I am old.
Or at least that is what I am told by the 20 somethings who tend bar at my favorite watering hole in my favorite town.
I am old.
I am also reliably informed that I am nerdy.
Never mind that I'm quite dashing. Never mind that I can dance the night away with any femme fatale I want. Never mind that I have probably had more than my fair share of dates with the local lovelies.
No, I'm a nerd.
And the reason I'm a nerd is that when I walk into my favorite bar, it is a 100% guarantee that the "game" is on. And it is also a 100% guarantee that all the 20 something staff, either on or off duty are watching the game. And when I walk into the bar and ask, "So is that team with the blue jersey's going to try to hit the ball with the wood stick harder than the team with the red jerseys are?"
"Boy, I sure hope he runs fast around that diamond in the dirt they placed for him there."
"Ooo! Look, one set of guys on skates are trying to hit the black disc into a net while A SEPARATE GROUP OF GUYS try to do the same, but to the other net! What chaos will ensue?"
"Wow! I hope the guys in the gray throw the orange sphere into the circle more than the guys in the purple do!"
It is a practical guarantee I am lectured, "Dude, you're such a nerd! Don't you know who that is! That's JOE MAUER!"
I then sarcastically point to the idiot in the bar wearing a Joe Mauer jersey with "MAUER" on the back and say, "Well wait, how can Joe Mauer be on the TV swinging the wooden stick when he's sitting at the bar."
Of course the larger intellectual point is lost on these twenty somethings, but that's just the point.
Watching sports is stupid.
Playing them, well now that's fun. There's a purpose in that. You get exercise, you get to play and have fun, there's also good ole fashioned competition. But to sit there and buy a $60 jersey and pin your happiness and hopes on one group of guys with white jerseys throwing the ball further than the other group of guys in the blue jerseys is bordering insane.
But here is an interesting thought, and one I cannot claim I concocted for I heard it on the Michael Medved show,
"What if people paid half the amount of attention to government than they do sports?"
Well I'll tell you what would happen, the country would not be in recession right now. Matter of fact, it may never be in recession again. For you see this is a democracy (anybody e-mailing me about this being a republic will be summarily ignored) and if the masses are ignorant and stupid, then the government is also going to be ignorant and stupid. Conversely if the masses are informed and educated, then the government would implement sound and effective laws and policies and standards of living would easily reach $250,000 income per capita.
However, this is not the case. People much rather watch a pointless score of how many times a rubber disc was shot across the ice and into another team's net than they would calculate the government deficit as a percent of GDP. People would much rather in a twisted (or perhaps complete lack of) logic apply relevancy of a football team's performance to their own personal lives than the tax rate they pay. People would much rather pin their success and happiness on the outcome of a basketball game than they would taking stewardship in this democracy, informing themselves about the issues, and in their citizenship duty vote in a competent government that would make effective decisions that would improve the lot of society.
In short, people would rather talk about Joe Mauer's batting average (which does not affect their lives in the slightest) than the medicare crisis (which most certainly will.)
Now, normally one would chalk this up to economics being "boring" and what "nerd" would want to talk about economics? However this moldy, boring study of economics seems to be getting a little bit more play and relevancy. As more and more people are being laid off and more and more of the dads of the 20 somethings are losing their jobs, now the kiddies are starting to realize there is the potential, though remote, that they might actually have to save some of their check to pay for rent instead of blowing it on booze in that there is the remote possibility daddy will not pay it for them (as daddy just recently was foreclosed upon or lost his job). Or that the tips are not coming in as much as the bar is only half as full as it used to be and people are tipping half as much.
Now of course we're a long way from 20 somethings putting as much effort into studying the federal budget as much as they do their fantasy football picks, but soon the desperation of the economy will more or less compel them to set the Iphonepoddiamondblue/blackberry down and maybe think or at least ponder, "Gee, how am I going to pay for my Crackberry Bill?"
Of course, this is the just the first step in a long and tortuous journey of discovering the truth. Of course it is already too late as these 20 somethings like Prager and Medved will inevitably become "Me too" conservatives only after they've pissed their lives away voting for people to destroy their futures, because this process takes 10 years to undo all the brainwashing. But at least it's a start and maybe some day...some day...these 20 somethings, albeit 40 somethings by the time they realize it, will come around. Of course, by that time it will be too late, but at least they'll understand why the country collapsed.
Because we all cared more about whether Brett Favre was going to play for the Vikings versus whether Obama was bankrupting the nation by bailing out inept and incompetent corporations.
Now go buy those dumb ass big styrafoam hands with the "#1" on it and wear your jerseys and "support your team" while the rest of the country dies because of a lack of real men.