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Whose the Bonehead?

by Dear Jon
October 21, 2003

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Sort 238_Dear Jon-Whose the Bonehead? ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Bonehead,

Thanks for ruining the Cubs and Red Sox chances for a World Series. Any fan of either team knows you don't stir up the wrath of God by invoking His name when it comes to Cubs baseball. What are you, a Marlins fan? Well, I hope you are happy now that the Cubs lost the championship. A clear sign that God is "putting things back in order" to me would be to watch your Packers choke in every game! Do us all a favor and stay out of sports! Stick to advice for lonely guys who can't get a date!

Sincerely,
Disgruntled Cub fan


Dear Grunt,

Obviously you do not understand the economy of fate. What cursed the Cubs was the optimism, the euphoria, of Cubs fans with the 3-1 lead. Gone was the recognition that the Cubs had been there before. “Only one more game! It’s in the bag!”

There was a sense, throughout the city, that being shut out in game five in Florida merely meant the Cubs would win it in front of the home crowd. I tried to warn my friends with whom I watched the game. I tried to warn them that Prior and Wood were due for off days, that the problem with Game 5 was not Zambrano; the problem was that the Cubs bats had fallen completely silent.

At the Game 6 party I attended, plans were made to head down to the Wrigley neighborhood to celebrate BEFORE the GAME WAS OVER. This is as foolish a provocation of fate as I have ever seen. Putting on jackets at the top of the eighth inning to go and celebrate a victory in baseball, especially when it is a victory for the Cubs, is something like shouting in the ear of a sleeping lion or grabbing a cobra by its tail. It is Odysseus flipping Poseidon the bird. It would be one thing if the Cubs were up by 15 runs and all the Marlins starters had pulled their hamstrings. But no, this was the Marlins, still healthy, the same team that had come from behind in all their play-off victories EXCEPT the one game where they shut the Cubs out.

The Cubs fans are the very reason that the Cubs lost out. But not for pessimism. It was the euphoria and sense of entitlement of people like YOU, waving the finger at fate. So, as a voice from the wilderness, I hereby declare the 10 Superstitions of Sports:
  1. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
  2. No lead is so great that a mishandled kick-off or three pitching changes in a single inning can’t blow it.
  3. A dismantled dynasty means years of fan misery. Don’t bother hoping.
  4. Just be grateful your team has decided to stick around town. You never know who might be moving to Los Angeles.
  5. Some things in life must be constant in order for the Earth to remain in stable orbit. For example, Chicago cannot have more than one championship sports team at a time; if it were to have more, it would throw the Earth off balance. Chicago must pay for the dominance of the Bulls in the 1990’s in order to restore harmony. This means that, with the possible exception of the Blackhawks, professional sports team in Chicago must suck for at least another fifteen years.
  6. The ONLY way to change this dynamic, is to direct absolute pessimistic fatalism toward the Clouds of Witness enshrined in the East (Cooperstown and Canton). Be CONVINCED that, not only will your teams choke, but that they DESERVE to be terrible, and that you, a Chicago sports fan, DESERVE your suffering. Before every two-minute warning, and at every seventh inning stretch, Chicago fans should repeat the following mantra: “We are not worthy. We are loyal to our teams for the sake of the game. We are not worthy.” If you are lucky, the fates may smile on your show of abject humiliation.
  7. Minnesota fans need to realize that the comparatively recent success of the Twins has completely restored the balance after four Super Bowl losses by the Vikings. In other words, NOBODY owes Minnesota fans ANYTHING. The same goes for Michigan. New England has the Patriots winning the Super Bowl just a couple years ago, and still owes for the dominance, decades back, of the Celtics. This is not good news for the Red Sox.
  8. Fate has pre-ordained the following states to unparalleled sports glory: New York, Florida, Texas, and California. To balance these perennial winners, there must be perennial losers. Upstate New Yorkers have been punished with the Buffalo Bills, but otherwise the losers are concentrated in the rust belt (Ohio) and upper Midwest. If this did not happen, North America would slip off its shelf and collapse into Hudson Bay.
  9. Unless you are from New York, Florida, Texas, and California, cheering a victory before the expiration of play is about as effective a guarantee of causing defeat, as is driving a steamroller over your team’s knees.
  10. If you accept that this is the way the universe is designed, you will do the smart thing: You will cheer for your team but you will always bet on the Yankees.

ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I want to break up with my boyfriend but I don't want to hurt his feelings. I don't hate him. I like him but not love him, understood? How can I face this problem? He loves me a lot.

Signed,
Confused


Dear Connie,

You are obviously a long-time reader to know that you can ask Dear Jon for a masculine yet sensitive point-of-view.

There are a whole lot of variables that make every relationship different. For instance, he might be your next door neighbor or you might live in different countries. The levels of intimacy your relationship crossed is going to be an issue in a break-up. Other variables include that he might be a jealous psycho-path, you might be a man, etc.

I am going to assume that you are a young single woman, that your boy-friend is not married, that you live in the same area, and until now no one has warned you to take out a restraining order against him; in other words, that you are “normal.”

Romance is centered on hopes and dreams. Disappointment is the normal, healthy reaction to seeing a hope become impossible and a dream broken. I have empathy for your empathy, but if you are asking me for advice on how to break up without hurting feelings, I have to tell you that there is no healthy, truthful way.

The only alternative is to conduct yourself neurotically, and in your heart-felt desire to spare his feelings, resort to deceit and subterfuge. This can be accomplished either by elaborate lies, or, by changing your personality so that he “discovers” another side to you. Choose from a number of traits: cruelty, or neediness, or dopiness.

For example, if your boyfriend likes baseball, choose the early innings of a decisive game in the World Series, call him, and insist that he come over because you need him. When he arrives, take about four hours to explain why you are upset with your best-friend’s mother over some kind of minute detail regarding something completely inscrutable to the male mind as an object of contention (for example, center-pieces for informal dinners, or sequines in panty-hose). Tell him that you have an intuition that this tiff is turning your best friend against you. Men do not understand intuition and they are afraid of it. They are more afraid of it when intuition defines a fight between two women. Men have “hunches” but not intuition. By then, he will have a “hunch” that he should be watching the Yankees, because his “hunch” is that he will have nothing to say that is the least bit helpful. He will make an attempt, though. When he says something to the effect that he does not understand the big deal, be sure you take mortal offense. Be sure you cry a lot.

By timing your outbursts just right, you will become a nuisance that he will actively avoid. (Football season is really God’s gift to women who want to dump their men without hurting their feelings.) He might even write me a letter in a few weeks asking how to break up with you.

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