I'm writing this letter as a warning to all of the unsuspecting citizens visiting this site. There seems to be an epidemic of sorts that no one is talking about openly — at least not in the polite company of ladies. This has caused me much anxiety especially as a newly wed. I had heard of the strange symptoms from my friend — her husband has been suffering for many years and I had seen them in a few of my own family members, yet I was not expecting this.
You see, lately my dear husband has been caught in the grips of a fever. He is distant and despondent, yet suddenly excitable. He is completely immune to my charms (actually, he grows impatient when I approach him), has lost interest in anything I have to say and refuses to sleep at a decent hour.
His boss was a little suspicious of his behavior at first, but now I'm convinced that he too, has caught whatever it is that my husband has. This leads me to think that his problem is contagious. Whenever I try to express my concern he stares into space, listening to some siren that I seem to be deaf to.
By the way, did I mention his symptoms are exacerbated in the late evening hours when the World Cup games are on? Please help me.
When I met my husband, one of the first things I discussed with him was sports. I had no intention of being replaced by a game of football, basketball, golf or any other kind of ball for that matter. I am second to no one, I told him.
He laughed at my declaration, thinking it was cute. He even assured me he's not that interested in sports. I distinctly recall him saying, “Well, the last time I played soccer I was 12. I don't really enjoy team sports and I prefer spending my time doing something other than watching TV.”
I was thrilled. He was cute, smart and not interested in watching sports for hours at a time. It was a match made in heaven. He forgot to mention that the exception to this rule was the World Cup.
My friend, who lives in Europe, called me a month ago sounding so depressed I urged her to tell me what was on her mind. Her husband is a wonderfully kind and thoughtful man. However, according to her, once soccer games are on, he morphs into a zombie who is blind and deaf to the presence of any one else in the house.
I chuckled, I scoffed. (Hint: never chuckle at another person's tale of woe).
“No, really!” she insisted. “I tested him during one of the games. I told him I was having an affair with an old banker who wanted to take me to a remote tropical island. He just nodded and told me it was nice that I was making new friends. I told him I'm leaving him and taking everything with me, that I was going to fly to Mars and tell the natives all kinds of stories of our sordid hidden life. He asked me if I had called a cab?”
At this point, she started crying. “I just can't take it. He talks to the TV, he listens to the analyses and players talking. He wouldn't even notice if I disappeared all together. Be careful! Save yourself before your husband gets it as bad as mine!”
By this time, I was laughing so hard, I was gasping for air. (Hint: never laugh at your friend's cries for sympathy, no matter how comical they sound).
And so, days went by, the World Cup games approached and I remained tranquil in my clueless state. At first, it was just a conversation on the phone with his friends. He asked about the games and scores. I was fine with this. Then he figured out which cable stations show the games (almost all between midnight and 9am), and he would catch the first few minutes before we went to bed, switching between the two to get the most out of his TV time.
But then, the first few minutes became the first half of the game (I fell asleep on the couch) and then a few minutes of the second half. Now, he unabashedly watches the whole game. When I sit close to him and rub his shoulder, he shoos me away as if I were a naughty kitten. He insists I go to bed and that he will be there in a minute. I fell for this ploy once, only to wake up the next morning and find his side of the bed untouched. He had fallen asleep in front of the TV, hugging the remote with the game still running.
I tried to tell him my witty stories while the players were shuffling around on the field. THERE WAS NO ACTION! He waved me to shush, it was getting good. I even tried to give him a massage when his team was losing, and he looked at me like I was interrupting peace negotiations between two battling nations. “HONEY, please!” he pleaded.
I gave in. I looked at him in despair. He looked flushed, his hair was disheveled and he was full of nervous energy as he too, talked to the TV, giving his team tips and cheering them on. I realized I had been usurped from my rightful place by a bunch of hooligans and soccer players. I could have wept. I was just another sad soccer widow.
And so ladies and gentleman (especially ladies), be warned. This threat is real, the fever is spreading. It may be late for me, but save yourselves. Turn off the TV. Resist temptation to listen to the sports reports or click on the World Cup icons on your favorite news site. This small sacrifice could save your relationships?
As for me, well, I too have caught the fever now. It's quite tragic, because I understand absolutely nothing of the game. But I watch, cheer and coach my TV. I too, am yelling and disturbing the neighbors. I'm another casualty of the Games.
At least, my husband notices me again. Now if he would just stop rubbing my shoulder!