Sunday, May 22, 2011

So how did you spend the Rapture?

Me, I cleaned the house and watched the Tennis Channel. I figured that if it was going to be Judgment Day, I didn’t want to be caught with an apartment so messy that it would be hard to tell which was my mess vs. which was the impact of the tornado/ tsunami/ Great Wind or whatever format El Jefe chose to announce himself.

While cleaning I put on the latest soca CD a friend sent me some weeks ago. Soca is the best house-cleaning music. I wined to the left, wined to the left, wined to the…wined to the… wined to the…wined to the… wined to the…wined to the… wined to the left as I dusted and vacuumed. The only thing missing was a man behind.

I watched as Almagro planted his dirt-balling ass a good soccer field away from the baseline as he beat Hanescu in Nice. I didn’t enjoy watching that match. I don’t enjoy old-style clay tennis. I like tennis that is played with power, creativity, and daring – regardless of the surface. This final could just as easily have been played between Sergi Bruguera and Alberto Berasategui, both great champions of course, but they played a style of clay tennis that you just don’t see much of anymore. The points no longer drag on for days on end. Players don’t plant themselves fifteen yards behind the baseline. Dropshots are the exception rather than the rule. I exaggerate of course but you get my point. The Almagro-Hanescu match was boring.

And my heart broke into three pieces as Peng lost to just-keep-getting-the-ball-back Wozniacki. Truly I am slightly ashamed that this woman is the #1 player in tennis. I wish a player like Peng who plays first strike tennis would step up and supplant her. Yes I know that Wozniacki has worked her butt off to get to #1. But I got turned off when her majesty decided to pass on the Charleston interview, and since then I can’t bear to see her on my TV. I want her crushed. I want a #1 who looks and plays like a true champion. This mouth-breathing retriever does not deserve to be where she is.

So as I am cleaning my apartment yesterday, I found myself wondering if there were any tennis players stupid enough to not prepare for Roland Garros on the assumption that Harold Camping’s mathematical calculations were right and the world was about to end. Might there be tennis players who spent the past week splurging, having unsafe sex with strippers, getting in every ounce of debauchery on the assumption that it was all about to come to a crashing halt? Surely no tennis player could be so foolish?

And yet throughout history there have been people who have gotten caught up in these apocalyptic scenarios. My favorite is the story of the Prophet Hen of Leeds. In 1806, in Leeds, England, a hen started laying eggs with the message “Christ is coming”. Many people got caught up in the religious fervor. Until someone had the wit to investigate, and caught the farmer in the act of scribbling the phrase onto the egg and forcing it back inside the hen. Ouch.

My second favorite is the one about the Chicago housewife and follower of L. Ron Hubbard’s dianetics, who used automatic writing to communicate with aliens from the planet Clarion who told her that she and other believers would be rescued by flying saucers from the flood that was going to destroy the world. Believers congregated in Mrs. Martin’s apartment, removing all metal from their bodies (zippers etc.) so as not to get burned by the flying saucers. (Mr. Martin, a non-believer, went off to bed). When midnight came and left, Mrs. Martin became flustered. Around 4:45am, she received another message from the Clarions telling her that God was so impressed by their faith that He had decided to spare the earth. (A psychologist named Leon Festinger who had infiltrated the group, used his observations about their changes in belief to develop his famous theory of cognitive dissonance.)

I haven’t studied the psychology of Doomsday predictions, but it seems to me that the people who buy into them must have some kind of a death wish. Maybe some are old and are just ready to die. Others may be wracked with debt and other responsibilities and may wish for an end that they themselves do not have to create. And yet others are just plain old crazy, your garden-variety hysteric, to use the language of Freud.

Other Doomsday believers may be simply quite selfish, wanting an end to it all because that serves a particular purpose for them. I wonder if people like Lance Armstrong, for example, would hope for a tidal wave that would wipe us all out so that he dies with his trophies intact and would not have to face the negative ‘60 Minutes’ exposure.

For me, my apt. cleaning had nothing to do with end-of-times. It does however have everything to do with the fact that I have the long weekend of Memorial Day off and I plan to spend it watching tennis. I need to get the cleaning in now so that I can put my feet up for four straight days and watch the pros show off the results of their gut-wrenching preparation. So I hope that none of my faves have been using this Rapture hoopla as an excuse to slack off. After all, this is my favorite Slam.


cartoon remains copyrighted to its creator

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome. i love your humorous pieces. more! more! LOL
Jake