Sunday, January 6, 2008
Chinks in the Armor
Expect Nothing. And be pleasantly surprised when something happens.
I tried very hard to put my new mantra into practice last night while watching the Steelers. For a half, it was very easy. I expected nothing, they gave me less than that. I entertained myself by surfing the web, which made each interception and sack slightly less painful. ("eh, who needs an offensive line? Look at these pretty mugs!") And then, the second half, they began to come back. "Expect Nothing," I told myself firmly as Miller made an outstanding catch on fourth down for a touchdown. I remembered that years ago I wanted his jersey and didn't buy it knowing I would only jinx things and he would either suffer from a season-ending injury or move to another team. You see? If this pessimism and cautiousness fills the part of my life filled with two-dimensional guys in tights on my tv, it's no wonder the rest of my life is just ass.
But the Steelers continue to pleasantly surprise me. And suddenly we're ahead, with the ball, with very little time left. We run a few dud plays and it's third down and six, and we really need this to continue to hold the ball and run the clock. And dammit, my expectations start to seep through.
Certainly ultrasound technology can sense if your unborn child's nervous and cardiovascular systems are completely and severely fucked up?
Certainly family members will be supportive during the holidays of the worst year of your life?
Certainly this man who gets paid to draw up plays will come up with something better than I -- tiny female on my couch who just spent the first half looking at pretty dinnerware on my computer?
And I'm staring at the lineup thinking, "Good lord, he's going to run the quarterback." No. He wouldn't. He couldn't possibly.
He does. Quarterback picks up two yards, and they punt. And Jacksonville gets the ball back, comes down the field, zips their chubby quarterback through our defense like a knife through melted butter, kicks a field goal, and we lose.
And I hurt. Turns out I do expect things, or I at least expect things and people to try their damnedest even if the results aren't good. I expect to know if my child is going to be born with severe problems, I expect to know in advance that family will act stupidly so I can avoid delicate situations with them or at least tell me honestly that they don't like dealing with dead babies, and I expect pro coaches to fucking THROW the ball on third and six when the game is on the line. And you know, if the results are grim, and family acts like asshats, and they drop the ball, at least you know they tried, and you can prepare for the dagger in the eye. Well, that was nice while it lasted.