Long before I started writing for the Daily Norseman, I did a bit of dabbling in the science of psychiatry. Nothing official. No certificate from any college or anything like that. But, yeah, I did some reading - Skinner, Pavlov, Freud... that one other guy. I studied eastern philosophy, juxtaposed it with western values, judged it’s merits using my Northern Minnesota sensibility, and drank a lot of Southern Comfort. I even learned the finer points of palm reading and tarot cards. All in an effort to understand and help my fellow man.
For a while, I set up a side-gig helping others help themselves. I felt that I was doing a service for people who weren’t quite in need of serious psychiatric help, but maybe needed a boost in self-confidence, or a little perspective in dark times. Kind of like a best friend would do if you found yourself in need of a pick-me-up. Not quite a life coach, not quite a counselor, but something along those lines. Sort of. Really, it’s a job that any good bartender could do.
Somewhere in the last few weeks, word of my former dabbling apparently got out, and my inbox has begun filling up with strange requests for guidance. Today, my inbox absolutely exploded with people looking for help.
Back in the day, every newspaper worth a nickle ran advice columns from the Friedman sisters, Pauline and Eppy - “Dear Abby” and “Ask Ann Landers”, respectively. Because I feel that my fellow DN’ers have shown time and again that they are a supportive, welcoming group, I’ve decided to share some of these calls for help and see if any of you good folks would be able to help. So, put your favorite nature sounds disc in the ol’ CD player, fire up the aromatherapy bubblers, put on some soft, comfy clothing, and let’s help these good people resolve their issues. Oh, and I’ve changed the names of the people who sent these requests - you know, to maintain their anonymity.
Today, Josh Allen made me his personal plaything. I was putty in his hands. He kept staring at me across the line of scrimmage, and just before starting each play, he’d wink at me. I foolishly assumed he wanted me to be the one to make the play - like he wanted to help me get that new contract that I’ve wanted for so long. But then he kept making me look bad. He ran straight past me, jumped over me, leaped right through me. He made me feel so inadequate. Please tell me that everything’s gonna be OK.
Dear Mr. Burr,
Everything IS going to be OK. Bullying manifests itself in many forms, and you were definitely bullied today. Shame on Josh for doing you that way. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Show him that you’re the bigger person, and just ignore him. You’ll probably never see him again, and if you do, he probably won’t even remember.
Man, this sucks. A few weeks ago, I came to town thinking I could make a difference for the team. But so far they haven’t even let me play! I came here because I thought me and Zim were tight. Do you think I’m already in Zim’s doghouse? Do you think it was something I said?
I’ve never met the guy, but he seems like he’s a pretty good dude at heart. Maybe he forgot you’re on the team? You should knock on his office door right away in the morning - maybe bring him a pumpkin spice latte - and have a nice visit with him. Just a couple of friends having a chat. I’m positive that he’d appreciate it - really, who wouldn’t? You could talk about gardening, or nature, or the type of books you each like to read. Share some laughs! It’ll rekindle your friendship, and also give you a chance to get to know your coach on a non-football level.
What the actual [heck] is going on with these refs these days? I get paid a [large amount] of money to hit the [darn] quarterback. Hard! And these [jerks] are calling me on it every [god blessed] time. What the [french]???
Talk me down,
I can tell by the tone of your message that you’re really, really frustrated. First things first: let’s work on cutting down on the profanity. Profanity is the weak man’s language, and it sure doesn’t sound like you’re a weak man. Calm, soothing language will help you overcome your challenges, because change starts internally. Say it with me: “The referees are pretty nice people, and they have feelings and fears, and hopes and dreams, too. Just like me.” Maybe you could try hitting a different player? Freud might tell us that hitting the quarterback is just a substitute for something else. Be the best ‘you’ that you can be, and the rest will take care of itself.
I haven’t had a chance to thank you. I don’t know if you remember me, but I sent you a message a few months back. You advised me to move on after the Vikings began showing interest in Kirk Cousins. Well, I took your advice and I’m in a really good place now. I’m down in Arizona, beginning what I’ve begun to call my “working retirement”. The weather is really nice - which has been great for my arthritic knees - and the team that I’m with these days doesn’t expect much from me. They’ve already drafted my replacement, and everybody seems to want him in the lineup anyway, which takes all the pressure off of me. I can get back to doing what I do best - collecting a paycheck! My only complaint is that most of the year it’s too hot to wear sleeves, but I’ll fight through it! Anyhoo, I just wanted to write back and say thank you.
