So Close But Yet So What

I’m not saying I’m unsympathetic or anything, like when we went double or nothing on the last hole and it came down to where all you had to do was make a three-foot putt to get even. I was rooting for you to make it, but then again I wasn’t. If you make it, I’ll feel good because you feel good, because that’s the kind of friend I am. And if you miss it, I’ll feel good because, well, your money would become mine, and I’m that kind of friend too. So I’m freerolling, financially and emotionally. And you’re freaking. Especially when you hit the ball a little higher and harder than you wanted to and it rims the cup and just barely doesn’t fall in.

And I said, “So close, but yet, so what?”

And you couldn’t help but laugh because doesn’t that just sum it all up? How we are about gaming pain?

It’s the last play of the Super Bowl and all of everything — the season, the playoffs, the buildup, the halftime — it’s all old news because now it’s all down to one kick. From every type of concocted wager that hasn’t been decided yet, to the bloated salaries of the top-tier participants, to the inflated incomes of the risk-taking t-shirt hawkers, to the common wages of the trickled-down upon, it all rests on the shoulders of a foot, because it’s the last play of the game and it’s a 45-yard field goal, and there’s the snap, it’s a good hold, and here comes the leg, swinging, and there’s the sound, and zing goes the ball, high, long, not quite straight, it’s bending, curving, but we can’t quite see the angle on TV, just how far the ball goes compared to how much it has hooked, and the announcers have the live view plus monitors, so they fill us in as best they can, everyone knowing that in lessening fractions of a second it’ll be over and that fans will rejoice and suffer in extremes, and that untold billions of dollars just moved. This ball will determine who does next year’s commercials, and which riot cops will work overtime tonight in which town. C’mon man, make that kick, says the cop’s wife who has never touched a football — So that my man gets a bigger paycheck this week because Christ he’s going to be pissed when he hears what happened to the Chevy — that’s the kind of thing riding on this kick, a million times over, and the ball soars like in slow motion, up, and away, and long, and curving, and TONK! The ball hits the left upright and lurches hard enough to jolt the planet. It bounces to the right, toward the inside. Did it come back? Go forward? Fall straight down? Looks likes it’s going to drop straight down onto the crossbar. No way! Is it really? Tonk! Incredible! Look at that. It’s bouncing straight back up, spinning, slowly, so slow that every slightest bit of angle this way or that way will be the difference between it bouncing through, or not, after the next bounce, through, or not, and no matter what happens, we know we can say, about those everywhere who just lost — So close, but yet, so what?

Poker is just like that but smaller and more often.

 


 

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