'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
It’s been 10 days now* since the earth stopped rotating on its axis, since pigs began to fly, since Satan started using ice skates. It’s been 10 days since the Red Sox won the World Series and I’m still kind of numb. Some reflections:
When the “Ultimate Dream” came true, when they finally secured that last out, late at night on October 27th, I immediately called the two people most responsible for getting me sucked into this crazy addiction in the first place, my parents. My mom answered the phone and my dad quickly picked up on the extension, and we babbled for about five minutes. “I can’t believe it!” “Wasn’t it great?!” “I was so nervous!” “I never thought I’d see this day,” “I can die a happy man,” etc. We concluded the phone call with a round of heartfelt I love yous.
The next day my mother called me. “Did you call here last night?” she asked. “Of course I did,” I said, “Don’t you remember?”
“Well, I talked to your brother Neil during the day yesterday, and he said he would call us the minute they won. Right after we were apparently talking to you, he called, and I said to him, ‘Why’d you call again?’ and he said, ‘What do you mean? I tried to get through but the line was busy,’ and I said, ‘Well then, who were we just talking to?’”
So during one of the most special moments in Dunn Family history, during one of the most intimate and fond exchanges I’ve had with my parents in a long time, my mom and dad thought they were talking to my brother Neil. Oh well, who cares? The Sox still won.
Imagine that Bruce Willis wins an Academy Award. As soon as his name is announced as the winner, late at night during the Oscar telecast, people start calling me at home. “Congratulations, Bill. You must be very happy. Congratulations.” For the next week, people continue to call me, send congratulatory emails, and stop their cars in front of my house while I’m raking leaves and shout, “Hey Bill! Congratulations! Bruce Willis won!”
Pretty insane scenario, huh? But these exact things happened to me when the Red Sox won, and no one thinks it is strange. No one, that is, except my wife, who has incredulously said at least 30 times in recent days, “Why are they congratulating you?! You didn’t do anything!”
Not true, my dear. For 37 years, since the age of 10 way back in 1967, I have persevered. That’s what I’ve done, persevered. (I can’t honestly say I never lost hope, because I did lose hope—many times. But I never gave up caring, and that’s the difference.) I know my wife doesn’t understand, but oh well, who cares? The Sox still won.
I have yet to break the news to my wife, but right after the heartbreaking Bucky Dent game in 1978, I sort of made a deal with God. (Which is kind of amazing considering that I was an atheist at the time. But when you’re distraught over the Sox, you’ll take drastic measures, including praying to a deity you won’t even believe exists until six years later.)
Anyway, over the years I forgot about that particular promise, as new chapters in the Red Sox Tale of Woe were written. And after the Bill Buckner nightmare in 1986, it seemed pretty certain that the Red Sox were cursed never to win the World Series during my lifetime, and my deal with God would not be an issue.
But then surprisingly, 10 days ago it happened. (Surprisingly? The correct words are more like cataclysmically, stunningly, unthinkably.) So I’m not really sure how my wife and daughters are going to react when I fulfill my vow and enter the Catholic priesthood. Maybe the church won’t notice if my wife and kids are living with me in the Rectory. Oh well, who cares? The Sox still won.
* (Note: this column appeared in the newspaper on Sat., Nov 6th.)
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