeting, number 34 knows the score

By Oliver Bateman

Until Rashard Mendenhall seized the opportunity to tweet his thoughts about the death of terror… Until Rashard Mendenhall seized the opportunity to tweet his thoughts about the death of terror celebrity Osama bin Laden, we hadn’t paid much attention to the work of professional athletes on Twitter. In fact, owing to the confusing symbols (“@BigSexy69 roflmao”) and poor layout of this service, we’d avoided it altogether.

However, Mendenhall — a self-described Twitter “conversationalist” — opened our eyes to the multifarious possibilities of this new medium. After perusing the Twitter feeds of other top slam dunkers and home run sluggers, we concluded that there is simply no better way to communicate with one’s friends, admirers and stalkers. Long-form birth certificates, magazine articles, text messages to specific people (“us: sup dawg” “u: nm u”) and even award-winning humor columns like this one are all tl;dr, especially when you take into account how many hours a day you need to devote to doing biceps curls and watching the uncensored director’s cut of the groundbreaking reality film “The Real Cancun.”

Here’s an example of what we’re talking about. On April 27, the stuffy old New York Times published a passel of tedious articles about stocks, equities, derivatives, interests, mutual funds, pari-mutuel funds, golf and various other topics that only a mothball-scented, Werther’s Original-proffering grandpa could love. Most of these stories were as long and involuted as our beloved Constitution, requiring at least two and often as many as three click-throughs to finish. My goodness, haven’t these people seen “The Shawshank Redemption”? Get busy living or get busy struggling to finish reading these 500 somnolent words!

On that very same day, Rashard “The Conversationalist” Mendenhall tweeted a succinct account of his goings-on: “For the record, I was sitting on my couch and reading. Now I’m listening to Amy Winehouse and getting ready to go eat.” See, this is what the people want — horse’s-mouth content without a single wasted syllable. While The New York Times was shoving that mutual funds-golf-and-derivatives nonsense down our throats, Mendenhall had deigned to give us the straight dope on the things that really matter in life: sitting on the couch and reading, then listening to the dulcet tones of everyone’s favorite rehab-spurning chanteuse. This isn’t just relatable — it also happens to be the most riveting nonfiction since Jon Krakauer recounted the martyrdom of rugged outdoorsman and Emory University alumnus Christopher McCandless in “Into the Wild.”

Mendenhall’s feed is a cornucopia of helpful tips and tricks. He dishes on the ladies, noting, “Women are some of the most SELFISH creatures I know!” before going on to explain that, “The most beautiful woman, is the one who understands.” He reminds people that he’s more than just a bowling ball of a running back, entreating them to realize, “I’m human, and I’m not always trying to talk about work…”

To which we say: Amen, Rashard! Much like that “understanding” woman to whom you adverted in your spellbinding tweet, you’ve got it all figured out. And we want to be perfectly clear that we’re not having a laugh at your expense here — we know how much you hate cowards who would “stick a knife into my back” and respect people who can “look me in the eyes and stick a knife in my stomach.” Unlike the people “who are scared to look me in the eye because of what they’ve done,” let us assure you that we’re on your side.

Once you’ve discovered a feed as rich and full as Mendenhall’s, there’s little reason to look elsewhere for entertainment. Why bother with 350 pages of a lesser John Updike novel such as “Memories of the Ford Administration” when you can read Mendenhall’s April 18 tweet that, “Most chicks got they hands out, the right women will put her hand in. #Real.” This one is so unspeakably beautiful because, like all great art, it’s filled to bursting with the cold, hard truth.

He followed up that noble sentiment with the equally poignant, “I will FOREVER be cold to O’s… however, I will eternally respect a real woman.” Wow. It almost goes without saying that Mendenhall understands women better than they understand themselves. If feminists are searching for evidence that their work here on Earth is done, they need look no further than this dynamic pair of tweets.

In short, we can find no reason to read anything save for the tweets that comprise Mendenhall’s feed. The inner workings of the universe are accessible within these terse declamations, and each of his followers is sure to find that her thoughtways and lifeways will be changed, broken, swollen, emboldened and embiggened by them. We’ve been so overawed by the this outsider artist’s corpus that we’ve decided to resign our position here at The Pitt News and relocate to a broken-down school bus parked in front of a Big Lots just outside the Allegheny County line. It’s been nice knowing all of you, true believers.

Relax, folks: Your ever-loving, blue-eyed Moustache Column of America ( isn’t going anywhere. However, we are planning to launch a microfiction twitter that might one day move your souls in much the same way that Mendenhall’s glorious feed does.