Hello, brother. I couldn’t help but overhear you on this beautiful morning yelling at that squirrel about NFL officiating. If you would stop kicking gravel at the pigeons for a moment, I feel I can help you. Come, sit with me on this bench. Let me move my half-eaten Reuben sandwich. Mind the dill…
You see, brother, I was once like you. I too invested considerable emotional energy in professional sports teams I had no real affinity with other than, at best, a shared area code. I built my identity and an inordinate amount of fashion choices around these teams. Their wins were my wins, their losses my losses, their trades my detailed analyses on sports-radio call-in shows.
Then I hit rock bottom. For you see, my friend, I was a 1986 Red Sox fan. That was not merely a ball that dribbled through Bill Buckner’s legs but my very soul. My sanity. My mortgage I had inadvisably wagered. The following decade was a blur of me angrily confronting vendors at sports card expos, binging on Gatorade and lightly stalking Wayne Gretzky.
But one day, while out of my mind on Rub A535 and muttering about Pete Rose, a man approached me and told me about Finding Inner Peace By Not Giving A Flying Fig About Professional Sports.
Don’t jump so, my friend! You have disrupted the kraut in my Reuben! Sit. Let me share with you the wonders of FIPBNGAFFAPS. For I can see that you are troubled by the results of sporting contests that have no bearing on your life other than the odd digestive matter. Am I also safe in assuming you use “LeBron” as a verb? As I suspected. Here: cradle my pickle while I tell you about my Monday morning.
I awakened gently with the sun and greeted the day with reverence. “Thank you, Giver of Life, for all good things: mattress covers that don’t get all bunchy; itches that can be easily reached; pastrami.” Then I ate my breakfast, showered my teeth and made my way to the bus stop.
It was there that I heard men speaking about a football event in tones normally reserved for long-simmering family grievances. I knew nothing of this match between the Los Angeles Boy Goats and the Swell Guys From New Orleans. I did not catch all their conversation – the referee failed to penalize the quarterback for illegally soaking his hands in Palmolive, or some such; the rules have changed so since I last paid attention. The names they spoke were just sounds to me. I continued to wait for my bus in bliss. And rubber boots.
No, no, I don’t need to hear what actually happened. I’m sure it seems a tragedy of Greek proportions and it is no doubt unjust. But because I do not Give A Flying Fig About Professional Sports, I would be able to offer no more emotional support than if you were to recount a dream in which Ed Asner was rummaging through your chest freezer in search of his spats.
You see, brother, FIPBNGAFFAPS renders all professional sports meaningless. It does not deny the existence of professional sports, for player salaries in the millions prove it must be so. Instead, FIPBNGAFFAPS transcends you to a state wherein professional sport is not an entity in itself but a part of all creation, no greater or lesser than all things – except the New York Knicks who are consistently lesser.
I see you are coming to an understanding. Oh, you’re just eyeing my Reuben. Help yourself. For it is only half a sandwich, still satisfying though not the whole, just as you can eventually watch an occasional sporting event without investing your “whole” self in it. Merely enjoy the spectacle without truly giving a flying fig about the outcome. And this pickle? It’s a Beyonce halftime show. Actually, green and bumpy? It’s more of a Paul McCartney.
But before you can get to that point, my Swiss-cheese-loving benchmate, you must turn away from all sporting events. At first you will Wonder Anxiously About Professional Sports, then you will Participate Halfheartedly in Conversations About Professional Sports. As you free yourself, soon you will Stop Posting Aggressive Memes About Professional Sports, before moving on to Not Knowing Who Was Traded Where in Professional Sport. Finally, with dedication and Monday nights reading a damn book for once, you will Find Inner Peace By Not Giving a Flying Fig About Professional Sports!
The Oscars, on the other hand, that’s a big deal.