“You know what pleasure was to Epicurus?” I called out to Mary in the middle of the Steelers-Broncos playoff game. “What?” she said amid the din.
“Peace of mind!” I shouted.
Well, we had little peace of mind — and therefore, little pleasure — during that game, I tell you. There was God’s anointed, Tim Tebow, in Denver’s backfield, and on our side, a hobbled but valiant Ben from a city that had once been blackened at 8 a.m. by the smoke from its hellish blast furnaces.
“Beat God! Beat God!” we began to chant.
But, in the end, of course, God beat us . . . ordaining as He did so some pretty nifty long passes that ripped our secondary to shreds and confounded our towel-waving legions.
Why, we wondered, weren’t we so favored? We’d lived, if not exemplary, at least decent lives. Or, as my stepmother used to say (in the first confession she’d made in 40 years), we hadn’t done anything anyone else hadn’t done. We were believers, too. We had faith. And yet — was it because we were secular humanists? — the Almighty apparently had singled us out for abasement.
’Tain’t fair, McGee.
Not that my son-in-law, who grew up in Denver and went with his brother to their games, and who remains an ardent Broncos fan to this day, is any more religious than we are. If anything, I would say he’s an Existentialist, given his perduring tragic history of dashed mile-high hopes, always rolling the stone up the hill only to have it roll down again.
I’m told, however, that he was seen to genuflect in the fashion of Tim Tebow when calls went the Steelers’ way at crucial points in the agon, that he hailed the touchdown pass at the start of the overtime period as “a f—-ing miracle!” and that, should the Broncos make the Super Bowl, he’s considering full immersion in a spa filled with Fat Tire Amber Ale.
“ . . . I hereby baptize thee, Gavin, in the name of John Elway, Tim Tebow, and Demaryius Thomas, Amen.”
Even though Mary and I have been cast out, hurled, as it were, into the abyss by a jealous God and his agent, Tim Tebow, I wish my son-in-law well. We are, after all, all in this together — at least that is what we are led to believe by Epicurus and his disciple, Lucretius.
Except, of course, when it’s the Steelers versus the Broncos.