More short fiction about Karl, who goes to a football game and tries not to be a cynic.
September 26, 2011
I went to a football game with Maxwell and his herd of cynics. I call them that because they agree with everything Maxwell says about how there’s no hope for the human race and how people have no free will and only follow popular trends to try to fit into a subculture of society because they fail at fitting into regular society. They all nod their heads when he says stuff like that. They also wear these T-shirts with grumpy wizards on them, and they always smell like incense. I thought the goths back in Pocatello who used to smoke in the parking lot of the Mormon Church in my neighborhood were cynical, but Maxwell’s herd takes contempt for the human race to a whole new level.
So I went to a football game with these people, cause I didn’t have anybody else to hang out with. Eddie and this quiet guy Vince who never wears shoes or anything else on his feet were all busy, and Abigail is in the marching band, so I couldn’t hang out with her very much. So I went with Maxwell and his herd. Anyway, the football field here is in a big “sky dome,” and I got lost looking for the bathroom two or three times. We were playing against some other team from Arizona, but I can’t remember who they were. Like the ASU Demons or the Cacti or the Racists or whatever it is they have down in southern Arizona. I don’t know. For some reason, even though I was hanging out with a bunch of cynics, I had built up this idea that our football team (the Lumberjacks, if you don’t know. That’s right, the Lumberjacks. Like hairy people in plaid, those kind of Lumberjacks) was somehow good at playing football.
I don’t know where I got this idea, but I gotta say, I held onto it for a lot longer than I should have. I had no idea a football team was capable of being that bad. It kinda hurt to watch. They boggled my mind. It was mind-boggling, which I think is like scrambling an egg or something. They made me want to be a cynic, but when Maxwell started talking about how lame the game was and how it was a sham and the same lame game as all the other lame games, I realized that I don’t want to be a cynic. But I’m afraid college might turn me into a cynic. My literature professor, Dr. Corrddry, is really cynical, but he’s not miserable all the time. To be honest, I spent enough time with the goths in high school smoking in front of the Mormon Church late at night and talking about how murder should be legal and other stupid stuff like that, and I was miserable the whole time. Now I’m afraid that I’m gonna get sucked into the herd of cynics, and all because I don’t have anybody else to hang out with and because I mistakenly thought our football team wasn’t awful.
During the half-time show, when Maxwell was saying he got his grumpy wizard T-shirt from an anarchist commune in Biff’s Bagels or something like that (I wasn’t paying attention at that point), I watched the marching band and I saw Abigail in the band. She plays the saxophone, which I always thought was a cool instrument. Back in Pocatello, I was on the drumline in marching band, and almost everybody on the drum line was a goth or an emo or a gothic emo or something. Most of us in percussion, back in high school, would sneak into the parking lot of the Mormon Church and smoke stuff, and meanwhile the woodwinds went off to hang out at Will’s bookstore downtown, or get ice cream sometimes.
I wish that I’d spent more time with the woodwinds because they weren’t cynical assholes. I found Abigail for a moment –I mean, I spotted her –when the band played Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” I’m probably just lonely and looking for meaning, but I think those lyrics really did mean something for me. Maybe I have some crazy reason to believe I’ll be received in a better place than just the herd of cynics listening to Maxwell talk about grumpy wizards ruling the world with drones fueled by the tears of starving children in Chicago or whatever the hell he was going on about. Maybe I’ll be received somewhere better.
I don’t know. I hope you all have a good time with whatever you need to go through. And Autumn Bartlett, I still have your book in my backpack.