I have to admit, I've never been much of a movie fan. Mainly, because I'm a tennis ball and frankly, we get a bum wrap on screen. Movies like The Sandlot objectify baseballs, and showboat-y basketballs are always getting those slow-motion close-ups. Hell, that volleyball from Castaway got higher billing than Helen Hunt. The only time you ever see us on screen is when some couple on the verge of divorce have a passive-aggressive match to play out their long-simmering resentments. And before you bring up Match Point, let's all agree, that has its own problems.
Still, on its face, I get that working for Harvey Weinstein could sound like a good gig with lots of room for opportunity. You imagine days on a posh tennis court, hanging with Meryl while she works on her backhand and future Oscar speeches. Well, there was a court in my future, just not the one I had in mind.
I remember my days on the shelf of the Mount Kisco Modell's, so bouncy and green (some might say yellow, but that's up for interpretation), dreaming my life outside of the can. I imagined ending up at the US Open, soaring through the air as I was smashed back and forth by the Williams sisters. I'm sure most tennis balls would find my dream of playing in the US Open laughable - a million-to-one shot - but I landed that other one-in-a-million shot: I'm the ball that gets pushed around by Harvey Weinstein as he shuffles from his office to the Tribeca Grill.
I could've ended up in the hands of a misguided twelve-year-old boy who thinks that the way to make friends is by learning to juggle. Instead, I spend my days getting slammed down by an overgrown man-child who rambles on about how he got more girl-on-girl in the Frida Khalo biopic. “I did that,” he says, “I made that happen.”
I'm not saying other tennis balls don't have problems. There are balls that spend their lives as nothing more than a dog's chew toy, covered in bite marks and saliva. I mean, yeah, that's horrifying. But you know what else is horrifying? Watching Harvey try on bathrobes while he pretends to have a “hotel meeting.”
Would I trade places with one of those balls that end up suspended in the garage to help people park? In a heartbeat. And before you start in on how uncomfortable that must be, let me just say you don't know discomfort until you watch Harvey offer a cocktail waitress tickets to Finding Neverland, only to be told by his assistant that the show closed on Broadway over two years ago.
Then there are the balls that spend their lives in the laundry room, thrown into the dryer in place of fabric softener. It's a dizzying existence for sure, but so is navigating throngs of paparazzi on a daily basis. Plus, those balls have never ended up in a Vice exposé that sent Harvey into such a rage that he called the publisher, screaming, “Is this the way you treat the man who gave the world, ‘How ya like them apples?!'”
A tennis ball comes into this world expecting to play tennis. We know it's not easy work, but we're built to handle the pressure (12 psi to be exact.) We expect to be judged by tennis officials, not Ronan Farrow. Dealing with a tantrum from John McEnroe for going out of bounds is one thing. Dealing with a tantrum from Harvey Weinstein for being banned from setting foot in a Massage Envy is another.
I want to be clear, this isn't about what I'm doing as much as it's who I'm doing it for. If I had I been affixed to the walker of, say, a retired school teacher who needed me to help her get to water aerobics, I think I could have found a sense of purpose. But my job is to literally support a man who deserves nobody's support. I can only hope that one day, I hit the curb wrong and send Harvey crashing down.
Once I dreamt of flying, but now grandest ambitions aren't even six inches off the ground. My life is a literal drag.
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