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Dear Hammy: A Daily Norseman Advice Column

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We’re Back With More Sage Advice, Gentle Reader

It’s fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine.

*noisily sips coffee, intently staring at absolutely nothing, both hands wrapped around the warm ceramic cup*

Well, if you’ve followed the drama surrounding the Minnesota Vikings and their star receiver Stefon Diggs this week, you may be feeling that things are not fine. And, if you - like me - have completely tuned out the Diggs saga, but are part of the growing mass who are tiring of Kirk Cousins’ poor play and are clamoring for change at the position, you may also be feeling that things are not fine. Or, if Mike Zimmer’s consistent, unflappable, unwavering ability to make at least one crucial, costly, boneheaded coaching decision in Every. Single. Important. Game... has you feeling not so fine, well, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve once again received numerous letters over the past few weeks from some folks whose concerns have them in a fragile state. It’s my job - maybe even my calling - as a completely fake and utterly non-professional psychoanalyst to try and bring them to a better place mentally, spiritually, and even physically. Now, some folks might find that to be a fool’s errand. After all, any association with the Minnesota Vikings football team - or being a fan thereof - by definition brings with it certain characteristics - shame, paranoia, self-doubt, jealousy, anger, lust, greed, a good bit of schadenfreude, and self-hate - just to name a few. Nevertheless, I’ll do my damnedest to get these good folks back on the right path. And I’ll share the letters and advice right here on the Daily Norseman. Because, really, is there a more level-headed compassionate group of people than those of us who call this page and this team home?

So, come in, take a seat, breathe in the aromas of Lavender and Chamomile - maybe enjoy a warm cup of Lemon Balm tea. I’ve already got the Sounds of Nature CD spinning - low volume, of course. Give me just a minute to put on my fabulous new tan turtleneck and we’ll get down to business!

Dear Hammy -

I’m hoping you can help me again with a situation at work. I wrote to you last year and you advised me to stick with it and try and see it through. I’ve been at my job for about a year and a half, and lately things haven’t been going real well. See, I was brought in from another company to try and be the missing piece that would put our organization over the top. Initially, my numbers were pretty good, and people lsfkd

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Oops, sorry! I keep dropping my darn pen.

As I was saying, at first people seemed to be pretty happy with my performance. Fast forward to today, and now my coworkers seem to be really unhappy with the work I’m doing. I’ve always been an efficient, hard working person, but lately it seems like they don’t even want me around anymore. I’ve tried apologizing to them. I’ve tried to slkjlsrlghbpvo

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Dammit! Dropped my pen again.

As I was saying, I’ve tried to do things to make them like me, but it seems the harder I try, the worse the situation is getting. My numbers aren’t there, and I fear that I am letting down the company and our great customers.

Help!

Sincerely,

Kirkc Ousins

Dear Kirkc,

Sometimes when people set goals that are too lofty, they try to do things they’re physically or mentally incapable of doing. This leads to the development of bad habits, which then compound the situation. You need to get back to the small fundamental things that made you good at your job to begin with. Sometimes people in your situation need to strip it all away and get back to the core of what they do well. Here’s what I want you to remember:

QUIT looking for answers elsewhere when the answer is right in front of you.

FUMBLING around thinking the answer isn’t right there inside you will get you nowhere.

AND TRY not to let little failures define who you are as a person.

FOR ONCE upon a time, you had self-confidence.

TO be successful, you have to believe in yourself.

HOLD ON TO THE traits that got you where you were a year ago.

GOD put you where you are for a reason.

“DAMN right I’m good enough!” you’ll say to yourself.

B-ALL you can be!

Now, go get ‘em, Tiger!

Hey Hammy,

I have a question for you, and I’m totally not the same person who just wrote the last letter. In my workplace, there are people paid to protect me from harm. Sort of like linemen in football, except these guys are totally not that at all. For real. Well, for the past year and a half, they haven’t been doing a good job of it at all. In fact, new upper management was brought in to help the situation, but we’re getting the same results. The guys in the receiving department are mad at me, too. I even apologized on a radio show to one of the receiving department guys. I just want to do a good job for all of them, and I feel like sometimes their poor performance is because I’m not good enough. Maybe I don’t deserve them. Am I dragging them down?

