Living in today’s world is rough for every single one of us. You try and do something just to get ahead, and The Man knocks you back. Try harder, get knocked back further. It’s a cold, cold world we’re living in, and things ain’t warming up any time soon.
In this most difficult week for Lakers fans, perhaps none has had it tougher than Michael Fanter.
I’m sitting with him by the tiny pool in his aging Hollywood apartment complex when another tenant slides open a window and shouts into the courtyard.
“Hey, Pau Gasol! You suck!”
I’m walking with him down a bright and busy swatch of Hollywood Boulevard when three young men follow him with jabs and jeers.
“Hey, gutless Gasol! I’ll dunk on you!”
Days earlier, Fanter was standing in the back of a nearby bar watching the Lakers get swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the NBA playoffs when people literally turned on him. Every time Gasol missed a shot, patrons would spin around from their drinks and fill his face with accusing fingers.
“Gasol, what are you doing?” they would shout.
What Michael Fanter is doing is attempting to make a living. He considers it but a temporary misfortune that his job is to look like the distinctive player who has been distinctly blamed for the Lakers’ collapse.
“When Pau Gasol is going bad, business is bad,” says Fanter, 26, grinning. “But when Pau Gasol is going good …”
Dag. This is just like the beginning of “Zoolander,” only without everyone being really, really, ridiculously good-looking. One second you’re on top of the world, looking like the world’s finest bearded center. The next, you’re getting heckled on the streets while everyone tells you how much better your brother is at impersonating people. Things can change that quickly in the high-stress world of celebrity mimicry.
Even worse, Fanter still has to trim his neckbeard like Pau’s, just in case. Tragic.