November 13th, 2011

Loon

"How 'bout dem BEARS?"

The least depressing things about the past two weekends were The Bears having big wins, especially today when they took it to the Detroit Lions 37-13 (with the one Lions touchdown coming at the tail end of the game when the Bears were basically letting them slowly march down the field to eat up time). How sad a comment is it on my emotional balance that having a football team win or lose is a major factor on how I feel? Of course, these days it's not if I'm going to be happy or sad, more like a depth meter on depression ... Bears win, I'm less depressed than I would have been without a game happening, Bears lose, I've got one more thing dragging me down. Needless to say, if I wasn't two and a half years without a job (and looking at another "dollar store" Xmas, and a not-very-special "sweet 16" birthday for my elder daughter coming up), I'm guessing that depression wouldn't be an issue ... but, damn, it's hard to keep any positivity going when every day is just spinning my wheels looking for work.

Now, my emotional gauge being linked to the Bears is not a new thing. While I haven't had a drink in over a quarter century, back in "my drinking days", somebody on the other side of the planet could have made a fairly accurate prediction of what my emotional state was going to be like, based on how the Bears had done. If they won, I'd be a happy, celebrating drunk for several days after the game, but I'd be a sad, disillusioned drunk (frequently lying on the floor of my living room, playing improvised dirges on my bass) until the next gameday.

Back then I was Vice President in a Public Relations firm, and was almost a cliche of the hard-drinking PR guy - having to drink to work and having to work to drink - with long stressful hours buffered by the booze. The Bears were hardly my only emotional touch-point at the time, but they were somewhat iconic for me. However, I was spiraling down into darker and darker zones, and was finally convinced to quit drinking (which I did, cold-turkey, on July 1, 1985).

I have always meant to send a note to Bears owner Virgina McCaskey (daughter of George Halas) expressing how important the Bears march to SuperBowl XX was to me, as I was certain to try to "drink off" a Bears loss, and having the Bears go 15-1, with just that one late-season loss to the Dolphins, gave me a level of "emotional support" that was invaluable in my getting used to sobriety.

Anyway, was mulling this stuff around in my head, and figured I'd dump it out in here for all the world to see. (Yeah, I know ... one more thing for some HR Department or Hiring Manager to find and round-file my resume!)


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