I am going through the stages of Delusion, fully expecting to land squarely in a thorny patch of reality. What are the stages of Delusion? I don't know. I think its different from plain old Denial. There might even be actual stages of Delusion, but for our purposes, let's just say that when I heard at about 4 am on local news radio yesterday that Brett Favre had been traded to the Jets, I thought I was literally still dreaming. When I tried to shake the dream away some more, I thought that maybe news radio was pulling an early morning hours prank on us again. Early on in our relationship, my wife and I swear that we heard the news radio guy say, "In other news... free french fries at Little Pete's Diner tonight." We heard wrong (but really - we heard it).
Likewise, with the Favre story, I figured they were just playing with one of the few Jets fans I know in Philadelphia. And believe me, I know myself - kind of. Anyway, once I digested it, I felt the unease that accompanies a false vision or hallucination. If you've ever had a fever dream that wandered into consciousness, you know what I'm talking about. At first, you try to shake it off, but it's not going anywhere. As Auden says, the vision seriously intends to stay. So there are stalagmites hanging from the ceiling. Someone painted the face of a clown on your wall. Your floor is 70 feet away. OK, you think, if this is the way it's going to be, then OK. I'm ready. It's whacked. But OK.
The vision kicks in. Brett is here to stay. To stay. Right? Right?
ESPN spoke glowingly of the deal last night. The Post, the Daily News, and Newsday all put Favre on their covers. The Times? In their usual, detached, can't-be-bothered approach to the Jets, the Times was kind enough to make it their lead in the sports section, but the first three paragraphs of the top story made it clear that the Jets fan (they presume such persons are not Times readers) is getting Favre for only a year. He's not staying, they indicated. Favre himself said, "We'll see" when asked about it. Oh, the Times seemed to suggest - like the iniquitous girl who sat next to you in your 10th grade Chemistry class back in the day - oh, you think he likes you? Oh my God! How funny! Oh, no. Nooo. He just feels sorry for you. Silly Jets fans. Aren't they so...delusional?
What's horrible is that like the bitchy classmate, the Times is often right...well, I guess with the exception of when they insisted that Clinton step down from the Presidency, or when they initially supported Bush's war in Iraq. And then there were the plagiarism scandals. Outside of that, though, they enjoy a readership in that reality-based part of the American mind that seems less important to both the News and the Post. But though I read their paper, I hate the way the Times has always relished the inadequacy of the Jets, as if they were forced to report on the bastard child as well as prince. As if the Jets were the only team that moved to New Jersey. And while the Jets are definitely not the team that won the Super Bowl last February, and while Brett probably still wants to get with an NFC team that might play Green Bay twice in a season,... I mean,...well...y'know...
Well, look at Newsday. They changed the color of their paper's trademark on the cover to green just for the occasion. You know? It's just thoughtful. Jesus. You know? A weary fan appreciates a story that exists outside the realm of reality sometimes. For now, the vision still seriously intends to stay - even if Brett doesn't.