There are a lot of things in life that I would love to be good at, to understand, or at the very least tolerate. I’d like to be able to slice open a brain and turn it into a pretty bowl for cradling dip or perhaps a warm pool of gravy on Thanksgiving. I’d like to be able to snap my fingers. I’d like to be able to exist in the same room with Henry without finding thirty-two annoying traits he harbors.
But these are all dreams for a different day. Like perhaps, a day when patience pays a visit.
I decided to instead start at the bottom and choose something less complicated and patience-oriented to learn: Football. I know, I know, I’ve been down this road before. But I’m tired of people talking about The Game at work and asking me if I watched The Game and then following that question with a horrifying intake of breath and then a "What do you mean you don’t like football?" Plus, I really want to have a Superbowl party this year so that Henry can make dips and perhaps some delicious cocktails and any other time I try to have football-focal parties, I end up getting irritated when people, I don’t know, watch the game and stop talking to me? I’ve adopted the "If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em" mentality and I’m ready to do this. I want to scream and holler and yodel at all the right moments. (It’s hard to do that when you always stubbornly root for the opposing team and have no other cheers to piggy-back.)
Unfortunately, finding a teacher hasn’t been easy. Henry threw in the towel years ago, my step-dad doesn’t have the patience, and I was going to ask Kim but last week when she and Eleanore were listening to THE GAME on the radio, she sounded oft-confused and kept saying things like, "But why? WHY DID THAT HAPPEN?" and she seems to spend more time saying things like, "Oh that’s the guy I like he’s so hot" which is great! It really is — that’s the mindset I like to take too, but this time I’m really serious. Almost like it’s for a grade and if I don’t get an A, my parents are going to pelt me with searing hot coals and torpedos.
So my work frienemy, Collin, was brave enough to step up to the plate (that’s baseball, right?) and we met up at a bar on Sunday for some serious football schoolage. As I left the house, Henry called out from the couch for me to wish Collin luck. I’m not that bad. Jesus.
In between having valuable oxygen and elbow room stolen by a pack of older aged bar hags (and their fresh-from-the-links boisterous male counterparts) and having an intellectual discourse about the taste of blood (we both think it tastes decent), Collin actually did try to learn me a thing or two. He even went so far as to draw diagrams in my purple memo pad (from Rhonda!) and a purple pen; he looked even more masculine than usual.
I got distracted a lot though. I couldn’t stop fixating on the brusque bartender’s ill-fitting pants that kept slipping down enough to assault us with a flash of ass, and every time he would replenish my amaretto sour I would sing a "Yay cherry!" song in my head. Then I contemplated my good fortune upon seizing a quarter that the group of older people left behind; it was thrilling to take something that was theirs. I really did hate those people. This one lady was standing right behind me and kept cramping my style. She was the whore of the group, for sure; probably the girl who taught the other girls how to give blow jobs back in sixth grade. I bet she rides on the backs of Harleys and spouts off predictable double entendres, too.
"I’m going to go home and write a story where they all die," I whispered angrily to Collin. He laughed, but only because he probably didn’t know he was going to be part of the death toll.
Then Collin and I talked about how great I am for awhile too, because that was more exciting than watching football.
When I came home that night, Henry asked me what I learned.
"I learned that the one guy with the hair went to Pitt and that orange and black striped stick is what they actually see on the field instead of the bright yellow line we see on TV and that fifty-year-old women look like assholes when they try to dress like a twenty-year-olds, especially when they have husky voices and the physique of a body-builder."
"What?" Henry looked exasperated, but then erased it with a shake of his head. "What teams were you even watching?"
"Two red ones."
Later that night, I remember something crucial. "Oh! And I learned that there are about three feet in a yard."
"Not about three feet. Exactly three feet. That’s normal mathematics."
I’m still having my damn party, though.