I’m going to say a word about superstitions, because anyone who follows sports – or this blog – knows that there is a game tonight that is quite possibly the biggest possible game in my emotional psyche. I’ll tell you how superstitious I am: I won’t even mention the contest, because the last time I did that on here, we lost to fucking Dook.
My obsessive-compulsive disorder threatened to derail my existence as a tiny tot. By age 5, I’d already categorized all the single-digit numbers in terms of personality, and used them all day to satisfy some bizarre trains of thought. In my head:
1 = alone
2 = love
3 = erased the last bad thing
4 = luck
5 = bad luck
6 = bad luck for others
7 = good luck for others
8 = saving grace meant for rare usage
9 = erased the last whole cadre of things
What does this mean? It meant that if I thought I’d said the wrong thing, I’d knock on something hard three times. If I wanted someone to win a contest, I’d close my eyes and look at them – without their knowledge – seven times. It got so bad that one day, in the mirror, I saw four lines drawn on my forehead. I soon deduced that I had parted my hair, but in a desire to be lucky, I did it four times while holding a felt-tip marker.
And that day, I decided it was over. No more of this obsessive-compulsive shit. I may have been crazy, but I had my vanity to consider. I was already in junior high.
Still, the numbers meme creeps into my life every once in a while. On a bad subway trip, I’ll catch myself doing some bizarre combination of the numbers above to assuage my worries. But falling in love with my college team provided a new outlet for all kinds of crazy obsessive superstition and ritual. I already mentioned the turtleneck I’ve worn to Dook games for fifteen years, but that’s just the tip of the psycho-sartorial iceberg. There’s all kinds of shit I’ve pulled in the last three weeks to get my team where it is now, weird combinations of sitting, undergarments, food and phone calls that recall a night 12 years ago.
I know it’s stupid, it’s “magical thinking” (which my shrink has been trying to get me to drop for years), I know I waste so much mental energy on this, even while I’m preparing for impending fatherhood. But if you don’t really, really, REALLY CARE about something irrational, then your life doesn’t have much meaning. Some people have church, some count beads on their glow-in-the-dark rosary, others form a wiccan circle and pour their menses into the earth.
I, and the rest of you who feel the same, have tonight.