This week’s interview is with Seattle Sailors D Murphy “Mutt” Metheny.
SHL Digest: We’re here today with one of the SHL’s more colorful characters, Murphy “Mutt” Metheny. Thanks for speaking to us today, Murphy.
Murphy “Mutt” Metheny: Nobody’s called me “Murphy” since I was in diapers. Call me Mutt.
SHLD: Okay, Mutt. Where did you pick up that nickname?
MMM: Well, my mama says it’s because when I wanted something, I was like a dog with a bone, and I wouldn’t stop ’til I got it. My daddy says it’s ’cause I was a real ugly baby. They’re probably both right.
SHLD: Where are you from, Mutt?
MMM: I’m from Pickle Thicket, Arkansas.
SHLD: Pickle Thicket?
MMM: Yessir. When I say that, everybody thinks I made it up. But it’s a real place. About a half hour from Little Rock. Not that you’d find it on a map; it’s a little flyspeck of a place.
SHLD: Pretty small, huh?
MMM: There were about 300 people there when I was a kid, and it’s probably gone downhill since then. There’s one stoplight, one gas station, three churches, and a half-dozen bars. If you aren’t a drinking man, you can go down to the creek and watch the moss grow. That’s about all there is for entertainment.
SHLD: You’re the only professional hockdey player ever to come out of Arkansas.
MMM: That’s right, but it’s also kind of a cheat. We moved to Minnesota when I was about six.
SHLD: That must have been a culture shock.
MMM: More for them than for me. Those Minnesotans didn’t know what to make of a big ol’ goofy kid who sounded like Forrest Gump. But eventually I found out about hockey. They made me a defenseman, probably ’cause they figured I was already dumb and ugly enough that a few concussions and missing teeth wouldn’t hurt me none.
SHLD: We’ve heard that you’re a collector. What do you collect?
MMM: Keychains. I’ve got over 10,000 of ’em.
SHLD: Wow! How did you get started collecting those?
MMM: Well, my daddy was a long-haul trucker, and he’d be away from home for weeks at a time. But every time he’d come home, he’d bring me keychains from all the places he’d been through. When I grew up, I picked up the same habit. Every time I’d pass through a new town, I’d get me a keychain or two.
SHLD: And from there, you built up to thousands?
MMM: Well, once word got around that I was a collector, people started sending ’em to me from all over. I’ve got keychains from every state, every Canadian province, and a bunch of foreign places too.
SHLD: Do you have them displayed at home?
MMM: I had to. My wife got sick of me filling up the garage with tubs and tubs of the things, so she told me I needed to do something with ’em or they were going straight in the trash next time I went on the road. So I had a friend who’s a woodcarver make me a big wooden map of the USA, and I stuck the keychains from each state up on the map.
SHLD: That sounds cool! Does your wife like it?
MMM: I dunno, I think she might wish I’d just left ’em in the tubs.
SHLD: Do you have a favorite keychain?
MMM: Yup. It’s a purple one from Miami, and it’s got a palm tree and a marlin and a sunset on it. My daddy brought it back from a long haul he took in the dead of winter. After that, every time I got cabin fever from the cold in Minnesota and I missed my daddy, I’d take that one out and imagine being out there on the beach with him. It kept me from going crazy, or crazier than I already was.
SHLD: So, your Sailors have had a tough run after a surprisingly good start. Do you think you can get it turned around?
MMM: Probably not. I mean, we suck, so I figure we’ll probably keep sucking.
SHLD: Fair enough. Thanks for one of the more interesting interviews we’ve ever had.
MMM: The pleasure’s mine. Send me more keychains!