I’m sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in the outskirts of the Austin area. The air is warm, a cooling breeze pleasantly wafting through as I rock gently back and forth in a wooden rocking chair. The slight creak of the wooden deck, a reminder of my movement, keeps a steady rhythm. I sip on the sweet tea that is offered to me as we look out onto the hilly plains and trees in the distance, a few bluebonnets are still in bloom here. I look at the man across from me, wearing a fake nose and sunglasses and wonder: “How did I get here?”
This story starts where a lot of news stories start in this day and age: Twitter. It’s the place journalists find fodder for articles and is often quoted on other social media in the form of screenshots, it was also bought recently by an Austinite, Elan something or other.
Forebodingly, on Friday the 13th it was announced that Josh Wolff received a three year extension to be the coach of Austin FC. To say this came as a surprise, an important announcement the eve of a match and on a Friday afternoon, is an understatement. Yes, the team is off to a strong start this season (6-2-2 with a tied for league best +13 GD at the time of the announcement) but something else caught my eye amongst the many Austin FC fans debating (and 46% agreeing with the move in our informal Twitter Poll). I kept seeing one account over and over again, an account I hadn’t noticed before @NotJoshWolff.
The display picture is a photoshop of the recently renewed coach in a fake nose and sunglasses, a look made famous by Groucho Marx. His tweeting was somewhat erratic but came back to a basic theme encapsulated here:
For those unfamiliar with the premise, the concept of a “burner” twitter account is defined in the Urban Dictionary as:
As far as we can tell, Josh Wolff doesn’t have an official Twitter account, but we know due to some of his comments in press conferences and to the media that he is keenly aware of the general Austin FC fan zeitgeist, and the best way to keep a finger on the pulse of that is Twitter. So the question has to be asked: could this be Josh Wolff’s burner?
When I asked around at The False Nine Compound, I was told by Andrea Provolone “no, why would he use his own name and likeness instead of using something like ‘Gregggg4eva’ or ‘OwensDaddy420”’ or even ‘RuthlessVerticality69’ that would be totally anonymous?”
“But then what if this Wolff is actually clever like a fox?” Travis McTravelface responded, I tried to ask a follow up, but he was running out the door on his way to Salt Lake City. He’d only shown up to the office to get his per diem for the trip and take part in our now customary regular Champagne afternoons.
That thought lingered in my head, the more I look at their tweets, profile picture, and banner image, the more I saw the genius of it. What better way to have a burner Twitter account than by making it so obviously and clearly fake that everyone immediately discounts it as a joke. After finishing a glass of 1820 Juglar Cuvee, I did what any journalist in my position would do. I sent a DM to his twitter account.I asked if we could meet up to talk, because I wanted to investigate further. Unsurprisingly he responded that he wasn’t back in town and available until Monday (another sign this could really be him). After exchanging a few more messages he agreed to let me come out to his place outside of the city to talk.
I drove out of the city onto two lane highways, seeing the hills outside of Austin, the trees, the ever changing horizon, I felt like I was in a Lincoln and had Matthew MConoughey as a passenger. Eventually the car reached a metal gate with a speaker box, I hit the call button and before I could identify myself I heard a buzzing sound and was told. “Hello Slan, come on up” from the box.
So here I am, in the outskirts of Austin, on a porch enjoying a rocking chair and sweet tea, and as I look past the unnecessary glasses and nose. It could be him, it certainly looks like him. He answered my first question about the Twitter account by saying it’s a bullshit question, and then proceeded to make weird faces as he rambled for a bit without saying much of anything. I tried to follow along, but to be honest, I kept staring at the fake nose and the sugar in the sweet tea was making me restless. Was that his plan?
My impatience built up higher than our current season ticket waiting list, and not wanting to beat around the proverbial bush, I had to use the only foolproof test to determine if this was indeed Austin FC’s Manager. I held up two pictures, one was seafoam green, the other verde, and asked what the differences were between the two pictures.
His response: They’re the same.
I stared at him for a minute after this. “Really, you don’t see any difference?” I asked again, pushing on this most important of topics.
“No, they’re both Verde” He said, smiling, happy with himself and his answer. He sat back in his chair, hair perfectly quaffed, clothes right out of a Bonobos ad. “I appreciate that you came out here to talk to me, but your time is up. I’m trying to figure out how to explain ruthlessness in front of goal to Djitte, but unfortunately my French is as bad as his finishing.” He stood up quickly and shook my hand and thanked me for my time, telling me to watch out on the drive out.
I walked to my car and looked back at him, still wearing the glasses as he leaned against one of the posts on the front patio and waved good bye. I couldn’t help but think “that’s a man who knows he has job security for the next three and a half years.”
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