I’ve never been one for mental health, but I recently started seeing a therapist, with early results pertinent to Sparts.
To give you the necessary background without getting into sordid details, I’ve found adjusting to life more difficult as time goes on. I want to spend my days writing poems, playing music, going on adventures, talking to squirrels… To quote a friend, I’m basically a ten-year-old.
My friend turned out to be more right than he knew. As the therapist worked with me to find some trauma that arrested my emotional development, we discovered something. I explained that: No, my parents’ divorce wasn’t such a big deal; No, that car crash barely mattered; No, I thought all families did that… Until at last we hit upon it. We were able to pinpoint the very hour my development came to a screeching halt: 9:30 pm on January 27, 1991. Yes, I was a contented thirteen-year-old as I watched a kick send that wobbly oval spinning up into the air like the mislaid egg of destiny, and fly wide right of the goal posts—giving the Giants a 20-19 victory, and emotionally freezing me in Queen City carbonite, to remain forever a contented thirteen-year-old in a tear-stained Bills sweater.
But all’s not lost. My therapist tells me there’s hope. Health insurance has paid for a Tudor electric football game where players are arranged on a small metal field which vibrates when its electric motor is switched on. “The imagination then takes flight as players run around the board in an unpredictable manner.”
We try three times a week to recreate that Bills-Giants Superbowl with exactness. Given enough iterations, the small electric motor is bound to vibrate the painted players so that Superbowl XXV repeats itself perfectly, up until the 14:52 mark of the 4th Q, when little plastic #11 nails that sucker dead center. And so it is a race against time as I watch these miniature guys in front of me, praying for the Nietzschean recycling of history, with just the smallest variation that will set me free: my great aleatoric gridiron hope.
My therapist is now penning a scholarly article on what she calls “Wide Right Disorder.” She’s thinking of starting her own practice called “Life after XXV” which will specialize in the condition.
Essential to her therapy is a Bruce Smith jersey that smells like lavender, a painting of Marv Levy as a centaur, and a long night climbing a greased goalpost, on a high-school football field, under the middle-school stars.
Eric Gelsinger is part of the old House Press in Buffalo, NY. His work can be found in Fence, LUNGFULL!, Ecopoetics, and Flim Forum. During the last seven years he has worked for the United Nations, and as an Equity Trader for D. E. Shaw. His interests include the economy of literature, Latin American poetry and prose, and comedy. He lives in Brooklyn.