Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fast Friends

June 12, 2011. The Miami Heat are about to lose the NBA Finals 4-2 to the Dallas Mavericks.

I'm already in the future. It's an early afternoon on June 13 where I am, Korea, working in localization at NHN, home to the country's leading Internet search (Naver) and online video game (Hangame) portals. I'm listening to ESPN Radio's broadcast, and I know that, for now, the sky is falling. I skip lunch, go to the bathroom to take a shit that won't manifest even though my bowels are wrung like a drenched towel, go back to my desk and send my wife a text message.


There are a lot of things that I love and dislike about professional sports, but the one question I have kept returning to over the years is, "Why do we care so much about something that affects our lives so little?" I don't have a solid answer to that question, but I do have a fraction of one: It's because we care. And caring is not a bad thing. It can get warped and twisted (see: soccer hooligans, Batfans, etc.), but caring about a TV show, sports team, or any other innocuous ephemera is -- at least to me -- a pure human emotion. We care because we appreciate; and we appreciate because we care.

That caring, that love, can quickly and violently become an ugly thing, however. Expectations, rational or irrational can find terrible paths when unmet. El Salvador and Honduras participated in mutual military aggression partially due to a football match. Vancouver has seen two riots after the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. Hell, Los Angeles and Montreal have had riots when their sports teams win.

I don't know what leads to such a level of insane passion, although I'd like to, simply out of curiosity. What I do know is that on June 13, 2011 I was down. The Miami Heat, in the first year of the Big 3 era, had lost in the Finals, much to the delight of anyone who wasn't a Heat fan.

I needed a quick fix. I needed something to make me feel better, immediately.

So, like a child asking to go get ice cream after losing a soccer game, I called my wife and asked her to buy a dog, a dachshund, specifically. Bless her heart, she did.

I named him Flash, after the nickname of my favorite basketball player. I never could have imagined how apt that name would be; shorty can outrun a bolt of lightning, I'm convinced.

Why did I pick a dachshund? The most common answer to that question that I have given when anyone bothers to ask is that I live in an apartment, and I wanted a small dog who could comfortably live in an apartment. But I didn't want a toy poodle, a Chihuahua, or a lot of the other small dogs that some people buy more to keep as accessories rather than pets.

I think the real answer, though, is that a dachshund, with its long body and short legs, floppy ears and pointed nose, is my definition of an incalculable smile brought to life. The dachshund, for me, is a panacea.

Four years later, on a Sunday afternoon, Flash nestled in my lap, I am writing a love letter to my dog, who will never read this. But he knows how much I care about him, and I know how much he cares about me.

You can learn a lot from the eyes of a dog. They can't talk, but their look can convey more than most people can express in words.

[Insert David Berkowitz joke here.]

We bros. I'm Popeye, and you're my spinach.

I look into those tiny, wet black eyes and see pure love and affection.

If only everything else could be as such.

No comments: