The dog found a new bone

The director’s cut was way too long to tolerate

About a decade or so ago there was a TV advertisement that would run during big college football or basketball games. The commercial was like a bunch of short clips of college athletes working out and practicing and in their respective games, and the general thrust of the thing was to show that they were all also really good students and that the “student” part of student-athlete was meaningful. I think this ad might have been made partially in response to the (pretty valid!) criticism that some scholarship receiving division one athletes were basically in pro sports minor league, and not really students, and also not being paid, and that was sort of a problem.

The TV spot ended with a line like “there are over 400 thousand NCAA student athletes, and most of us are going pro in something other than sports”. If you’re not in on the language of pro sports recruiting, the “going pro” wording in this sentence is doing a lot of work. Because doing this means you lose your amateur status and maybe college eligibility and maybe possibility of competing in certain events, the act of “going pro” for a high caliber athlete is a big deal.

More specifically, for basketball players at the time, their was contemplation of “going pro” early and not actually finishing their college degree — sometimes coming out of college to join the professional (paid) basketball leagues of the day (perhaps most famously, the National Basketball Association, aka the NBA, descended from a guy who hung on a peach basket in his gym one time) — after only finishing their sophomore or junior or hell even just their freshman year.

I think it would be cool if people who were also in college but who were not in any way student athletes started announcing that they were “going pro” in something. This would be like the most over the top Power Move way to announce “I ran out of money for tuition and frankly I’m not sure that my degree was actually going to increase my earning power so I can’t keep doing this”. You could call in a whole gaggle of press people and have them surround you with microphones and walk them through your thinking. You could make clear that they know how much you cherished this institution and would have enjoyed seeing the fans at the arena a few more times your senior year, but how this move (to a local café as a baristä) was the right move for you and your family at this time.

We couldn’t reconcile the new facts with the old fictions

Included in the US department of defense response to the current ongoing pandemic are a collection of protocols designed to limit transmission within the service and broader population, and keep the troops combat-ready or what have you. One aspect of the response is obviously to embrace a test and quarantine program for symptomatic individuals, but there’s also an element of random testing on asymptomatic people in there as well.

This means that there’s almost definitely some person or a team of people whose job it is to make sure that both types of testing are properly and thoroughly conducted throughout all branches of the service, at home and abroad, foreign or domestic, with us or against us, hibbity-bibbity, lickety-split. Now that I write that all out it occurs to me that you could describe the world beer market in a similar way to how you describe the troops? Like you’ve got the national guard who were both brewed at home and also serve at home - this is like a local microbrew or something. Then you’ve got the army who were brewed at home but are deployed worldwide - I guess this is like the Budweiser of troops? There’s got to be some sort of elite team of Jamaican special ops people who are currently deployed somewhere in the US doing a training exercise with their US counterparts, right? They’re training them in like, Jamaican stuff. Whatever they have in Jamaica that we don’t have here. Hard to know. These guys are like the Red Stripe of troops.

Anyway that’s not really going anywhere so back to the point - which is that you’ve got this group of people who are making sure the testing goes correctly. You’ve gotta figure somewhere in the world there’s a nuclear submarine just roaming the seas of the world and it hasn’t come up for air since last summer when it was first deployed. To be clear, I have no inside knowledge of where the submarines are, I’m just guessing on this. Don’t hold me to it. So you’ve got this submarine and it’s been underwater the whole time, sufficiently in advance of the coronavirus showing up that there’s very very likely not any possibility of the coronavirus being on or getting into the submarine.

But at the same time there’s this team of people responsible for testing and this submarine is technically part of the military and thus under the jurisdiction of their making sure people get tested powers. I bet like every week they have an awkward conference call where the people on the testing team start screaming about how the sub is ruining their numbers by being an entire unit without any testing at all being performed, but then the submarine people are talking about how they don’t want to surface to blow their cover and also how the only thing that could possibly happen by allowing a team of test deliverers to liaise with their boat would be to actually increase the chances of coronavirus being on the boat since obviously they don’t have it now. And then the test people are like “look, our performance bonuses are contingent on getting all units tested!” and the submarine people are like “this is stupid, bye!” and they hang up the sub-phone.

Ruffling the feathers before they ruffle you

In games of “musical chairs” a group of people will walk or run or dance around a central group of chairs while some music plays. When the music stops everyone attempts to quickly go sit down on an open chair. The catch is that there’s one fewer chair than there are people, so someone is left standing, feels embarrassed, and is deemed “out” of that game of musical chairs. Then a chair is removed and the whole process repeats itself until there’s only two people and one chair left - then the sitter in that round is the winner of the game.

I wonder if among the chairs they keep stats on who amongst them has been the last and final chair the most number of times. Maybe they also track who has had a “tie” situation where two people sort of half-sit on them at the same time leading to confusion and some sort of tie-breaker need. Maybe the chair who is most frequently the first one to be removed from the game is considered some sort of loser … or maybe being removed first is actually desirable because it saves you the constant aggressive sitting upon activities of the later rounds in the game.

I guess we probably can’t know what the chairs are thinking, because we can’t talk to chairs.