Earlier today I was at Barnes and Noble. As I was leaving, I passed the maternity/baby section, and one title caught my eye: 100,001 Best Baby Names. I didn’t have time to stop and check,* but I’m really hoping the last name on the list was “Irrelevant”.**
* Actually, I did have time to check, but the names were listed in alphabetical order, not rank order. The last name in the book was “Zygmunt”, which while being a bad name for a baby, is certainly not worse then “Dweezil”.
** For those who don’t follow football†, the last person selected in the NFL draft each year is given the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant”. He is always cut during training camp, but as a consolation prize, his mother gets a nice picture of him in his NFL uniform.
Trigger warning: “Trigger” did not make the list of the 100,001 best baby names. It came in at 100,003, right behind “Cruella“.
† By “football”, I of course mean football. The kind played in the United States and Canada (and London in weeks 4, 7, and 8). You’re thinking of “fútbol” (pronounced “SOCK-er”), which is an endurance match in which a dozen men see how long they can run around a field in shorts without scoring any points or doing anything interesting. The current record is 60 minutes, plus two 15-minute overtime periods, held by every soccer game that ever went into double overtime.
Notice of Total Justification Anecdote: One time at the gym, I was on the treadmill, and the TV in front of me was showing a World Cup semifinal match between a European team and a Latin American team. (I believe it was Germany vs. Argentina, but it could have been the Holy Roman Empire vs. the Incas for all it matters.) There was about 5 minutes left in the game, and the score was tied 0-0. I walked away as fast as I could, but as I was on a treadmill, I didn’t get far.
So I watched the rest of the game, rooting for a final score of 0-0, so that the semifinal game of the world’s most inexplicably popular competition would have to be decided on penalty kicks. (For Americans, this would be the equivalent of having the NFC Championship game end 0-0 and be decided by a punt, pass and kick contest, or the NBA semifinals end 0-0 and be decided by a game of Horse.) I knew little about soccer, so when they announced at the end of regulation time that there would be an overtime to break the tie, I was very disappointed, but I was still on the treadmill, so I kept on rooting. Eventually (15 minutes later chronologically, 7 weeks later subjectively), the overtime ended at 0-0. I was devastated to find out that there was another 15 minute overtime period, but at least it would be the last. To my great dismay, one of the teams (either the Toltecs or Austria-Hungary, I don’t remember) scored with less than 2 minutes (subjective time: 3 months) remaining.
I remember two things that reinforced my preconceived notions of soccer (the best kind of notions):
- Since the purpose of soccer is to avoid scoring points, one of the important statistics they maintain is “shots on goal”, the number of times a player accidentally kicks the ball toward the goalie. In this game, at the end of regulation time, the Mayans had 0 goals on 12 attempts, and the Merovingians had 0 goals on 13 attempts, for a combined Futility quotient of 0-25.
- At one point, the color commentary guy (who was British, or possibly English), made the following statement after a missed shot on goal:
That would have been a splendid goal had it occurred.
When you have been reduced to subjunctive commentary, it’s time to go watch cricket. At least it’s confusing enough to hold one’s attention.
Public service announcement: While searching for a baby wearing Carolina Panthers gear, I stumbled upon this picture of a baby wearing a Cleveland Browns helmet:
The child is clearly waiting for the Browns to make the playoffs, or possibly got confused and is watching fútbol. Child Protective Services has been made aware of this abuse in either case.
Author’s note: This post was written in the style of Edgar Allen Poe, who apparently didn’t like soccer either.