A few nights ago I found the professor lying facedown on the living room floor. At first, I assumed he was taking a nap. But when I called his name, he looked up, morosely. ‘If you know anything about me, you’d know why I was lying on the floor,’ he told me when I asked what was going on.
As it turns out, I don’t know anything about him. Because I had no idea he was lying on the floor mourning the most recent (cataclysmic?) Twins loss. To the Yankees. Again. I’m decidedly unsympathetic when it comes to the professor’s eternal optimism about his favorite baseball team. Each season begins in the same manner. ‘The Twins are doing really well,’ he’ll announce in the evening, while trying to impress me with their current wins versus losses stats, ‘the Twins are 10 and 1’ etc.
The eternal optimism usually peaks at the start of the playoffs, when he becomes convinced they’re going to win it all. And then…..it’s ‘facedown on the floor’ time.
It’s a lot like being friends with a nerdy boy who is smitten with a beautiful girl; confident her politeness towards him means she reciprocates his interest. And you, his friend, can see clear as day that she’s only being nice to him. But you don’t want to crush his heart by telling him that, so you try to placate him with vague ‘maybe’s or ‘it’s possible’.
‘Maybe the Twins will win it all this year.’ But probably not, darling, since they haven’t won the playoffs in how long?
But this post was actually supposed to be about football. And the professor’s other black sheep favorite: the Minnesota Vikings.
He likes the Vikings a little bit less than the Twins, but still, when Brett Favre threw that interception against the Saints in the last few minutes of the game that would have sent them to the Superbowl….the man was literally depressed for a solid twenty four hours. So why he continues to watch them, only to be disappointed, is beyond me.
We had a conversation last week that went something like this. ‘You don’t share any of my interests,’ the professor lamented. ‘What would that look like?’ I inquired. ‘You can watch Monday Night Football with me next week. The Vikings are playing. And Randy Moss is back,’ he crowed.
Ah, Randy Moss: Golden Boy with an attitude. Played for the Vikings. Released from the Vikings. Back with the Vikings. Football: It’s a lot like junior high, but with bigger people and an obscene amount of money.
In attempt to share his interests, I sat beside Mr. Johnson and watched the third and fourth quarter of last night’s Vikings-Jets game. I think the score was 12-0 when I sat down. The Jets had 12. The Vikings had….zero.
The funny thing is, I don’t actually mind watching football that much. I even find myself cheering on occasion. I just can’t fathom choosing to watch a game instead of doing a million other things (like reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom…which, coincidentally, begins in St. Paul, Minnesota.)
But I’d made a pseudo-promise, so I complied. The professor projected the game against our living room wall. He was watching it online, on some ‘Czech channel’ which means the commercials were…in Czech…and bizarre. Somewhere in the third quarter, Brett Favre finally threw a good pass to Randy Moss and the Vikings had their first touchdown. It amuses me to watch seemingly aloof, un-affectionate males where sports are involved. After the touchdown, the longtime quarterback ran towards his teammate and jumped on him in celebration, which made me wonder: how do you indicate to another player ‘hey, I’m about to jump on you?’ Do you need to ask permission, or offer some sort of warning, first?
Or maybe it’s just understood: if we score a touchdown, jumping will be involved. Be prepared.
With 1:30 to go….in the fourth quarter….the Jets were leading 22-20. And they had the ball. Still, the professor held out hope that the Vikings would be able to steal the ball from the Jets and score a touchdown. Or at least a field goal.
Sure thing babycakes, it’s possible. As in, ‘theoretically achievable’. But it seems much more likely that the Jets will score a touchdown and win the game 29-20.