There are no second acts in American lives.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
This game's not about me. . . . It doesn't define who I am as a person.
Even the most ardent Alabama supporter has to feel a little bad for LSU. How many times do they have to beat Alabama? Wasn't the first time difficult enough? But second chances being such a rare commodity these days, it would be impolite to appear anything less than thoroughly grateful. More and more, it seems that people are not afforded a first chance in America, much less a second.
The last half of 2011 revealed the long-simmering disappointment and disillusion that a majority of people feel about their country. Not the scaremongering nonsense one finds falling off the lips of one indistinguishably nauseating GOP candidate after another, but small, practical, real concerns that a functioning government would have time and motivation to redress.
Why should the axis between one's education and employment be a recipe for instant poverty? How can the wealthiest nation on the planet have cities falling apart from road to bridge to levee? When did good health become a luxury item? None of these questions will be answered by a football game, but--hell, if you're honest with yourself--none of them will be addressed by your elected representatives either.
How much do you really understand about macroeconomics? Can you predict the consequences of a zoning board decision? How self-destructive is the average American? If you're honest with yourself, you're not going to have ready answers. Listening to a politician is likely the quickest way to lose touch with reality.
(An aside: You'd be amazed how long I can go without thinking of acts of bestiality--like, years we're talking--and even then it's because something or someone else raises the topic. Rick Santorum apparently can't make it through midweek without the subject coming up. He thinks about sex with animals with the same frequency I think about eating Indian food. Dude has problems. Conclusion of the foregoing.)
Therefore, one could turn to what the old Catholic Worker called a "revolution of the heart." If you're lucky, you make the world better in the exact diameter of your own footprint. If you're lucky and smart, you can follow another person's footprints for a while. And that combination being such a rare commodity these days, it would be impolite to appear anything less than thoroughly grateful.
More common are the unfortunate people whose every day is but a repetition of the one before, grappling with one fistful of water after another, trying to pull themselves to the surface until they've reached their reward: being too exhausted to realize they're drowning.
But also, even among that number, are those who are afforded a life preserver, some second chance that their struggle otherwise wouldn't produce on its own merit. And if that happens to you, if your drowning is stopped by a helping hand, don't be a whiny shit about it. Don't bother worrying if you deserve it. You likely don't, but that's unimportant. It's an insult to unhappy nobodies who never had a first chance to piss it away.
Thus, I have decided to solve all the world's problems within the diameter of my footprint by watching a football game, planting a garden, voting for whoever lets gay Marines get married and raise nose tackles, and telling F. Scott to go fuck himself.