WEEK OF WEIRDNESS: First, The Neptune Society Sends Me a Letter on My Birthday, Then the Packers Lose

December 19, 2011
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     By The Sports Philosopher —

     I get ridiculed all the time when I try to convince people that the world we live in is getting weirder and crazier and more unpredictable by the minute.   People tell me I exaggerate.   That I am prone to hyperbole.   That I’m a doomsayer.  

     But I think the events of the last week or two bear me out.

Why is this man still smiling?

Why is this man still smiling?




     Consider that….

     *….That I got my first letter from the Neptune Society the other day.   They were offering a pretty good deal.   Free cremation.   I got scared.   I felt old.   But the letter went on to advise me not to wait, that many people stupidly and selfishly die before they’ve taken the time to plan these things properly.   (I got the letter on my 56th birthday, which makes me think they know something.   Lincoln, Hitler, Caesar, Beethoven, and Steve Jobs all died at exactly 56 years of age.   I guess the Neptuners think I’m going to have a hard time lasting the year….)

     *….That one of my neighbors has a rooster.   In their backyard.   Here in the suburbs.   In the 21st century.   I repeat, a rooster—as in cock-a-doodle-do!!!    I’ve been awakened before 6:00 a.m. every day for two weeks.   It’s like one of those 1930s movies that take place on a farm, except that in those farm movies all the farm people clearly like waking up before 10:00 o’clock….

     *….That the 5-and-8 Kansas City Chiefs—with the worst offense in pro football, with their two best players out for the year, and fresh off the firing of their head coach—just beat the 13-and-0 Green Bay Packers.   And beat them soundly.

     The fact that the Packers lost, taken by itself, was shocking.   They hadn’t lost a game in 364 days, 19 victories in a row.   I have heard more than one TV analyst lately declare that if they were to go 16-0, win all their playoff games, and win the Super Bowl, that this, coupled with their Super Bowl win last year, would make them the greatest team of all time.   And now, suddenly they lose to the Chiefs.   Again, by itself, the loss seems shocking.

     But it has been such a weird year in pro football that I’m not sure anything is shocking anymore.   The weirdest year I can ever remember.   For instance, the San Diego Chargers lost six games in a row at one point earlier this year.   But amazingly, they are still in contention in the AFC West.   In fact, I consider their 34-14 dismantling of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday (a game which wasn’t even as close as that lopsided score) to be the finest performance any team has turned in this season.   Baltimore was supposedly headed to the Super Bowl.   The Chargers took them apart.   With two weeks to go, the Arizona Cardinals, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Seattle Seahawks, the Oakland Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants (who have lost 5 of their last 6), and even the aforementioned once-pathetic Kansas City Chiefs are all still in contention to make the playoffs.   And they all suck.

     And then there are my beloved Chicago Bears.   Once 7 and 3 and one of the best teams in football, they are now 7 and 7.   A four-game losing streak.   Brutal.   But it’s the way they have lost those four games that causes The Sports Philosopher such despair.   One game blown on a “Hail Mary” pass.   Another game blown when one of their brain-dead running backs failed to stay in bounds and kill the clock in a game that was already virtually won.   And then last Sunday, my favorite team being out-scored 31-0 in the 2nd half.   At home.   With the season on the line.   In a game they were leading at halftime!   Frankly, that free cremation offer is starting to look pretty good….  

     And of course stupidity (and the inability to suppress it) is still the dominant theme in NFL football games, as it has always been.   Last weekend’s dumbest play was committed by the Denver Broncos, usually one of the smarter teams.   They hadn’t done anything really dumb in two months.   But last Sunday, with ten seconds to go in the 1st half, their punt returner tried to field a punt in a crowd on his own 15-yard-line.   There is no percentage in doing this.   You’re not going to score, and you stand a far, far greater chance of fumbling and giving the opposition free points.   It is a mistake that should never, ever, EVER happen.   If I’m the head coach of an NFL team, right before the punt I tell my punt returner under no circumstances do I want you to field the ball.   Just run away from it.   Don’t touch it.   Should never happen.

     Naturally he tried to field it, fumbled, New England recovered, and kicked a gift field goal on the next play as time expired.   Beyond belief.

     I really don’t know what to make of all this.   I could tell you that the Apocalypse is upon us, or that 2012 really is the last year of Existence, that the Mayans were right, or maybe I should just advise you to never bet on NFL football games, which one does nowadays at the risk of his very sanity.   In any case, be careful.   Nobody, nothing, can be trusted.   And live life to its fullest.   If this NFL season proves one thing, it’s that you can’t count on anything….

     And if I do decide to take the Neptune Society up on their offer, and that self-same God of the Sea calls for me before my 57th birthday, I promise you one thing.   I’m taking that rooster with me.   As God or Neptune is my witness, if I hafta go to the great beyond before I’m good and ready, that noisy sucker’s gonna get there first….

meet….The Sports Philosopher!

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary giant, and hater of both football stupidity and roosters, though probably not in that order.   Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports Section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, of triumph, and of utter despair, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on amazon.com, iUniverse.com, or bn.com.   And then order it.   And then READ it.   He thanks you.





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