For me, little tops the indulgent satisfaction of crisp, hoppy IPA and an action movie. Both provide a pleasantly mind-numbing experience that I find thoroughly enjoyable; I can escape from the world, even if it's only for 90 minutes or so. And while the theater I recently patronized frowns on the attempt to BYOB, I was at least able to unplug for Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Now, in point of fact, this flick was a bit longer than your standard smash-em-up, clocking in around 165 minutes. And I was in the presence of enough other moviegoers, my kids in particular, to sort of burst my bubble of solitude. But still...DINOBOTS! Ermergerd!
Sure, the explosion of Bayhem was overwrought, the dialogue was sappier than pure maple syrup, and the plot was murky at best, but when my son got all giddy at the sight of Optimus Prime's upgrade or at the first appearance of Grimlock, that's all I really needed.
Oh, that and the fact that immediately after watching a movie in which Mark Wahlberg starred, we went to an indoor mini golf place at which they played "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Trippy. Hey kids, remember the dad from the movie we just watched? This is him! I then proceeded to sing along word for word. Talk about guilty pleasures.
But as much as love beer, 80's cartoons, and action movies without plots, the Chicago Cubs stand at the top of my list. This might not have been guilt-inducing a few years ago, but as the team has continued to flail it's gotten harder to support them with a straight face. But support them I have.
I stay awake for West Coast games and 16-inning marathons, the latter of which have often proven to be anything but free. I dress my kids in Cubs stuff; hell, I named them after the team in one way or another. I've gotten Cubs-themed tattoos and walked into my wedding reception to Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and chose my cable provider based on the availability of CSN Chicago.
This isn't meant to promote myself as Fan of the Year; I'm sure many readers have similar, if not even more crippling, affinity for the team. But the Cubs truly were my first love, and I'm sure they'll remain an inseparable part of my life for better or for worse. We've certainly seen more of the worse, poorer, and sickness lately, to be sure.
My continued support isn't about being duped by the ownership and it's not about some blind devotion that forgives every miscue and shortfall. My support is unconditional but it's not blind, if that makes sense. Being unhappy doesn't mean walking away, or at least that's how I feel.
And so I watch night after night, hoping that the Cubs can find the formula to win, even if the joy spans from only the final out to next opening pitch. I watch because I am compelled to, and not just because I need to find things to write about (though that's certainly a factor these days).
I look forward to the days when I can watch without guilt, when I won't have to ask the barkeep to change the channel on the lonely TV in the corner that no one else is watching. Odd as it sounds, I long for the days when the bandwagon's axles are once again groaning under too heavy a load.
Much as I loathed all the wannabe fans over a decade ago, I'd welcome them back now. Not because I particularly like their company, but because it'll mean that I'm once again standing in fair weather instead of under Schleprock's cloud. And despite consistent narratives to the contrary, I think I can just see the sun starting to create a little silver lining.
For now though, I'll keep watching a team still sniffing the rear end of 4th place and finding positives in another losing season. And...oh, would you look at that: my glass is empty and the rain delay ended. Time for another IPA and some more Cubs baseball.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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