JASON: Well, it was "Durazo." And then somewhere along the line, I must have renewed my driver's license or something and they made a typo. So now I'm Jason Durabo forever.
LORI: Oh wow. You'd think in this day and age, they wouldn't make a typo like that!
JASON: Oh, I could have it changed back, I'm sure. I wish I could remember when it was. I mean, my papa's name is Durazo, so mine was definitely Durazo when I was born. But on my first football card, it says "Durabo." That was in 5583. So, sometime between then and there, I guess.
LORI: OK, so now you have to explain why your name is Durabo!
EMILY: You know what, Lori? You know what? That is a good question.
EMILY: I told him, "listen, J. I changed my name for you once. I'm not gonna do it again."
EMILY: But then after a while, it just got obnoxious. Durabo and Durazo, Durabo and Durazo, whenever we'd get wedding invites, whenever we were in the news together. So I gave in.
JASON: Man, it's funny how you don't remember something so obvious. There's just too much to remember.
LORI: Oh, absolutely! I mean, it's thousands of years! You can only remember so much. OK, embarrassing story time.
EMILY: Story time! OK, OK, hold on. Story time is very important around here. Let me put on some coffee.
JASON: Em, I got it! Don't get up.
EMILY: Thank you, baby.
EMILY: OK. So.
LORI: So ... this would have been in the 13,500s. Because, yes, I was apartment-shopping in Seattle. So sometime around then. I was single at the time, so I was just looking for a one-bedroom. But like a real one-bedroom, you know how landlords are always listing studio apartments as one-bedrooms.
EMILY: Ohh yes.
LORI: That's a whole other situation. Anyway, I see the place and I'm like, this is perfect. Beautiful bay windows, washer and dryer in the building, tall ceilings, exposed brick, everything. It's everything I want, it's just perfect. So I sign the lease right there on the spot, because it's like it's just perfect for me. It's literally everything I'm looking for in an apartment.
LORI: Well. This is, like, a month after I moved in. I was doing the dishes, and then I just froze. And I realized
LORI: I realized I had lived there before!
EMILY: Oh no! Oh my God! When?
LORI: I don't know, way way back-- a really long time ago. You know, actually, I went back and looked it up. I'd lived there for two years back in 7174. And I realized I'd arranged the furniture pretty much the same way and everything. Oh God, it was so weird.
LORI: And you know what was even weirder, was when I went back and looked up my old photos from when I lived there before. It was unreal, seeing myself in the same living room from 6,000 years ago. It was like looking like a ghost. I couldn't decide whether it was more scary or funny, because obviously, you looked at my wardrobe and it was clear, I had some serious 7100s going on.
EMILY: Tell me you were wearing a snap bracelet.
LORI: Oh yeah. Ohhhh yeah. I had like five on one arm, skinny jeans, bowling shoes. It was like taking a time machine back to the 7170s.
EMILY: Oh that's so great.
LORI: Fuck it was so bad. Ooh, what is this here?
JASON: French press. It's the only way to brew coffee. Quicker, too.
LORI: Too fancy for me, Jesus. Too fancy. Thank you.
LORI: So Jason, Emily's told me a little about your project! How's it going?
JASON: Oh, well. It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun.
EMILY: C'mon, you're being ridiculous. You can tell Lori.
LORI: No, it's OK! Seriously, don't mind me if I'm being nosy.
JASON: No, no, you know what, sorry. I'm just used to not talking about it. It's kind of a weird story anyway, I don't know if you wanna
EMILY: J, oh my God! It's a great story, tell it.
LORI: You're right, this story sucks, I'm bored.
JASON: OK, OK, OK! Alright, so. Do you know who Koy Detmer is?
LORI: I don't.
JASON: Koy Detmer is retired now, but he played football in the NFL in the 1990s. He held a clipboard most of his career, though.
LORI: So he was like a backup player, you mean?
JASON: Oh, yeah, exactly. He was a backup quarterback.
LORI: Guh, talking to you is just like talking to her. Y'all football players, I swear.