Sooo… thank you!
Sure I remember! And I’m glad to hear you’re in a better place. There’s nothing worse than putting maximum effort into a relationship - only to have your “partner” tell you they’ve found somebody new. There’s nothing that you can say or do that will make them change their mind and suddenly want you again, and chasing them will only break your heart more. At that point, it’s time to just get on with your own life. Stay strong, friend! By the way - you’re an inspiration to all of us who are nearing retirement age!
How come when I make a good catch, nobody cares? But I drop two passes in overtime and suddenly I’m the worst person in the world? Don’t people know that underneath my helmet there’s a person who desperately wants to do well and make people happy?
11 Shades of Frustration
If I could give you a hug through my internet connection, I would. It sounds like that’s what you need right now. So, huuuuuuuuggggzzzz!!! LOL!! But seriously, you are a special person. Even if you lived in a crate under the Stone Arch Bridge, you are a special person! Don’t let anyone take that from you, ever. In fact, think of the ball as your best friend! He’s coming at you, he’s coming at you, he’s coming aaaat you….. And…. HUG! Give that little fella a BIG ol’ hug! The ball is your best friend and wants to spend more time with you! And every time you drop a pass, think of me giving you a big hug. Squeezing you tightly. Around the neck.
I’ve spent much of my life sacrificing my own happiness and glory to protect quarterbacks. And what happens? They get all the glory in the wins, but don’t take any of the blame for the losses! AND they get the huge contracts! Well, I’m tired of it! This past summer I took a vacation to North Carolina and I ran into a guy who used to work where I do. He told me nobody gave him any credit, either! So I’m taking his advice and I’m only going to protect them when it works for me. I’ll show people who the real “most valuable” players are - the offensive linemen! Am I being selfish for this?
If you can ask the question, you have to be prepared for any answer - even an uncomfortable one. Yes. You are being selfish. If you do your job strictly for the glory, you’ll forever set yourself up for disappointment. Try helping those around you achieve glory. And when they are successful, see how much they appreciate your efforts! There’s no “I” in “team”, but there sure is a “me” in self-improvement”!
If you have time, can you give me a quick Tarot reading? Lately, I’ve been having second thoughts about moving my career to Minnesota. Maybe I just need to be reassured that I’ve come to the right place.
Happy to help. I’ll grab the cards and let you know what they say:
Ahhh! The 8 of Cups, Reversed! Here’s what it means: You may be thinking about leaving a situation that seems as if it is no longer working. There is a need to stop and think about it a bit longer. You may not have given the situation enough time yet. It’s important to keep reminding yourself that good times lie ahead for you. If your gut is telling you that you really need to get out of a job, trust yourself... but think long and hard first. Look before you leap and weigh all the pros and cons, if possible. You may be feeling a powerful urge to get out of your current work situation. There is a reason why you are feeling this way; don’t disregard your feelings, but at the same time don’t feel you have to move immediately either.
Hope that helps!
You don’t know me, but I’ve been a huge fan of your work for some time. My name is [Milo] and I’ve been a football coach for almost forty years. In that time, my approach hasn’t changed much. I’m a foot-in-your-ass-when-you-screw-up type of guy. For the most part, that’s gotten me where I’ve needed to go. Now, my team is stacked with talent - especially my beloved defense - and no matter how hard I kick them, they don’t seem to be responding. Is it time to start trying a different technique? Do I need to start being more of the nurturing-type?
Head Coach Milo Zimmerman
DID YOU WATCH THE GAME!? I’m not sure you can even PUT your foot far enough up your team’s collective ass to make a difference! In fact, after watching the game, I might track you down and put my foot up YOUR ass! Here’s a hint, Einstein - the league has figured out your oh-so-exotic defense! Like, months ago! But hey, genius, keep banging your head into that same wall! Maybe something different will happen! Oh, and tell El Floppo - or whatever the hell your fancy new coordinator’s name is - that when your eighty-four million dollar quarterback has exactly point-four seconds to drop back, find his receivers and get rid of the ball…. *dingdingding* maybe try running the ball!? Four carries on the day for your entire backfield? FOUR? Do you want me to summon the ghost of Adrian Peterson to haunt you for the rest of your life? JEEZUS MURPHY! NOW I NEED THERAPY!