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Born to Lose
March 2007

I’m not a bitter person. And I’m not the sort who keeps a running tally of all the numerous failures, set backs, rejections, fuck-ups, misunderstandings, embarrassments, short comings, premature ejaculations and rainy days that account for my existence.

In fact, if I lay in bed and pull the covers over my head, I can almost fool myself into thinking my life is perfect.

However, every year as April nears, I’m reminded yet again my destiny is lodged firmly, irrevocably in the L column. I still can’t help but look forward to the beginning of April, the opening of baseball season, heralding six months of misplaced optimism, unfounded hopes, gradual despair, blanketing disillusionment, and finally detached acceptance that I’ll never rise above this quagmire of crushing debt and ignored libido I call a life.

Of course, I’m a Chicago Cubs fan.

I can’t say for sure if my inability to excel came about as a result of pledging my loyalty to a team universally known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s a question of the chicken before the egg. I was born and bred to live and die by the Cubbies. And as the saying goes: I’ve been dying a little bit every day since. I know no other way.

My father was a Cubs fan. He lived the entirety of his life without witnessing his beloved team appearing in the World Series. He could have probably counted on his hands the amount of seasons the Cubbies finished with a winning record. Because of the lowered expectations and vague degradation that comes with rooting for the northsiders, my father became a janitor. And not a very good one at that. If there was a world series for flopping the mop, he wouldn’t have even made the play-offs.

I’m pretty sure it’s why I became a factory rat. Though I’m willing to accept it might have had something to do with my marked lack of ambition as well.

My daughter, bless her, hates baseball and despises the Cubbies. She thrives on competition. She’s beautiful and intelligent and witty and gracious and I’m sure she will go far in life so long as she doesn’t watch too much WGN.

My four year-old son, on the other hand, meandered out of the womb with a Cubs hat affixed to his head. Thusly, the alphabet still remains beyond his grasp. He refuses to shit in the toilet. I told him the other day next time he wears a goddam diaper he better be a fucking astronaut. He shrugged his shoulders and shit in his bed. Since there were Cubs sheets on his bed, he might have been trying to make a statement. He can throw a baseball, though, unless there’s two strikes in the count at which time he invariably gives up a homerun in keeping with Cubs tradition.

Some of my best childhood memories revolved around watching the Cubs games on WGN with my father while he got shit-faced on Old Style. This was back when the Cubs were building their basement of the central division dynasty.

As introduced to me by my dad, the team consisted of “Cocksuckin” Keith Moreland, “Lollygaggin” Leon Durham, “Red Headed Sumbitch” Jody Davis, “Shoulda retired ten years ago” Ron Cey, Bobby “I have no business in the major leagues” Denier, Ryne “Prince of Chicago” Sandberg, Rafael “Fucker of Rhino’s Wife” Palmeiro, David “Fucker of Rhino’s Wife #2" Martinez, Rick “Suck A Dick” Sutcliffe, and Wrigley Field’s ground keeper Tito Sanchez, who also happened to fuck Rhino’s wife. In fact, with all the fucking of Rhino’s wife going on, it’s amazing they had the strength to fuck up so much on the field. These memories mostly consisted of running back and forth to the refrigerator for beers, my dad becoming more despondent with every inning, Harry Carey drunkenly jarbling “take me out to the ball game” while Rhino’s wife sucks him off in the booth, everything culminating with a Cub’s defeat and a beating from the old man.

Mercifully, my father didn’t live long enough to hear the name Steve Bartman.

As I recall 2003 was a year of hope and great expectations. I received a raise at the factory, I had a few girlfriends on the side, and the Cubs were winning thanks to the leadership of Dusty Baker whose strategy relied solely on pitching Mark Prior and Kerry Wood on alternating days until their arms fell off while Sammy Sosa put down the horse steroids long enough to strike out spectacularly when there were runners on base, or, during the times when the bases were clear, crush a home run that cleared Illinois.

When the Cubs made the playoffs, there were great festivals and drunken bacchanalia in Chicago. Not so much so in Alabama.

For the most part, I watched the 2003 playoffs where I’d been getting most of my sex, lately. The backseat of my LTD parked outside the factory where I was supposed to be running my welder.

I laid in the backseat with the portable TV balanced on my gut, watching the sixth game of the National League Championship. I just finished my eighth beer and I was feeling pretty good about life. The Cubs held on to a decent lead with Mark Prior dominating on the mound. I was so goddam pleased with myself I could of masturbated.

When that son of a bitch Steve Bartman reached over and snagged that ball out of Moises Alou’s glove, I knew the streak of good fortune was over.

Knew it like I knew there were forces in this universe aligned against me.

Knew it like I knew I’d never escape the factory. Knew it like I knew Dusty Baker would leave Mark Prior in the game past the point of exhaustion.

I wasn’t even angry at Steve Bartman. That fucking jackass was only doing as fate conspired. Not because some fucking goat herder and his best goat got turned away from the Wrigley field turnstile back in the day when it was ok to be escorted by your best goat. I mean, I ain’t never had any dealings with a goat, and I still can’t win...

After the Cubs crushing defeat in the seventh game, life returned to normal. The TV drained my battery to the point I had to jump start it every afternoon to go to work and every night to get home. I picked up the clap from one of the ladies, all of whom dumped me shortly thereafter. The boss at the factory took back my raise.

I mention all this only because April is fast approaching. And the Cubs are looking good this year. Of course, it helps that Alfonso Soriano the only 40/40/40 man in major league history signed a 136 million dollar contract with the Cubbies. The pessimist in me figures he’ll end up going 20/10/15. And even my inner pessimist is a bit of an optimist. Every Cubs fan knows he’ll be injured by May.

I know all it’s going to take to turn this life around is the Cubbies winning the World Series. Look at all those cocksucking New Englanders now living the good life since the Red Sox won it all. Maybe then I can complete my novel. Maybe then my kid will shit in the toilet.


Karl Koweski resides in Guntersville, Alabama.

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