Monday, January 15, 2007

...My Cheating Heart

One of the funniest scenes in the movie Election comes when the Matthew Broderick character, a married high school teacher, shows up at the home of his best friend’s ex-wife with the intent of starting an affair, but instead finds himself attacked by a swarm of angry bees. In the context of the movie this was supposed to demonstrate the type of luck this character was used to experiencing, however, it seems to me you could just as easily call it karmic payback for attempting to cheat on his wife.

I’ve had a couple experiences like that myself. When I moved down to Southern California I was still involved in a serious relationship with my college sweetheart, going on 3 years. Even though it was never said outright, I think we both assumed once our lives were a little more settled (she had a semester left before she graduated, I was just starting out my career) we’d get married and start a life together.

This didn’t stop me from messing around on her just a couple weeks after I moved (discussed previously here). I was out with a group of friends from work, bar hopping in Long Beach. I hit it off with a friend one of my co-workers had brought along and in short order we were making out pretty heavily. When the group I drove out with was ready to head back home, this woman requested I instead stick around with her. When you let your ride home for the night take off so you can spend additional time with a woman you’ve been tongue-kissing for the previous few hours, I think it’s pretty obvious what you’re intending.

Walking back to this woman’s apartment, she came up with the ill-fated idea that we should first stop in at another bar for “one more drink”. No sooner had we sat down than this woman struck up a conversation with the guy sitting on the other side of her, who she eventually determined to be more to her liking. It was obvious I was going to get screwed in an entirely different way than I had originally anticipated.

On the SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLAR, 40 mile cab ride back to my apartment, I comforted myself with the idea cosmic forces had intervened to prevent me from cheating on my girlfriend. Because that’s a lot easier to digest than “I just got totally rejected, degraded and humiliated”.

I had an eerily similar feeling yesterday watching the playoff game between the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots. After a lifetime as a 49ers fan, I recently changed my allegiance to the Chargers (discussed previously here). Unceremoniously dumping the team I’ve been rooting for since I was 7 years old, the team I was such a big fan of as a kid it became an annual tradition for my dad to take me to a live game at Candlestick the Sunday closest to my birthday, the team I watched win 5 Super Bowls throughout the 80s and 90s, all because I didn’t have the patience for them to go through their current “rebuilding” process.

I don’t remember exactly which point in the game yesterday – maybe when Eric Parker fumbled a punt return, perhaps when Drayton Florence inexplicably headbutted a Patriots player after 3rd down, resulting in a 15 yard penalty and fresh set of downs, or possibly when Marlon McCree intercepted a Tom Brady 4th down pass only to fumble the ball, returning possession and better field position to the Patriots – I got to thinking maybe this was my karmic punishment for being disloyal to the team I grew up with. How else do you explain how a team who was so dominant throughout the regular season essentially hands a victory to the opposition?

Maybe it’s time to take that old 49ers sweatshirt out of mothballs.
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