Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jets 26 Bengals 14

I love this football season, and not just because the Jets won this week. It's because I have no idea how all this nonsense is going to work out. I can't tell who's going to win what division. Jetskin Pete Kendall tried to run with the ball and fumbled. The Jets are winning in the unconvincing disguise of the New York Titans. The Tennessee Titans are the best team in the AFC. The Lions have a quarterback named Orlovsky. The Bidwell Family Cardinals beat the Jerry Jones Cowboys, and now Tony Romo has a broken finger. The Chargers beat the snot out of the Pats. Heavens to Mergatroid. This - this is what your momma told you a real football season was like.

Of course it helps a lot more if the Jets win, and they did, despite three Favre turnovers. Has Thomas Jones ever scored three touchdowns in a Jets game? TRICK QUESTION! He had two all last year! Abram Elam's excellent tackling yesterday served as reminder that he needs to be placed on the updated list for #27 in the NYJBTN. That's way overdue. And little Hank Poteat needs to be placed somewhere on the list for #23, especially after he enabled the much larger Calvin Pace to recover a fumble yesterday. It's nice to celebrate the little things. I'm not sure that the Jets did many of the little things all that well, but hey, they won, which is more than New England did. Did I mention that The Ones Of Whom We Do Not Speak got blown out as badly as the Jets did against the Chargers? Well, duly noted.

I have to say that following a Jets game online is a strange experience. It's like reading a game through distant smoke signals or by getting it ship-to-shore. You must be satisfied with the unpredictable "live" updates, knowing that more recent things have already happened. Plus, it's the Jets, so any kind of insane upending of fortune is possible, and you're just sitting there, waiting to get word of some inevitable tragedy. On this Titanic, the iceberg is on shore. You're much safer on the boat. Never leave the @#$%ing boat.

It's almost as strange as the experience of seeing grown men in my father's generation in the 1970's trying to watch games on their unreliable black and white TV's. Cranky male neighbors with drinking problems, uncles, friends' emotionally unstable fathers from down the road, even my own Dad from time to time would crouch down, looking into the errantly flipping TV screen or the snowy reception, hoping for a stable picture. In the bluish-grayish frame the man sees a representation of all that has gone unsatisfactory in his life; he is able to distinguish an almost perceptibly demonic, taunting smile in the midst of all that fuzzy interruption of an afternoon's respite, and it makes him think of everything in his life that has gone unattended and unrealized. Or maybe it's just that he sees how life has thrown up an obstacle when he's most vulnerable. No matter what his achievements in life, no matter how close to OK things went at work this week, no matter that he traded up for a Chevy Nova this year - he's not going to be able to watch the game on TV today. It makes him absolutely crazy. The worst part, though, is that he can't dodge the feeling it's his own fault. Shit, he says, getting louder to more than just himself now. I shoulda junked this @#$%ing thing last year while they had a goddamn sale at Sears. What was I thinking? And when his vain efforts with the white knob in the back of the RCA yield nothing new, when turning it on and off again doesn't work, he commences to beat the hard plastic TV top as a last resort. It's hard to see it as anything but a gesture of despair. The sound of his fist, pounding on the set's faux wood paneled top, is audible all throughout the house. His words are nearly clouded in the punishing sound of each concussion. What! Was! I! Thinking?!?

Anyway, it was a little like that today, only I have my laptop, and it's borrowed from the school. And when the little transmometer-thingy toward the top of my MacBook screen goes in and out of focus behind the little computer display thingy, signifying that the wireless has temporarily gone out, I feel a little like all those angry, gameless, sorry Dads and men of a Sunday long ago. Their only option was to return to the mundane chores to which they'd been assigned by gender - to leaves, to a garage oil spot, to hedges, gutters, and trees. But then the thingy comes back, the mimed game goes on with slow update after slow update, and I can go on.

And when it was all over, I breathed such an unsatisfactory sigh of relief that my wife dropped her crossword puzzle down just to observe that, "When you find out that the Jets have won, you're like someone who's just been told that he might not die from his cancer." Guilty as charged.

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