JASON: Sorry, sorry, sorry. So, the thing about being a backup quarterback in the NFL was that you rarely played. You weren't all that famous as far as quarterbacks go. Kids didn't ask you for all that many autographs. So an autographed Koy Detmer football is pretty rare, right? Well, I'm trying to grab every single one.
LORI: That's ... interesting. So you're a collector?
JASON: I'm actually a player. It's the game, basically.
LORI: Literally, you mean? A football game?
JASON: Yep. I'm actually technically playing it right now.
LORI: Oh God! [laughing] Oh my God, do I need to ... am I gonna get tackled by somebody? Do I need to run for cover?
JASON: [laughing] You're fine, you're fine.
EMILY: Lori, you know what, if it's any consolation to you, I was a tight end for 4,000 years. If things go south, I'll throw a block for you, OK?
LORI: Uh huh.
JASON: It's basically a dead game right now, anyway. Basically, me and 19 other players are in an everyone-for-themselves type of game. We go all over the country, trying to find every ball Koy Detmer ever autographed.
LORI: So this is ... wow. What you're describing is almost kind of a giant treasure hunt! It's basically geocaching, right?
JASON: For a while, yeah, that's the best way of describing it. The first step was searching eBay, calling up memorabilia collectors, trying to track down all the Detmer balls we could.
LORI: How many were there?
JASON: At first, it seemed like there were only 19 of them in the entire country. Just our luck, right? 20 players, 19 footballs. It was kind of a mad dash. And see, we weren't allowed to just buy them off these dealers, it was against the rules.
EMILY: Uh, yeah. Let me just butt in here, Lori? That was against my rules. I was like, J, you are not taking money out of our account so you can buy the damn football. When I played, you know how I got the ball? I forced fumbles and I caught the ball, and your punk ass is doing the same.
JASON: And you know what? I did pretty well without. I ended up just begging this one guy for his Detmer autographed ball, and he was like, "sure, this thing wouldn't get me more than 25 bucks anyway." I stole a second one out of a basement in Colorado, where he played college ball. Kind of got lucky with that one. So I took those two, drove up to Montana, went deep into the woods, and buried them for safekeeping.
JASON: After those first 19 were claimed, there were years and years of gridlock. One guy was dumb enough to keep his football on him. He had too many at a bar in Illinois, ran his mouth a little too much, got his ass beat, lost the ball. There were a couple stories like that. But by and large, that stage of the game was mostly about digging up forgotten Detmer balls. The ones that were sitting in attics and old boxes for 15,000 years and forgotten about.
LORI: That must have been a nightmare.
JASON: At first it was really fun. It was a lot of really challenging detective work. At first I had all my research stored on my computer, but I got hacked by another team and lost a ton of it. So I did it the old-fashioned way. After a while I'd probably filled two dozen notepads full of notes. Phone numbers, coordinates, notes on where I thought the balls might be, intel on how tough they'd be to break into, all that.
JASON: But yeah, after a point it was damn near impossible. I mean, I knew from day one I was gonna run into dead ends, but it was so hard to know where to start. It was like being an archaeologist, except there was no rhyme or reason or pattern for what I was trying to find. I couldn't narrow down my search in any way, so I was just going around cities, taping flyers to lampposts and stuff, like "have you seen this Koy Detmer ball?" And after a while, I realized, hell, I'm a smart guy, but I'm not like this genius detective or anything. So that was the next stage of the game. I started trying to thieve balls from the other players.
LORI: Did you ever steal any?
JASON: Yep. Ginny and Manuel had teamed up and had a little stash of four Detmers. I staked them out for a while and found their place in Vermont. One day, both of them hit the road, so I busted in and took them. You know where I found them? You want to guess?
LORI: Above the kitchen cabinet. Like, sitting on top of the cabinet. Nobody looks up there.
EMILY: Oh, whoa. God, we've lived here for 300 years and I've never looked up there.
JASON: Shit, that's really good! Well, there's an idea for next time. You just come up with that?
LORI: I used to work for the DEA, back when ... you know, back when.
