Vol. 2, No. 4: Malice at the Ice Palace photo

A Paper Bag, PleaseSteve Gergley

I’m sitting in my car at the back of the office parking lot, watching old highlights of my favorite sports team on my phone. The highlights are from a very long time ago. How long is a very long time? I’d rather not say. These days I’m weary of specifics. I prefer to keep things at a safe distance. What I will say is that all the highlights I watch on my lunch break originate from a single season of play in this particular sport. This sport is a very exciting sport featuring many stats and players. It has birthed numerous podcasts to listen to while working or exercising or doing the laundry. In addition to all this, it contains a myriad of compelling storylines that distract from conscious thought, which is vital for me at this particular stage in my life.

One other thing I’m willing to admit is that these highlights originate from the year I dropped out of college and got a job building above-ground swimming pools with my former best friend and his dad. That was nine years before I started taking my lunch breaks in my car and eight years before I stopped talking to my coworkers at my current job. It was seven years before my second stay in the hospital and six years before my first attempt to drink myself to death. It was five years before I quit AA for the third time and four years before my team missed the playoffs by one game on the final day of the season. It was three years before I sued my former best friend and his dad in civil court even though I brought the bottle of Jack to work that day. And it was two years before my former best friend drove over my ankle with his dad’s F-150 and crushed four bones in my foot because he was too drunk to be working.

But the year before that was the one. That was the season my team made it all the way to the conference championship and almost won it all. Only a missed [redacted] in the final [redacted] kept us from the [redacted].

Now the team is terrible. The roster is barren and management is a joke. The owner makes impulsive decisions and mortgages the future of the team. These days, most fans wear paper bags over their heads whenever they go to the stadium. Despite all this, I envy those fans. They don’t know how lucky they are. A paper bag would’ve been nice.