Sep 30, 2010
Delayed Gratification, Leno Palmer, Lady Ticklers, an NFL penalty box, a Salting, 3 not-so-subtle Mad Men references and a message from Leif Garrett
So I’m heading home Tuesday night, driving up I-75, my clothes and mp3 recorder coated in champagne and cigar smoke from the Reds locker room celebration, talking on the cell with my pal Johnny B. who’s still beside himself over Jay Bruce’s moon-shot onto the grassy knoll which sent the Reds into the playoffs for the first time since 1995. Johnny is just one of many who have already told me that this night is so exciting and extra special because of the long, torturous fifteen year wait. That’s almost assuredly true. I mean, if he was used to them making the playoffs on a regular basis, it wouldn’t possibly give him the same level of excitement as he’s experiencing now. Can’t argue with that, won’t argue with that. But there was more in Johnny’s voice than just excitement for the moment. You see, while Johnny’s a big-time Reds fan but, like many, he’s an even bigger fan of delayed gratification. No playoff appearances in fifteen years? No problem, that just means it’ll be sweeter when they finally do make it. No raise this year at work? No worries, that just means I’ll appreciate the extra money more when I finally do get one. No ointment left in the bottle for my rash? No problem, that just means the soothing relief will feel all the more wonderful after a trip to the pharmacy.
O…kay. I mean, sure, I get it. After an 88-year drought, Red Sox fans went wicked nutty after winning the World Series in 2004 and the same was true for New Orleans Saints fans last February, just like Chicago Cub fans, Detroit Lions fans and Cleveland sports fans of all kind will go extra super-bonkers if and when their respective teams manage to win a title again. But if you were to ask fans of those teams if they could go back in time and trade in the rare unbelievable high along with the horrible decades of lows for a lifetime of fairly consistent success, they would make that deal in a second.
I understand that having a healthy id-ego-super ego relationship and the discipline involved with self-imposed delayed gratification can result in a person becoming more successful, more dependable, etc., but the problem is; does it make you any happier? Maybe, if the delay causes a much better outcome in the long run than would otherwise have occurred. But if the end result is the same or only marginally better, then you're really just torturing yourself unnecessarily and any enhanced feeling of gratification you finally feel is simply the result of making yourself accustomed to restraint and self-imposed disappointments. The real test is in whether someone is intelligent enough to ascertain whether the delayed gratification is going to result in any greater end result. Given the option of passing up one candy bar now in order to get two candy bars later is a fine example of self control and a good use of delayed gratification. Pass up on the candy bar now simply to get the same candy bar, and only that candy bar, later just so you'll be hungrier and it'll taste better is something only a sadomasochist or someone with an IQ below 70 would do.
But maybe there's something deeper working here. Maybe these delayed gratification types aren't so much trying to discipline themselves as much as they're trying to punish themselves. Could it be that they feel guilty for something in their past and are trying to consciously or subconsciously make amends? Maybe they stole another kid's ice cream cone when they were little, or accidentally caused their kid brother to take a nasty tumble down the stairs, or turned on the bathtub water and flooded the house, or maybe as a young soldier in the Korean War they stole the identity of a fallen fellow soldier just so they could be discharged early, flee from their own horrible life and start anew with a new name, and eventually parlay that into a high-level job as Creative Director for a Madison Avenue advertising agency. Maybe. I dunno.
Wow, was that a tangent. And honeslty a moot point there, too (sorry) because what we're talking about with the Reds finally ending their fifteen year non-playoff drought was not anything that Johnny B or anyone outside of the Reds clubhouse has had any control over. This wasn't self-imposed delayed gratification, instead just a sad reality for all Reds fans. Memories fade, especially bad ones, and if it makes you feel any better, if it dulls any pain of the last fifteen years to think of it any differently, to think that it was now all worth it, that all the disappointment and suffering was outweighed by Jay Bruce's blast into the late September Cincinnati night, then fine. When you think about it, our lives are littered with things that we would love to have happen but we essentially have no control over, things that we hope cold serve to make up for suffering or injustices. For most sports fans, the list is virtually endless and ever-changing. For me, that list is below....