Thanks in advance,

Curt Cousin

Dear Curt,

You, my friend, are a classic case of someone who suffers from what folks in the business call Dependent Personality Disorder. The signs are there, bud. Excessive dependence on others and feeling the need to be taken care of? Check. Submissive or clingy behavior toward others? Check. Fear of having to provide self-care or fend for yourself if left alone? Check. Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment, even when other options are available? Check! You need help, brother. And fast!

Dear Hammy,

I preside over a large North American Professional Football League. We’ve been wondering what would be the best way to improve our product. We’ve been the most popular sport in the country for a few decades now, and we’re making inroads into overseas markets for quite some time. From an economic standpoint, all arrows are still pointing up. Should we just be happy with our success and stay the course, or should we try and find new ways to keep the game interesting and risk our happiness? We have really big decisions to make, and I really need an answer fast! As in FAST, fast. Like, “as soon as you read this letter” fast!

Thanks in advance for the advice,

Rodney Goodell

Dear Rodney,

Economically, I don’t have much to offer, unfortunately. But it sounds to me like you’re looking for guidance to try and discover what would make people happier with your product, and therefore, more willing to spend their hard-earned dollars. Well, here’s my advice: Don’t mess with success. Don’t start making new rules to overcompensate for a bad call here or there. The system has worked for a hundred years now. Leave it alone. Also, make sure you deal with players who have run-ins with the law swiftly and harshly and always - ALWAYS - be consistent in the way you deal with them. A player caught smoking a marijuana cigarette in his apartment should not be given the same punishment as one with a long history of domestic violence. I hope this response gets to you in time, and you don’t make any foolish decisions. You’re smart, though, so I’m sure you won’t.

What up, Ham?

I’m feeling lonely these days. My old team let me go last spring, and the team that picked me up? Um, let’s just say it wasn’t a good fit. All I wanted to do was play ball. I told people over and over and over again on my IG account that all I wanted to do was be the best football player I could be. But they didn’t wanna hear that. I’m not sure if they just didn’t see my amazing talent, or what their problem was. But it was definitely on them. Maybe they got cold feet, who knows? So, I told them I wanted to go play somewhere else. I’m the best! I have been for a long time. Obviously someone liked me, because ANOTHER team traded for me. All of a sudden THIS team lets me go. What the hell, man? Why are so many teams so bad at seeing how really talented I am? I have so much to offer!

You know I’m right, right?

Antoni O’Brown

Hey Antoni,

Right on, brother! What you really need to do is this: Find a social media outlet to let the world get a better look at who you are. It’s totally obvious that the problem is that nobody knows exactly the type of person you are. Post stuff up constantly! Go old school on them - you know, to maybe let them know that you’re just some Johnny-Come-Lately starved for attention. Two words: My freakin’ Space. Heck, you could probably have that entire site to yourself for around $30 Million or so, if you have a way to get that kind of scratch! I think the problem is that the world just hasn’t heard enough from you, and it’s time to change that. You be you, man!

Hammy,

A couple weeks ago my team played against the team that I used to kick for. The fans in the stadium were booing me. How should I feel about that? For one hundred and forty two days last year I gave everything I had to the franchise. That’s three thousand four hundred and eight hours of my life that I can’t get back. And the people want to boo me because for a total of about fifteen seconds of that time I was absolutely awful?

Yours truly,

Bewildered in the Bay Area

Dear Bewildered,

Well, all I can say is this: Fans are fickle. One day you’re the greatest, the next you’re a bum. As a kicker, you should know this. Perhaps they did take it too far. I mean, it’s not like you’re that dude who used to kick for the Vikings who missed all those field goals against the Packers at Lambeau, RIGHT? Now THAT GUY deserved to get booed! Loser.

