Book Review: ‘Damn Right I’m From Cleveland’ by Mike Polk

Read an epic scathing review of Mike Polk Jr.’s book Damn Right I’m From Cleveland.

damn-right-polkEvery nonfiction book makes a promise, stated or unstated, and Damn Right I’m From Cleveland: Your Guide to Makin’ It in America’s 47th Biggest City by Mike Polk states its promise right there in the subhead — to help the reader make it in Cleveland.

I picked this book up thinking, “Maybe I’ll learn something that can help ME make it in Cleveland. Or maybe I’ll learn something I can share with my cousin from Lyndhurst while he waits for his arraignment. This confident-looking man on the cover, Mike Polk Jr., is wearing a natty suit and boldly-chosen socks. He’s drinking that cocktail with such nonchalance. He’s doing OK. I bet there IS good information in this book. I bet I will find out how to make it in Cleveland.”

But I didn’t. I didn’t find out how to make it in Cleveland at all.

For example, I don’t understand how using a crudely pasted cartoon of city founder Moses Cleaveland fleeing Cleveland right after he founded the city is supposed to help me make it in Cleveland. If Moses Cleaveland cannot make it in Cleveland, I’m not sure anyone can. At this point, nine pages in, Polk should have realized this book was a fool’s errand, and he should have returned his reported $30 million advance to Gray & Co. Instead Polk rambled on—drunkenly, for the most part—for another 100 pages.

Damn Right I’m From Cleveland is a crooked river of nonsense.

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A Miami Heat fan walks into a bar

Miami Heat fans are as classy as you think they are.

I learned something about myself last night. If I’m in a bar with you, and we just met, and you’re a Miami Heat fan from Southern California (how does that happen?), and you start making fun of Cleveland sports teams, like more than one comment, I will walk away from you while you are talking.

It’s one thing to make a joke to break the ice. Totally acceptable. I also like when my old friends and fellow fantasy football owners do it. It’s expected. I kind of love it.

But if you’re some dude in an ooont-da-da-oontz shirt and there are dozens of beautiful women around, and your team JUST won the title, and your priority at the moment is trying to add new sports misery to my already-existing sports misery, there is something seriously wrong with you, because I don’t think you’re trying to have fun, I think you’re either on Mystery Method overload (neg everyone!) or you want to fight.

I don’t fight, and I’m not a club girl (now that I’m married), so there was no reason for me to continue listening.

When he said, “Mario Chalmers is sick, yo.” That probably should have clued me into how the rest of the conversation was going to go.

I should have just shaken his hand and said, “I’m sure you’re nice, but this sports-themed conversation really isn’t working out. Hey, there are plenty of fish in the sea. I’m sure one of the other guys in this bar would love to talk to you about Udonis Haslem’s mad rebounding skills.”

Same guy, 10 minutes later, was at the bar talking to my friends, and while one of them was in the middle of telling him something he answered his phone and said, “Dave, you have to get up here. We’re partying our asses off.” Then he put his phone away and acted like he hadn’t rudely interrupted everyone. What I’m saying is, there is no reason to doubt he was a Miami Heat fan.