Friday, June 18, 2010

Anatomy of Loss

Once, I was taller than the sky. And now I am lower than Christ's nails. And nothing ever seems to matter until it does. And wanting to believe is more than what it is.

I digress from a point I haven't made. A month ago, I lost $2,650 in a craigslist scam. Lost everything I had and way more. Nothing good has happened since October of last year and it all culminated with my bank calling me and reporting me to a collection agency despite my pleas to live a normal life. And the Celtics were me. No, sports aren't some beautiful metaphor for life, but they are this one time. This one time, the team that played lesser basketball for most of the time won and this once the guy that just wants something good to happen-- just wants someone to believe in him and pay him for something he loves-- lost.

No, this isn't a lament for Celtics fans. We've had enough championships. No, this isn't an anti-Lakers rhetoric piece, they deserved it. Thing is, everyone deserves it. This guy I know, he works in a pizza shop and his coworker's father died and loved the Lakers. And this guy I met, he was a big Derek Fisher fan because his daughter had cancer too. And this other guy, his mother was wearing a Celtic jersey the day of her open-heart surgery. And me, I am at the end of my rope. I am bereft of feeling. I got a letter from a collection agency I didn't know in June. And instead of breaking down (see, it was a different agency that wanted money I didn't actually know I owed), I laid down on my floor and laughed. The previous night, the Celtics had blown out the Magic.

I am a man who knows bad news. I practice for it. I practiced telling my family my dad died. He was sick but recovered. I am the man who will break bad news. I am the man my family leans on and will continue to. I want to be the last man to whine about the trivialities of life. This once, though, I got selfish. Just once. Even with a -$2000 bank account, even facing homelessness, I smiled at my friends and told them I couldn't afford a beer. I was just there to support their engagement or their birthday or what have you. I saw them at their happiest and put on the brave face. I always want to do that. I just want to do that, forever.


I turned off my phone for the Finals. It is still off. I don't want to turn it on ever again. I can't face this news. No more bad news. Please. I am Napoleon facing his last stand, but with the news there will be more of them. I am news of bad weather for the weekend. I am the day off spent doing laundry, standing in line for the DMV, or talking to a creditor when there are better things to be doing.

I know, sports are dumb. They are pointless displays of jingoism, determinism and overall pointlessness to the societal need. I know. I am a smart man who reads books, writes poems and wants your approval. But just once, I needed something and it failed. I'm not mad or even really disappointed. To be honest, the Celtics floated above the waves, dug hard into the Earth, made lives better, while I am in flux and make my friends' lives harder by asking for couches, demand their love, make them believe in me despite my obvious flaws. I am the man that asks more than they have and the Celtics are the ones that demand more of themselves. They are better men than me because when I learned I was less than my task, I stared at my future like a gun. They gave their all and I have complained for fouls.

I should have been thrilled that the Celtics made the finals. I'm sorry I wasn't. I am sorry that I wanted more. I am sorry that I wanted more money. I am sorry I wanted to write “Zagat Reviews” (the aforementioned con was centered through them) to finally achieve my goal: to have people care that I wrote something. I am sorry that I went outside my means. Please, though, I don't want to be sorry that I cared about something trivial. It was just that, for once,. I got to talk about something people cared about. They wanted to hear me talk about basketball. For once, the 2650 reasons I had to hate humanity melted away.

I feel fantastic for Laker fans. I do. The serenity that comes to the survivors, the champions, the idea that nothing feels better than believing, the idea that the Lakers' fans finally got theirs over the Celtics-- I get it. I really do. It's just that, the idea of belief is hard to grasp when no one believes in you. And now, at my lowest point, I needed more than distraction. I needed belief. And I had it for three fleeting quarters of some basketball game. Now, I am back to where I was: languid against the face of defeat. I am the man I knew I would be when I was fifteen; the once and future failure. And so are the Celtics. At least, though, they believed. I am not sure I do. The two are not mutually exclusive, belief and failure, except maybe this once. Believe in what you want, but basketball is my one ideal. And it failed me. I am a victim, and I will continue to be one, but it is a part of loving sports. It is also a part of believing in people. For me, at least, sports has paid off once in awhile. Faith, for the most part has not. Such is life.