** After twenty years of mostly embarassing ineptitude in the Bengals front office, I'd finally like the gratification of hearing that Mike Brown has finally hired a general manager. One who is not named Mike Brown. Or Paul Brown, Jr. Or Katie Brown-Blackburn. Or any other people with the last name of Brown or Blackburn. Except maybe James Brown. James Brown the singer, not the James Brown the host of the NFL studio show on Fox.
** Although it hasn't been but a couple of years, it's long overdue for the gratification which would come from Keith Olberdork being removed from NBC's Football Night in America football crew. And when I say "removed", I mean as in an army of dudes dressed like the gang from A Clockwork Orange storming the set and abruptly & angrily removing him from the set and into a nearby panel van.
** Speaking of annoying studio hosts, I would get tremendous gratification in finally seeing ESPN sever the contract of Chris Berman, who has been acting as a cartoon version of himself for much of the last decade, and replacing him with an actual cartoon version of himself. It would be the first NFL studio show to feature humans interacting with animation. BRILLIANT!
** This next one's probably the most long-awaited and most important of them all. After waiting twenty long years, I and all of Bengals Nation would love the gratification which would come from a Bengals Super Bowl victory, especially if it were to come against the Forty Niners.
** I think I'm speaking for much of the sports world when I say that I also would like to see the Browns finally make it............. Oh man, I'm sorry. You can't see it but I almost got through that one with a straight face. Whew! I'm kidding, screw the Browns.
** Now that Mike Vick has gotten back into the NFL and is enjoying some success, I would get enjoy tremendous gratification and the irony of seeing him dash to the end zone for an apparent game-winning touchdown only to be taken down by an unleashed leaping pit bull at the one yard line.
** It would give me some gratification to see the Buccaneers finally put an end to their issues with Bucco Bruce and return to the creamsicle unis of the past.
** And last but certainly not least, speaking of the Buccaneers, it is long, long, long overdue for the Bucs cheerleading squad to finally take me up on my longstanding offer, issued weekly by telegram since 1998, to join me at my place for some Sunday morning kegs & eggs followed by an afternoon of football on the big screen and culminating with an extremely gratifying group sponge bath-pillow fight-naked twister trifecta to cap off the evening.
Now, after much delay, the ever-so-slightly gratifying weekly mathcups....
Jets at Bills-
Braylon Edwards stayed out way past his bedtime, got drunk, got behind the wheel of his car, spent the night in jail, and then made some big-time catches to help his team win on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Bills quarterback and Harvard grad, Ryan Fitzpatrick, spent his week getting his rest, doing his homework, laying off the booze, staying out of trouble, and he lost on Sunday.
Kids, I believe the lesson here is quite obvious.
Pick: Jets, 21-14
Bengals at Browns-
Is this the real Carson Palmer or have we been watching a third Palmer brother, Leno Palmer, Carson’s identical twin, while Carson struggles tied to a chair inside some abandoned warehouse in the East End? Leno Palmer is a disaster. His throws are high, they’re short, they’re wide, he mismanages the clock…. Pathetic. Somebody please round up Scooby & the teenagers, gas up the Mystery Machine, and go rescue Carson from old man Withers before it’s too late.
Pick: Bengals, 27-16
Broncos at Titans-
G-dammit Kyle! Orton is leading the league’s #1 pass offense. That’s right, go ahead and read that sentence one more time, I’ll wait. ……..Without the departed Brandon Marshall, they’ve actually managed to improve their aerial attack and they may need to take it up another level this Sunday because the Lady TIcklers seem to be running on all follicles right now. And yes, I did just call them the Lady Ticklers. In an intense market research survey, that name won out over the following submissions:
Pick: Titans, 23-21
Panthers at Saints-
If the Saints were an MMA fighter, they definitely wouldn’t be classified as a ground & pound’er. So despite the French flowery thingy on their helmets, this is not a team that Georges St. Pierre could love. They’re ranked #30 in rush defense and dead last in rushing offense. The Panthers have a rookie QB from the ND who so far looks as confused as someone with AD, but they do have a couple of big, productive backs who just might be able to chew up some clock and keep Brees off the field long enough to keep this one close.
