What does the phrase "impending doom" mean to you? To me, it’s the feeling of dread slowly creeping in, then taking over all your senses. It’s difficult to sit still, concentrate, stabilise your emotions, but there’s also a gut punch of familiarity, an itch named "inevitable".
There’s a TV show over here in Jolly-Old-England-Mate called Naked Attraction. You may or may not have heard of it. Half a dozen multi-coloured cryo chambers are wheeled out into the studio, each containing a naked man or woman. The, let’s call them, "contestant" stands in front of these terrifyingly ominous blocks of shadow-filled colour and spouts some shallow nonsense, (usually some quasi philosophical claptrap about honesty and openness and, "you know, seeing someone for who they really are") in order to justify their frankly baffling decision to appear on national television in order to pick a potential life partner based solely on their exposed, quivering, televised bodies.
Then it begins.
"We are going to reveal them to you now. Bit by wobbly bit." (a direct quote)
And this is all true, there are full NSFW episodes on Youtube if you don’t believe me.
This is where my mind drifts back to the phrase. If I were the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (don’t rule it out just yet) I would be lobbying for the inclusion of a gif of Barry from Croydon as his testicles are slowly revealed from inside a neon orange plastic coffin-shaped container next to the words "impending doom" or "dread".
Either that or, of course, a Vikings kicker lining up for a last minute (or any minute for that matter) field goal.
It’s a bleak affair when almost no one is expecting the ball to split the uprights. It has become an inevitability, a done deal, accepted that it’s, at best, very unlikely that a field goal in that situation will be made. I guess, in some sort of twisted logic, that almost explains the reluctance to hire a full-time kicking coach. You can’t teach clutch.
Another sore point in all this, as if the wound wasn’t already full to the brim with salt, is of course the fact that Jon "Kevin O’Shea double-dosing on steroids" Gruden is now benefitting from a kicking project that a Win-Now ("now" being the past 5 years) mentality coach cannot afford to undertake. The short-sightedness all or nothing mindset for the best part of Zimmer’s reign, and the impatience for development that inevitably comes attached, has once again bitten the team. In a league in which plugging a hole with a quick fix in a desperate attempt to fall over the line into the playoffs is so prized, the long-term effects can be become an afterthought (Oh, hey Kirk!) Does a short-term, let’s see what’s left at the bottom of the pile project at kicker often provide much in terms of results?
Of course, to shoulder all the blame for the loss on the kicker is incredibly short-sighted and ignores the rest of the game entirely, but we are beyond that now. It is an issue. We had Dan Bailey, one of the best kickers to ever grace the turf and even he succumbed to our curse. I suspect with hindsight he’s glad not to be kicking for the Vikings anymore. Want to damage your career percentages? Don the purple.
When the game clock hit 00:30 on Sunday and it became clear that we were to attempt a game-winning field goal, I felt a slight excitement – an excitement which lasted all of about 3 seconds. And then it came back. That feeling in the gut. It’s sort of warm, in a cruel way. An old friend returning, but with the bad news you know is about to be revealed. Should I watch? I can’t watch. I can’t look away.
I wonder what it would have felt like had the kick been good.
So, as yet another pierced penis stares back at me on my TV screen I begin to question my life choices. It is being inspected very closely by the gurning moron of a contestant as facts appear on the screen (such as "82% of women surveyed would choose girth over length" – And in one of the more bizarre coincidences ever recorded, Greg Joseph’s current career stats sit at an 83% field goal success rate, so what does that tell us? Does it tell us anything? I have no idea, and I’m not about to start speculating on the circumference of… let’s not go there). After what feels like an eternity of conversation surrounding the contestant’s propensity for a small, medium, or large penis (and maybe, if we’re all lucky, a bonus bum round) one person must be ELIMINATED. That’s right, dim the lights, pump out the dramatic music and line up all the junk on the screen. This is television baby, this is drama, this is what the people want. This is what it has come to.
There have been eight seasons of Naked Attraction.
The screen is lifted and the face is revealed. The contestant is visibly relieved to have eliminated someone who has an insufficient penis, and a disappointing face. Quite literally not the full package. "You’ve turned down Darren, a brain surgeon from Gloucester." Something tells me she’s not too fussed. She blurts out some vague lie about her choice being down to their "stance".
Eventually the chests and then faces of the remaining feckless, remarkably self-assured box-dwellers are revealed and a winner (I’ll be needing to review the definition of "winner" when I get that Dictionary editor job too!) is chosen. The production crew remove their nose pegs, thoroughly sanitise their hands and return home happy in the knowledge they’ve just created yet another episode of ageless television gold.
The sense of dread eventually subsides. Please, no more. Just sort it out.