Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fade to Black

When I played football, I wasn’t one of those guys who needed to paint my face and stalk around the locker room for an hour getting ready for a game. I didn’t need to head-butt lockers, sniff ammonia, listen to thrash metal or watch Rocky movies. I didn’t need any of that shit because I found out, at a young age, that I wasn’t the one pulling the strings.

In fact, I didn’t even need to think about the game until it actually started. I’d go through all the usual pre-game shit – the stretching, the warm-ups and the positional and team drills – but I wasn’t using that time to prepare my mind. That part was done for me by “that other guy” before I ever stepped on the field. I never had to worry about ignition, because it wasn’t me out there once we made it to the opening kickoff.

I’d fuck around on the field. I’d talk to people, make faces at girls and wave to my parents. I’d start conversations with people about things other than the game. I’d make a point of doing this with guys who insisted upon putting themselves through a whole psyche-job scene before leaving the locker room, because I thought they were funny. Hysterical, even. I found it amusing that getting focused – getting mad – could take some people any longer than a split second, because that’s all it’s ever taken for me to snap the fuck out and forget the consequences.

See, something happens to make me get like that, and it only takes a second for whatever it is that causes me to get like that to kick in, which is what happened on Sunday night after the Super Bowl. I got like that because there was something I thought I needed to do, and there was an unfortunate shitload of collateral damage as a result. “That other guy” came around for a visit, and he stayed about an hour too long this time around.

This part of my personality is extremely useful when it comes to things like playing football or coming to the defense of someone I care about or work with – or both. Everything takes a backseat to whatever needs to be accomplished at that moment. The pieces, I’ll happily pick up once everything’s done. Fuck you, fuck them and fuck everyone, because something needs to happen, and it needs to happen right the fuck now.

Theoretically, I’m supposed to be able to temper this shit a little better as I get older – and, in fairness, I have – but it’s still in there and I’ve not been able to root it out. Actually, I think it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older because these little episodes of mine happen at the least opportune times possible, when stakes are higher and I’m dealing with people who aren’t expecting a “published author” to morph into a raging white trash psychopath over something so stupid as a perceived slight.

Living with “him” requires a hell of a lot of dichotomous give and take. He lets me know I’m still alive, but he’ll probably get me killed one of these days. He’s helped me start my share of relationships with women, but he’s responsible for ending just about all of them. I love him and I hate him. I wish he’d go away, but I’d like to keep him on retainer just in case.

Today, however, he’s on my shitlist, and I’m not entirely sure how he’ll make his way off. Either way, I doubt he even cares.