Sid Net: Against the deadline

Sid is not content with the current state of affairs. Join his monologue and see the world through the eyes of a true visionary.

Deadlines…the bane of my life. The sun sneaks through the blinds and into this ravaged abode. My eyes are heavy and sore from the previous night’s exertions. It is difficult for a moment to part my eyelids as the sleep slime has settled. I sit up and do the customary regretful exhalation followed by the fleeting despair at my situation.

Sitting at the edge of the bed, I turn around; there is someone present next to me. It is not the spouse. She and I parted ways along time ago. “You’re married to your job Sydney,” she would shout. There was always shouting. “Shat ap,” I would reply. A witty retort. Jesus, if she could see me now. The sheets lie still while another hapless victim snores off the sins from our chance encounter. Serendipity? I don’t think so.

Here I am again, picking clothes off a stranger’s floor. These mornings are becoming de rigeur. The life of a sports writer: neither humorous nor hyperbolic, neither righteous nor gracious. Where did I leave my car?

The latch is undone, nice one. I wander down another lonely suburb. Socks damp and shirt grimey and clinging to my back. A modern day Harry Angstrom I am, sans any sporting talent. I manage to pry open my Chevy. First destination, pick up pay cheque for previous weeks, ahem, work. The money will travel into the account, subtract child support, tax, levies and a host etc, and there’s just enough for yours truly to exist and inebriate oneself for another week.

I begin driving. The destination is uncertain. I’ve been threatening to quit for almost a decade now. I’m not going to be a copy monkey anymore. I was supposed to be one of the greats. “I had weird memories of you, pissing in a sick I think, I had weird memories,” cries Mr Berninger from the cassette player. A tape of the National, those Ohio crooners that soothe my soul, got stuck in there years ago. No harm.

I used to be, all starey eyed, eager and full of hope for this game. “You’re too much of an optimist for this gig Sid,” they used to say to me. A bless, if they could see me now. I sit idle and bored on the periphery of courtsides, pitches and halls. I roll my eyes across the table from athletes and coaches. I treat my fellow comrades with contempt. It wasn’t meant to be like this surely. The Smiths: Gary and Red; no relation, McLaren, Humphries, McIlvanney, Keating and so on. I thought I would be in the pantheon of the greats by now. I thought I would weave words and tell the stories from beyond the game.

Must quit drinking. The car is making me nauseous. I get out and decide to have a canter through the city of my birth. I pass by the window of a book selling conglomerate; that old war horse Giles is signing copies of his new tome. What does he make of all the antics of today’s stars? It wasn’t like that in our day. Sleeves rolled up, the sphere heavy and bruised, studs flying into shins, elbow to chest, “get up and get on with it” they’d shout. Hard unforgiving pitches up in the industrial towns in borough where on one could hide.

These modern day fellas won’t even answer their phones. Maybe it can all be different. The boss tells me there’s a kid from Killybegs making it big across the water. Maybe I’ll try to listen to him today. Try to understand his story and his motivation. What made him want to go beyond the ordinary? Maybe I can be debonair in the company of others instead of hallowing the atmosphere of every space I occupy.

I hear talk of sovereignty going out of fashion. We lost that a long time ago lads. The lines that separate our beloved back pages from the “real” writers have become blurred in recent times. At least we work in the toy section. I don’t think I could stomach writing about things that actually matter per se.

Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express

Intense patriotism. Dilute to taste. Two anthems? Only in Eire. “The last refuge of a scoundrel,” they will shout. I remember being young and carefree on those old side streets kicking the leather around.

Austerity measures? As long as they stay away from my gonads I’ll be happy. There are some things you just can’t cut back on. I pass a news stand and stare at the settled ink. Seems the “Association” and the Pontiff are finally agreeing on the use of helmets. Blurred lines.

I can hear the din of a far away crowd. Marx was right; we are all looking for that collective experience. Maybe sport is not such a bad thing? Yes, the great world would continue to spin if games did not exist, but who would care. And God knows who would employ my sorry ass? Wait a second. Noise? Crowd? The ball game is on now! Fuck! The deadline!

Sid races off into the distance and the rat race begins again.

Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express

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