Dear Hammy,

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Long time reader, first time writer. I’m a really popular player, and I’m considered one of the best in the business. I’ve been with my current team my whole career, and I played a key role in the most spectacular play in team history. Lately, though, I’ve been having issues expressing myself. Earlier this year, I made a great play in a game which we lost to our biggest rival. After the play, I took off my helmet so that the world could see how overjoyed I was that our team put points on the board. The dumb refs called a penalty and it actually cost our team points. Well, yada yada yada, long story longer, now I don’t think my team appreciates me and I’m not sure what to do. There’s even been talk of getting rid of me! How should I handle the situation?

Signed,

Morose in Minnesota

Well, Morose,

I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling that way. Sounds like you’re on a similar path to our friend Tony, above! Here’s a sure-fire way to win friends and influence people that has a track record of proven results:

  1. Social Media, Social Media, Social Media! If attention is what you crave, put yourself out there for the whole world to see! But be very vague about it. People like a good mystery!
  2. If a reporter asks you a question, make sure you give answers that will lead to more questions. That’ll keep the attention centered on you, and that’s a good thing! Plus, the fans love to speculate! You’ve got a brand to sell here, and Joe Teammate don’t pay those bills, YOU DO.
  3. Whenever you make a big play, do something to let people know it was you who made the play. Go ahead, yank that brain-bucket off! How else is the world going to know who you are?
  4. Whatever you do - and this is the most important - don’t ever make people think you’re not thinking about yourself. Make sure they know you’re here to take care of Ol’ A-Numero-Uno first. There are 52 other grown men on the roster. Let THEM worry about the game.

When you do these things, everything about life gets easier. Just look at our friend Tony! He went from being on only one team for years to having two totally new teams in just a few months! That’s two new marketing opportunities for “Brand Tony”. You could be there, too! It’s about you. It’s always been about you.

He-yo Hammy!

I am a multi-millionaire owner of a very successful franchise. I have taken every care to assemble what I consider to be a championship caliber organization, from the front office, to the coaching staff, the players, the facilities, etc. Yet, here we are again for what seems like the millionth time, with off-field distractions, unhappy players, poor on-field results, issues in the kicking game, issues along the O-Line, issues at quarterback. What in the holy hell do I have to do to change this situation? Did I buy a cursed franchise? How can I change our fortunes?

Please help!

Yours,

Zigi Wilson

Heya Zigi!

Remember the famous line from the movie Jaws? “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” Remember that? Well, for this one, we’re gonna need some bigger help. We need to conjure some dark spirits here bud. I dug through my trunk and found my old Ouija board that I used to use in fourth grade to find out which girls liked me. It’s never let me down before. Well, once. One time it told me that Sarah Beth Maloney had a crush on me. Her mom told me she didn’t like boys. Haven’t seen her since, so I’m not sure if that was just a “boys have cooties” thing, or if she truly isn’t into dudes. But, I digress. I’m also pulling out the granddaddy of all spirit-conjuring items: The Magic 8-Ball. These two have never been wrong even once when used correctly.

OK… let’s see here. Gimme a second to light the candles and consult the Ouija Board.

Dark spirits of football immortality. Can you hear me?

Yes

Nice! They’re not busy!

Is the Minnesota Vikings franchise and their long-suffering fanbase cursed forever to a destiny of heartbreak and sorrow?

*faint sound of thunder in the distance*

T. H. E. F. A. N. S. L. O. Y. A. L. T. Y. W. I. L. L. B. E. R. E. W. A. R. D. E. D.

Whoa! Nice! Wait. Rewarded how? Like ten percent off at the fan shop?

N. O. S. I. L. L. Y. W. I. T. H. A. C. H. A. M. P. I. O. N. S. H. I. P.

Ya hear that, Zigi? We’re winning it all! OK, now for the capper.

O Magic 8-Ball… seer of all things. Answerer of difficult questions. I plead with you this day to give me the answer to my question.

*more distant thunder, but louder*

Will this Vikings Championship happen in my lifetime?

“Don’t Count On It”