Pick: Saints, 24-16
Lions at Packers-
Speaking of bad ground games, the Lions are just as bad as the Saints in that regard, if not worse. Detroit has the league’s worst rush defense and the second-worst rush offense. That wasn’t supposed to happen after they drafted Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best this past April, but like most of the best-laid football plans in Rock City over the last couple of decades, this one so far has not gone well.
As for the Packers, um…. Fellas, eighteen penalties on Monday Night…. Seriously? Eighteen? If this was the NHL, the Bears would’ve been on a perpetual power play for the entire second half. Ooh, that’s an idea. How about for every flagrant penalty (personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, clipping, etc) we change it from 15 yards to 5 yards, the guilty player goes to a penalty box and his team plays short on that side of the ball for five minutes. BRILLIANT! Meghan, get me the rules committee on the phone. And bring me in some more Canadian Club!
Pick: Packers, 28-14
Ravens at Steelers-
Wanna know how to make a(n alleged) sex offender feel completely irrelevant? You can either call in Dr. Lyle Evans, or you can win every game without him while he’s suspended. This 3-0 start by Pittsburgh is a tribute to their defense, more specifically, to their defense with Tory Polamalu. Charlie Soft Batch had a nice game last week but they still own the league’s worst-ranked passing attack. They’ll probably have to do a little better than that to get past the Ravens #1 ranked defense this Sunday.
Pick: Ravens, 17-13
Niners at Falcons-
Damn the Niners, Damn them… Oh never mind. That would just be piling on at this point. I’ve got a better idea- It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Pick: Falcons, 23-17
Seahawks at Rams-
My buddy Johnny B asked me yesterday if I was starting to believe in the Seahawks. Well, I believe that they’re real. I don’t believe they’re for real. But they do exist. I think. Or maybe they’re like that funny little squirrel that sits on my windowsill and talks to me after I’ve been drinking. That squirrel knows a lot of chiz. One day we just sat there for hours sharing some Maker’s, discussing the works of Charles Bukowski and debating validity of carbon dating. Try having that kind of discussion with Pete Carroll.
Pick: Rams, 24-20
Colts at Jaguars-
The Jack Del Rio Farewell Tour continues this Sunday in J-Ville!
Pick: Colts, 31-17
Texans at Raiders-
Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing losses. Houston got smacked by a suddenly motivated group of Cowboys and Oakland lost on a last-second shanksi by Janikowski. Before last Sunday, they were both proud of themselves and busting like pregnancy boobs. Now a week later, they more resemble a pair of post-breast feeding boobs, kinda deflated and just staring at the ground.
Pick: Raiders, 21-20
Cardinals at Chargers-
So, how do you manage to own the league’s #1 ranked offense, the #4 ranked defense but have a record of 1-2?
That’s right, baby.
Pick: Chargers, 30-13
Redskins at Eagles-
Donnie Mac returns to Philadelphia, er, I mean Vickadelphia. I wonder what kind of reception he’s gonna get? It’ll probably go something like this….
Pick: Eagles, 27-19
Bears at Giants-
I’m having a tough time figuring out this matchup. It’s kinda like looking at a Jackson Pollock painting. The Bears are 2-1 but should’ve lost to the Lions on the Calvin Johnson touchdown catch that wasn’t and they got some delightful gift penalty calls down the stretch on Monday night, enabling them to narrowly knock off the Packers. Meanwhile, the Giants should be good, I think, but they’re not. They’re kind of an enigma wrapped in a riddle and dipped in wet dog poo.
Pick: Giants (sans the dog poo), 21-16
Patriots at Dolphins-
Hey Tom Brady, Scott Baio called…. He said he ran into Danny Bonaduce at Ricky’s Fish Tacos in Silverlake and Danny told him that he was talking to Leif Garrett last week at a recovery meeting and Leif said to pass along to you that he wants his 1978 haircut back. Oh, and please tell Coach Belichick that the ’95 Bengals want their defense back. Thanks.
Pick: Dolphins, 27-24
Posted by Smitty