Thursday, March 18, 2010


Its 9:00 am.  I am seated at my desk sifting through emails.  I am checking phone messages.  I am already three cups of coffee into my morning when David comes into my office.
"Are you in?  It's ten bucks."
 I cringe.  I am stuck.  I now have to buy girl scout cookies or Corbi's Pizza or raffle tickets for the pee wee soccer team.  My mind is racing for excuses.
"Come on.  Are you in?  I need your picks by today.  First games are tomorrow."
Oh, snap.
My head swivels toward the calendar.  On the top of the page is one huge word, one syllable.  MARCH.  How could I have forgotten?  A chant begins to roil in my head (Two men enter - one man leaves).
It is the start of March Madness.
I know nothing of basketball.  I detest the game.  It awards all things that I lack - balance, dexterity, grace, height - and yet...
When it is time for the Men's Division One Tournament, I go mad - mad I say!
All David has to do now is show me a glimpse of the paper with 64 names of colleges and universities printed on the sides.  Each with numbers next to them, broken into quadrants, paired off, ready to ignite.
Yes.  Oh, yes.  Give me my fix.
My trembling hands take a ten-spot out of my wallet and I hand it to this vile office pusher for a taste of the poison (Hello my name is __________.  I have been clean for one year).  He hands it to me.  It looks so official.  I nervously glance at the names.  Some I know - Duke, Villanova, Temple (I missed you guys) - others I don't - UTEP, Wolford, Butler (What does UTEP stand for?).
I grab a pen and start to forge a future for these teams.  I try to bend them to my reality, my predictions.  I cross them off and divide the numbers by half as the whole product makes its way to the center, until there is critical mass.  I write "Kentucky" in the middle of the page.  I decided at the last moment not to scrawl it in blood (it did not help at all last year).
I quickly make copies and turn the original into my dealer (have you no heart?).
I now have one duplicate attached to the fridge and another stands guard over my desk.  The anxiety begins; I will be forced to watch over the next several days as a reality I have chosen slowly crumbles away, dying a death it does not deserve.  I have paid for suffering.  I have paid for madness.  Bring it on.

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