Being a fan of the Detroit Lions means having to constantly look for reasons to go on. We start off just like everyone else, in full armor, in the middle of a beautiful formation of Hope, ready to march on the world and conquer Fate. But then we lose the first battle, a lot of our brothers and sisters die, and we are forced to retreat. But that’s okay. We are hardy people. We are used to pain and suffering. And so we regroup and we tell ourselves that although we lost the battle, the war is still there to be won. We attack again, and again we lose. But our general is still alive, victory is still possible, our spirits are not entirely crushed and so we tell ourselves and each other that all we need to do is find the right plan of attack. If we can just figure out how to break the enemy’s lines then we can push through and then we can route the forces of darkness all the way back to the hell from which they escaped. And so we attack again, and again, we’re beaten. This time our general dies, and half of our army goes AWOL and things are looking a little grim. But to hell with all that. We are still with our brothers and our sisters in pain and we will fight until there is nothing left to fight for. Then the enemy comes sneaking into our camp at night and butchers everyone. We manage to crawl away, and we spend the night crying to ourselves. When morning comes, we swear revenge and say that as long as we take a few of them with us, we can go to a noble death, filled with honor and glory. And so we attack their camp at night when the enemy is all drunk and senseless, but we are caught by a cook who beats us with a rolling pin and then chases us out of camp with a butcher knife. We huddle, miserable, on a makeshift bed of rocks and hatred, and we tell ourselves that we need to keep going, to forget about the fight, that as long as we can make it back home, everything will be okay. And then a coyote shows up and eats our clothes. We scream at the coyote but he just laughs at us and makes off with our underwear and we are left naked and shivering in the night. We know there is no way home, no hope for survival, but hey, we’re still alive – technically – and so we force ourselves to stand up and we start marching, aimlessly, hopelessly, and we march until we collapse in some horrible desert of despair, on the brink of death, our throats cracked with thirst, our limbs weak, our hearts shattered. We close our eyes and think “Well, this is it. At least I can die now.” And then an angel shows up with a glass of water, and he smiles at us and he tells us to drink, and we drink because deep down we want to live, we want to exist in this world even if we don’t quite understand why. The will to keep going is inexplicable and yet incredibly powerful. And so we drink, but we discover that it is not water at all, but a glass of piss. The angel rips off his disguise and reveals himself to be a Failure Demon. He laughs in our miserable faces, and we cry and we try to scream, but our voices are gone and our throats bleed, and all that comes out is a trickle of blood. And then we lie there, under the horrible, horrible sun and we try to come up with a reason to get back onto our knees and then onto our feet, but we can’t think of one and so we just lie there, and lie there, and lie there, dying. But we never die. Instead we just go mad, our naked skin blisters under the hell sun, we eat our own tongues and we stare off into a bewildering horizon that no longer makes any sort of sense to us and we just wait and we wait and we wait for the earth to rush into the sun but it never does. It never does.
The world is cruel and utterly without mercy. How else do you explain the incredibly fucked up things that keep happening to us? How else do you explain the odd little quirks of fate? I mean, two years ago, we went 0-16. Last year, the last winless team, the Rams, beat us to get their only win of the year. This year, the last winless team, the Bills, beat us. And to add a nice symmetrical bow to this fucked up neat little package, Fate decided that in the process we would also set the NFL record for most consecutive losses on the road.
I don’t even know what to say. I don’t. I am just wild eyed and stupid right now. The future is just a word, a silly idea that seems like it was born in hell as some sort of cruel trick to cause us even more pain. The past is never ending. It is eternal, unceasing. And it will exist in what is left of our hearts until the end of time, and then it will ricochet back through time until it lodges itself in the souls of our great, great, great grandfathers and when we are born our baby selves will know the pain of their future, which is really just our past, and then the universe will fold in on itself and the last thing any of us will hear is a giant groan of despair and the last thing we will see will be the ball sailing a mile over the head of Brandon Pettigrew and then everything will cease to be except for our pain, which will exist in a pure and terrible form and it will race through space consuming worlds and darkening stars and somewhere, a trillion light years away a little boy will watch his favorite team lose and the purity of our pain combined with his nascent heartbreak will cause a singularity which will cause the concept of existence itself to disintegrate and the past is the present and the present is the past and I don’t know where we are going, I only know where we’ve been and I’m naked in the desert, bleeding, my throat cracked and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and there is still football being played, but I don’t know why. I don’t know why.