Saturday, December 14, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Santa Memory and NFL Sure Things

My mother would take me to see Santa when I was very young.  I have very early memories of where I lived in an apartment outside Philadelphia with my parents.  I should point out that the way I wrote the last sentence suggests that I was a de facto roommate, as opposed to a completely dependent three year old boy.  Let me succinctly say that I was a very average three year old.  I did not have a job or Eagles season tickets at this time.  I was focused on normal three year old obsessions, my toys and the acquisition of new better toys I had seen on TV.  Santa was the gateway to these consumer goods.

I knew quite a bit about Santa from the Rankin and Bass stop action puppet specials on TV.  This infomercial told me everything I needed to know.  It was quite evident that on the evening of December 24th a puppet would come down our chimney and bring untold riches to me as long as I was "good".  As a three year old sequestered in a small apartment in Philadelphia, there was only so much trouble I could get into.  I had no friends or social contacts of any kind.  I felt I was airtight on the "good behavior" caveat.  The only question was how Santa would get in as our apartment didn't have a chimney.  We had a sliding glass door and a deck, so maybe he would get in there.  I voiced my concerns to my parents, and they seemed confident that Santa would be able to deliver the goods.  That gave me some, but not total, relief.

When the suggestion was made to go see Santa, it blew my mind.  It was like my mother came into my room and offhandedly said, "Hey, do you want to go to the King of Prussia Mall and go meet Elvis?".  Like, what the fuck?  You mean all this time we could just hop in our VW Beetle and go meet Santa?  "Hey, the most important figure on the planet is in town and available to meet.  I wasn't sure if you would even want me to mention it..."  I had no idea who she knew that could gain us and audience with The Man, but I was blown the fuck away.  We were going to see Santa.

As the time grew near, I started to freak out.  What was I going to say?  This is Santa Claus and I'm a three year old.  It's not like I had any small talk.  It was intimidating as hell.  I was a really shy kid and I didn't have any experience meeting celebrities.  I didn't want to come off as some Rube.  Yet, I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to conduct myself.  There was a deadly mixture of excitement and dread as we drove over to Santa's natural hangout, the King of Prussia Mall.

I don't have any memory of walking into the mall or approaching the meet n greet area.  I do remember being next in line and watching a girl about my age confidently and with great poise run down her wish list with Santa.  They seemed to have a real rapport.  What the hell was her secret?  I was freaking out.  I had no idea of what I was going to say.  Then it was my turn.  I was called over.  My legs froze up.  That was the fucking man over there.  Holy shit.  I remember my mother chuckling and saying something to the helpers about me being nervous.  I was embarrassed about that, but not embarrassed enough to take control of the situation.

I was sat down on Santa's lap.  It was like that scene from "A Christmas Story" without the moment of redemption of asking for the BB gun.  I was mute.  Santa said a few things.  I stared at him wide eyed absolutely frozen in fear.  They gave me a few seconds, picked me up, and set me down.  One of the helpers gave me a cheap plastic car as they hustled me out.  Just like that, it was over.  I thought I was going connect with Santa, man to man.  Instead, I flamed out.

Look, I know I was only three years old.  It is unreasonable for me to beat myself up over it.  Logically, I get it.  It's a crazy situation for a three year old to emerge with their dignity intact.  It doesn't matter though.  That whole episode has haunted me ever since.  It was a personal failure that creeps into my mind each December about this time.  I remember going back the next year, vowing in my head to redeem myself as a man (or in this case, a four year old).  I fucked that up too.  I had two cheap plastic cars to show for it, one green and one blue.  I could never play with those cars.

Ah, what a melancholy season Christmas can be.  However, it can't be much worse than to be melancholy during the holidays and having to be a member of the Miami Dolphins.  There's three games left in the season.  They knew going into the season that they sucked.  The month of September confirmed it.  The team was openly tanking, trading legit players off the roster to guarantee a higher draft position.  Yet...  There are...  Christmas Miracles...

The good news for the Dolphins is that they are playing the New York Football Giants, a low talent team coached by Pat Shermer, historically one of the worst NFL coaches of all time.  I heard a stat this week that of coaches with 50 games coached in the NFL, Shermer's winning percentage is something like 176 out of 182.  The Giants have decided to pull the plug on their rookie QB's season and let Eli Manning go on what I suppose is a "victory tour", as much as a 40 year old man getting his dick kicked into the turf can qualify as "victory".  Whatever emotional lift the Giants got by starting Manning was spent in the first half versus Philly last week.  They can't have anything left in the tank.

Miami has somehow been playing with heart.  Last week, they kicked 7 field goals and lost to the Jets by 1.  Most dipshits will note that the Dolphins lost to the Jets.  I choose to look at it as the Dolphins drove to score 7 times in that game.  Fitzmagic is playing well.  They are moving the ball.  I'll take Miami getting three in front of a small and disinterested crowd in Jersey.  The Dolphins suck, but the Giants are worse.  Miami +3.

I am going to take Washington again.  They came through for me last week by doing exactly what I thought they'd do.  Run the ball, keep the clock running, and stay close.  This week they are playing an injury decimated Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles are in trouble.  They have no one to make plays on offense.  Washington has a decent defense.  They can keep this close if they stick to the game plan.  There is one great fear...  What if the Redskins decide that the season is over and they need to get Haskins game reps?  If they have Haskins throw the ball 30-35 times, savvy gamblers like us are "fucking fucked".  Shiver me timbers.  Washington +6

San Francisco just won the Game of the Year last week in New Orleans.  It's all anyone's been talking about.  They lost a close one with the Ravens the week before, in what is being called a likely Super Bowl preview.  The week before that was drubbing of the Packers on National TV.  Whew.  Thank goodness they have the Falcons this week before closing out the season with Playoff seedings on the line versus the Rams and Seahawks.  Ummm...  Has there ever been a better place for a flat spot than this game?  This has "backdoor cover" written all over it.  Atlanta +10.5

Season Record:  25-13-2            


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