The scene: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, mid-afternoon.
The characters: College Guy 1 (well built), College Guy 2 (skinny, fragile)
The plot: College Guy 2 sucks at throwing a football. He sucks so bad that I’m laughing at him from halfway across the lawn. I’m laughing so hard that people are starting to turn and wonder what I’m laughing so hard about. Included in these people is College Guy 2. For years, he has secretly been extremely self-critical about how bad he sucks at throwing a football, and now his worst fears have been realized. A stoned guy in a Pink Floyd T-shirt is laughing at him from a distance. He has been dreading this day, positively dreading the inevitable moment when someone, instead of politely keeping it inside, actually laughs out loud at his horribly unathletic posture and hilarious motions and strange little grunts and hiccups and sighs. If one person laughs, he fears, it could open a floodgate. And now it does. I’m not the only one laughing at this pathetic display of uncoordination. Everyone is. My buddy Sean. A couple of dudes who are playing catch with a shoe because they forgot to bring their frisbee. A pregnant mother and her five young children. College Guy 1. A goat. Why is there a goat in the park? That’s a whole different issue. I can’t address the goat in the park issue while still tackling College Guy 2’s hysterical hijinx. For the sake of argument, let’s just pretend there wasn’t even a goat at all. Let’s just pretend it’s something I made up for the purpose of this post. It’s not– because of course there was a goat in the park, a whole herd of them, in fact, I’m talking at least 35 goats, maybe 40– but let’s just use our imagination. College Guy 2 is mightily embarrassed as everyone in the whole park (not just the lawn we’re currently on, but the entire park, as even people who have been by the lake half a mile away and in no way could have seen the lackluster football skills or heard the incessant laughter emerge from their respective sections to berate the boy) emerges from their respective sections to berate the boy. And berate them they do.
The berating, heckling and rioting eventually gets to the point that I’m just feeling sorry for the kid. I mean, it’s kind of hard to, because he really sucks, but things have escalated too quickly. I don’t want to compare the situation to post-election Iran, because that would be irresponsible of me, but what I will do is compare the situation to post-election Iran if that particular situation had been considerably calmer. Either way, I’m glad I learned how to properly throw a football when I was eight years old, like I thought every other male in America had done.