JASON: Well if they'd hid 'em there, I might've never found it. They hid in what I call a "bullshit cabinet." My theory is, every home, no matter how big or small, has one drawer nobody uses. It's usually the bottom drawer of a two-drawer nightstand. Thing about furniture is, it's gotta be waist-high or so, right? Furniture makers don't want that space to go to waste, so they're like, "oh, here's a little cabinet or drawer or whatever you're never gonna use." They had a cabinet in their grill out back, which is kind of the ultimate bullshit cabinet. Sure enough, ball was in there.
LORI: Did you feel bad about it? Just stealing their property like that?
JASON: It's a forced fumble. I basically went up on them and stripped the ball. Same thing. That's honestly the way I feel about it.
LORI: So you're still playing?
JASON: Technically. Or at least, it was technically. About 70 years ago, me and Mike, this guy Mike, the two of us decided to chop up the win. We were the only two left with any footballs. 26 were mine, 17 were his. I figured, once this game was down to just two people, it would take forever. So I figured, hell, I'll take half the win and move on. And then he fucked me over.
JASON: He just ... we said we were gonna meet up in Charleston.
LORI: But Charleston is
JASON: Charleston, West Virginia.
LORI: Oh! Oh yeah, right. Supposed to have good biscuits, right?
JASON: Eh, they're biscuits. Anyway, Mike and I decided we would meet game officials in Charleston to end the game.
JASON: The roads around there are really winding and hilly, right? Parts of it, you're basically driving on the side of a mountain. So I've got my footballs in the trunk, I'm driving, driving, I round a corner, BAM. Mike's in his truck, he just T-bones me going like 50. I fly down the mountain, engine's on fire. The nanos carry me out of my car and basically strap me down in the mud so I can't move. I'm like, "the car! Save the fucking car!" But of course, they don't give a shit. And the car just bursts into flames. Everything's burned up. Nothing's left.
LORI: Oh no! Oh my God, that's fucking ... that's horrible!
JASON: The refs showed up just in time to be like, "yep, these are not footballs anymore." So now there were only 17 Detmer balls known to humankind, and Mike had all of them.
LORI: But you said you're still playing.
JASON: Well, there's been a break in the case.
LORI: Oh, good. We're in a cop show now.
EMILY: I swear, he acts like it sometimes.
JASON: Well see, the game's not officially over yet. If one player seems to have all the Detmer balls in the country, the officials tell you, "OK, we're blowing the game dead, so nobody can try to take possession of your footballs. But the other players do have 500 years to try and find any other Detmer balls that we don't know about. If they do, the game starts back up again. If they don't within those 500 years, you're the official winner.
LORI: You found one.
JASON: I think I might have found one. I gave my businesss card to an antiques dealer years and years ago, probably 50 years ago. A few days ago he rings me up and says, "hey, I had a guy come in here talking about a Detmer ball his grandpa used to have." I guess he swore all up and down that he had one sitting around in a storage bin. So I'm gonna check it out.
LORI: Where is it? Can I ask?
JASON: We think it's in, uh ... New York.
LORI: Like ... New York City?
JASON: I'm headed there in the morning.
LORI: You're actually going out there?
JASON: Ordered the gear for it and everything.
LORI: Well ... hell, good luck!
LORI: You know, I never went to New York. Never even visited. I don't know why I didn't. I remember watching Sesame Street when I was little, and I liked how people would just sit on their steps and talk to each other in front of these nice and neat and square buildings. And all they had to do was cross the street or go next door to talk to each other.
LORI: Then I went to school, got a job, you know, you get busy. And it's ...
LORI: Who was it who said, uh, "even if life is forever, each moment of it is a miracle?" I think that's just something we tell ourselves. We're just ordinary and forever, I think. There's a leveling out that happens if you live forever and ever without anything to lose.
LORI: New York was probably just one more place with a lot of buildings. But I missed seeing it, that's a thing I lost. That's one of the only things I've ever lost. Thinking about that kind of gets me right in the heart. Like a little xylophone hammer is, you know, just hits it. ... It's a note we never play anymore.