I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to drive up to Cleveland. I’ve got tickets to watch the Browns today with Russell and two of his buddies.
Here’s an example of how sports fans think: I’m trying to decide what to wear that might help the Browns win. And when the opposing team is the Denver Broncos — a franchise that figures prominently in the history of Browns heartbreaks — carefully considered clothing choices are especially important.
I’ve been up to watch a number of Browns games in the new stadium, and for the most part I’ve seen appalling gag jobs and wretched losses. This means that the Browns haven’t been very good, sure . . . but it also means that most of my Browns gear is now irrevocably tainted. I’ll give a ball cap or sweatshirt a few shots at bringing home a win, but once they hit multiple losses they obviously can’t be worn again without hurting the team and go into the closet, forever.
As a result of this process, I’ve got no Browns ball cap to wear. Fortunately, the weather is supposed to be cold, so I can get by with a stocking cap with the Brownie on it. And my standard sweatshirt has proven to be a dismal failure. I’ve dug up some vintage stuff that Russell got years ago, reasoning that they not only are weather-appropriate for a chilly day but also are likely to have some good karma still infused into their very fibers.
C’mon Brownies! I’m running out of licensed gear, here!
Edited to add: Well, another outfit bites the dust . . . .
The Wrestling Fan and his lovely wife recently spent a few weeks hiking around Turkey. He returned from his travels with a gift for us — a blue pendant with an eye-like set of concentric circles on the front.
Called a nazar (in Turkish, the Nazar Boncugu) the little pendant is supposed to serve as a kind of good luck charm that can protect you from the ravages of the “Evil Eye.” The notion that people can give you the “Evil Eye” — whether through witchcraft, or sorcery, or deviltry, or simply through the sheer force of outright, pulsating human envy and hatred, that certain people can hurt you with a glance — is one of the oldest superstitions known to homo sapiens. And that superstition still has legs. According to the WF, this little blue pendant is the most popular souvenir in Turkey, sold and seen everywhere.
It was nice of the Wrestling Fan to get us some protection from the Evil Eye. But now we are faced with a true quandary: where do we most need this important personal shield? It would be great to have it at the office, where I probably could use every bit of help, from any source, in resisting the depredations of opposing parties and counsel. However, I don’t want to hog the protection. You never know when Kish might need the nazar on the homefront, to fend off the evil antics of slow-moving service providers. And for that matter, maybe it’s greedy to keep the nazar to ourselves. Let’s face it — the entire city of Cleveland could use a Nazar Boncugu to help one of its sports teams finally win a championship one of these years.
Now that I think about it, I wish the WF had packed a few more nazars into his suitcase.
Generally speaking, I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t pay attention to black cats or walking under ladders or spilling salt. (I make an exception, however, when it comes to sports teams — in which case I believe in jinxes, karma, cruel fates, and the undeniable reality that everything I do has a direct and profound impact whether my favorite teams succeed or fail.)
I don’t worry about bad luck on Friday the 13th, either. Why? Because on Friday the 13th of October, 1978, Kish and I had our first date. We went to Dick’s Den — its evocative motto: “Why Not?” — a campus bar and live music venue on High Street. We drank beer, sat for part of the time with another couple that happened to be there, and listened to a band that didn’t require a cover charge. Obviously, I was a big spender who knew how to show a girl a good time.
So, I have no fear of this dreaded day. How could I be superstitious about Friday the 13th? It certainly hasn’t meant bad luck for me.
When will I learn? I firmly believe, based on decades of real-world experience, that sports teams are peculiarly susceptible to jinxes. So what do I do? I write an innocent post wishing the Cleveland Indians well this season and they stumble out of the gate 0 and 5, with their pitching getting pounded and no light at the end of the tunnel.
So, I hereby declare: The Tribe stinks! They will not do anything this year and will undoubtedly end up in the cellar of their division. And, just for the record: The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cleveland Browns, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and my golf game also blow!