August Is the Cruelest Month

I’m not going to call them the dog days because I like dogs too much. Our hounds are smarter than most people. When it’s hot, they sleep. They don’t grill. They don’t drive to the beach. If the furniture isn’t cool enough, they lie on the floor. Outside, if the ground isn’t cool enough, they dig themselves a cooler bed. Most people aren’t so smart.

For instance, even though it’s hot, some people put on pads and helmets and try to send each other to the hospital. Why can’t the NFL and its goofy fans wait for foul weather, as in ice and wind and rain and snow, at least? In that kind of weather, football almost makes sense. Real futbol, or soccer, players have the intelligence and the courage to play in what is essentially their underwear, but even so they tend to wait for cooler temperatures.

Last week there was no Sunday night baseball on ESPN. Why? Apparently football is so damned popular that they thought more people would watch an NFL exhibition game than an actual summer game that is enjoyable. Life was better before the media all consolidated. Life was also better before education became devalued to the point that so many people were so ignorant that they thought Donald Trump was smart. Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch and various other thugs led us into a dark alley and sapped us silly.

I realize that I’m not with the majority here. I grew up in western Pennsylvania, where if people found out that you didn’t love football you might have been reported to the House Un-American Activities Committee and banned from the bars. Gosh darn it, though, we have already ceded September through February to the football crowd, so why do we have to give them August as well? It wouldn’t hurt nearly as much if there was still competition and one network could show football and another baseball and perhaps another badminton or whatever but no, we all have to watch the same thing or else the ads, which been repeated hundreds of times already, won’t have any effect. Do people really buy Viagra or that Flex Seal stuff because they see it on television? I guess they do.

The melancholy is deeper this August because, as if the political conventions weren’t enough, we also are distracted by the Olympics and the televising thereof. Look, I like many sports, especially badminton, but there are two rather big things wrong with the Olympics. First, the extremely corrupt “organizing committee” that goads various dictators and their minions into destroying entire neighborhoods to build temporary structures while they “clean up” the streets from natives who don’t look so much like they want a new Lexus as they do a place to sleep and something to eat. It’s “good for the economy” the same way that sending the Mafia your grocery money would be “good for the economy”. Second, the revered athletic contests have been reduced to just another television show. That show as presented to us in the USA! USA! feels as though it was produced by Leni Riefenstahl and company with its schmaltzy music and USA centered themes. Thus, as with those political conventions, every four years that pass makes them less and less attractive.

There could be a merger of it all in four years, though, if Curt Schilling keeps his promise to run for president. As the last few weeks of the pennant races wear down, the best one can do is pay as much attention as possible to the drama that is being nudged aside like an overripe apple. Ichiro Suzuki makes us smile as he passes the famed Roberto Clemente on the all time hits list. Can the Cleveland Caucasians hold on in the American League Central? Will the Dodgers continue to track the Giants down, even without Clayton Kershaw? Will Baltimore, with Manny Machado attaining super stardom, beat back those other birds from Canada? Ah! I’m starting to feel better already.


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