Thursday, June 02, 2011
MY WIFE is not a hockey fan. She had spent the better part of the evening reading, listening to the radio, and making phone calls. Periodically, she would emerge from the bedroom, ask what the score was, then return to doing other things.
I, on the other hand, was glued to the television. For a person who loves great goaltending, this was a magnificent game. Neither Tim Thomas, of the Boston Bruins, nor Roberto Luongo, of the Vancouver Canucks, had let a single shot escape them. 67 saves made between the two of them, a 0 - 0 tie.
MY WIFE came out of the bedroom with 54 seconds remaining. She looked at the score, and proclaimed, "This game is going into overtime. I think a lot of these games will go into overtime."
I consider myself a rational human being. I will gladly walk under a ladder without giving it a second thought. I've been known to open umbrellas in the house, and I refuse to toss salt over my shoulder if I spill some. I don't break mirrors just to prove a point, but if one does break, I don't feel that shattered glass necessarily dooms me to seven years of bad luck. The number thirteen does not fill me with dread, and, insofar as black cats are concerned, if anything I consider them lucky more than I do unlucky. However, as soon as MY WIFE said what she did, my immediate thought was, "This game now has no chance whatsoever of going into overtime."
And, with eighteen seconds remaining, Vancouver scored.
I said, "Damn it..."
Then, two seconds later, what had been steadily building up inside of me during the past three hours of great hockey came exploding out. It was preordained to be either joyfully exultant or miserably painful. Since Vancouver scored...
"FUCK!", I yelled, with such force that it was probably audible three blocks away. Had an extremely sensitive seismograph been in the area, it might have registered a disturbance with an epicenter pinpointed as our living room.
MY WIFE said something to the effect of, "Why do you get so mad? It's just a game."
That did not help matters.
(I should point out here that I do not blame MY WIFE for the Bruins losing. I'm not that stupid. I expected a goal to be scored at some point. That's the way the game is played. Sooner or later, someone was going to score, there was going to be a winner and there was also going to be a loser. If she had said, for instance, "Vancouver is going to win", she would not have magically made the Bruins score the goal. Still, if she were more of a fan, she would have known that it was a breach of sports etiquette. You do not say such things at such a time.
I believe her intent was honorable. She is a nice woman, not inclined toward sadism. She was only trying to show an interest in something I like, and I appreciate that. However, it was somewhat like a person entering the theater during the third act of a play, one that has been unfolding on stage for three hours and is just about to reach the climax, with that person sitting down next to someone who has been there throughout the production, and saying... well, ANYTHING. It is not a time for those without an emotional investment to be offering opinions.)
I sat and watched the final 18 seconds, hoping for a miracle and knowing in my heart that one would not occur. The final horn sounded, I got up out of my La-Z-Boy, walked over to MY WIFE, handed her the remote control, and said, "Watch whatever you like. I'm going to bed."
And so I did, for about ten minutes. I sat on the edge of the bed, smoking a cigarette, and I realized I had been less than gracious upon my exit from the living room. I love MY WIFE, and I hope to spend many more years with her. The Bruins, on the other hand, don't even know I exist. So, I did the right thing. I went out, gave her a kiss, and apologized for seeming mad at her.
I then tried to explain my disappointment in the outcome of the game, by putting it into terms she might understand.
"It's like when you were watching The Royal Wedding. It's as though they got all the way to the part where the minister asks Prince William if he'll take this woman as his wife, and then Prince William said, "Nah, I don't think so.""
She said it wasn't like that at all. I know, however, that it was the perfect analogy. I absolutely nailed it. And I now give permission to every one of you to use it the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.
Soon, with more better stuff.