“I don’t know. What is she, Joe?”
“She gets out this summer,” Joe Hirsch said.
“Uh huh.” Joe Willie Namath said.
There was a stop at a place with offices and Namath was walking through the hall and the elevator operator came after him and called out, “Mr. Namath, if you don’t stop in this office, you’ll break the heart of one of your biggest fans.”
The operator led Namath to an office where a blonde in a pale yellow dress sat at a typewriter.
“Well, hi,” Namath said.
“Hel-lo,” the girl beamed.
“How are you?” Namath said.
“Fine,” she said. “Do you remember me?”
“Of course I remember you.” He repeated her name. She beamed. “You’ve got a good memory.”
“Still got the same phone number?” She shook her head yes. “That’s real good,” Joe said. “I’ll call you up. We’ll have a drink or three.”
“That’ll be terrific,” she said. “Like my hair the new way?”
“Hey, let me see,” he said. He looked closely at her pile of blonde hair. She sat perfectly still so he could see it better. “It’s great,” Joe Namath said. She beamed. “See ya,” he said.
Walking down the hall, Namath was shaking his head. “Boy, that was a real memory job. You know, I only was with that girl one night? We had a few drinks and we balled and I took her phone number and that’s it. Never saw her again. Only one night with the girl. And I come up with the right name. A real memory job.”
When the car got to the Jockey Club, Namath, who had been in the back seat, began to get out. Pulling himself by the hands, he got up, turned his body around and came out of the car backwards, hanging on, not moving for long moments while he waited for his two knees to adjust. Now you could see why Sonny Werblin worries about the right chance at the movies for him. All the laughs of Joe Namath are based, as laughs always are, on pain. And this is a kid who has made it to the top on two of the most damaged knees an athlete ever had. His next game could be the last. So today he swings.
In the Jockey Club, he drank Scotch on the rocks. When it was time for him to leave, he asked the bartender to give him a drink in a plastic cup so he could have something in the car. He shook hands and left to get the plane to Pensacola, where his girl friend goes to a school whose name he doesn’t quite know.