06 January 2009

yes, Yes, YES!

'Tis a new year. I was, this very evening, idly perusing my reading journal from last year. I was trying to find a way to summarize last year's literary selections to create an interesting entry for this very blog. What should fall out from the very first page of the journal, but a page of notes I'd written about one of the first books I read last year. You should know, I make it a habit to take notes whenever a book leaves me with a really important thought. In this case, the book was When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom. This particular book really stimulated my brain, and produced a hastily scribbled list of page numbers each followed by a partial quote and indication of where on the page it was. Some of them are still interesting, but perhaps I'll delve into them in a later entry.

This entry will be devoted to what I found on the back of that page: a couple paragraphs of random musings regarding how sex and sports are similar. I could not, at first, remember why I'd explored this particular line of thinking. Fortunately, at the end of my musings, I'd made a note about the catalyst for the thought. It turns out my mother had been downstairs watching a football game, and I overheard some very strange noises from where I was installed in my cave upstairs. The noises went something like this: Oh! Oh! Yes. Yes Yes Yes Yes! Go for it! You've almost got it! Keep going keep going! YES!!!

I trust you can see how I might have made the connection. I will mention, whether it is relevant or not, that my mother is not a sports fan. She rarely watches any sports at all, and has almost no working knowledge of the rules of most sports. And yet she can become passionately involved in any given game. I am also not a huge sports fan. If I get truly excited about any sport, it's soccer. But, honestly, I don't really follow soccer, and who can blame me. The US isn't exactly a powerhouse in soccer, nor are Americans particularly vehement fans demanding television coverage. Anywho, I have trouble understanding how people can become so worked up about a bunch of grown men running around chasing each other, clapping each other on the back, and slapping each other's butts. Aside from the all but required attendance at high school athletic games involving our Arch Rival, I've rarely felt moved to participate in the shouting that goes on at sporting events. You are not encouraged to infer from this anything regarding my sex life. So, here are my thoughts regarding the connection between sex and organized sports.

Perhaps the reason some people like sports so much is how similar the reactions are to a sexual encounter. We can get excited, passionately excited. We can scream, yell obscenities, or wave our arms about. We can hug people around us, give high fives, and do chest bumps. And while these are remarkably similar to behaviors exhibited in the throes of passion, no one finds any of this behavior strange, not even when exhibited in crowded, public spaces. We can also be totally disgusted with a favorite team or individual player. We can give corrections, point out flaws, and generally show our disfavor without causing hurt feelings. These are certainly things we can't do with sex. Just try giving a gentle correction and you'll spend the next week trying to gain forgiveness. How much more fabulous can you get. A venue that allows you to display the passions of the bedroom in open public, while also allowing you to give voice to frustrations without worry of a (long lasting) negative response.

That is as far as my contemplation went last year, but I think I'd like to add to it. I was going to say something about the length of a normal game in either of the favorite American Sports: baseball and football. I was going to joke about dispelling the myth of men not providing enough foreplay by pointing out that men allow themselves to get all worked up for hours watching a single game. I was going to try to offer advice to women based upon these observations. Then I remembered just why it is that I hate baseball and football: a short (seriously, in football we can be talking mere seconds) burst of amazing action, followed by a much longer stretch of nothing, and then another short burst of amazing action, before lapsing into another long stretch of nothing. If we want to discuss just football, I can even go so far as to point out that those long stretches of nothing involve lots of hugging and fondling and butt cheek grabbing that finally leads to a short burst of amazing action. Please tell me I don't have to be any more obvious. So, I guess I'm not going to dispel the foreplay myth. Sorry boys, you'll have to come up with your own argument for that one.

01 January 2009

As I promised myself I would do when the new year began, I have started research for my new Big Idea. This time, I might just be able to stick to it. What's different this time, you may ask. And I would answer you: the subject matter. My latest Big Idea will allow me to happily wallow in my favorite obsession: Vermont. What it means to be a Vermonter, what characteristics one acquires to survive in Vermont, why Vermont is the best place on earth. And, as if the cosmos are giving me an encouraging thumbs up, this morning Willem Lange had a wonderful little commentary on VPR. I highly recommend listening to it, if only for that little bit of Northeast Kingdom accent at the end.