Last week my roommate died at a rather inconvenient time. I was watching Brazil vs Germany when he stumbled from his bedroom, collapsed on the floor and started coughing up blood. Naturally I immediately called the ambulance, and by immediately I mean as soon as the game was over.
As his body was carted out of the house I took a deep breath and phoned his mother to tell her the news.
“7-1?!” she exclaimed.
“I’m afraid so.” I replied solemnly.
She – a lifelong Brazil supporter – broke into tears. I can’t imagine how she responded to the text saying her son died. Actually, I know how she responded. It was with one of those sideways mouth smiley things.
It’s hard to put into words how much my roommate meant to me, mainly because he didn’t mean much at all. It’s not that I didn’t like him – on the contrary, I tolerated him so hard I almost forgave him for being a computer scientist. The problem was that he didn’t like football (or ‘soccer’ to you fucking squares). He preferred a more pseudointellectual sport: politics.
Now, it would be nice at this juncture to try and engage in some ham-fisted satire likening politics to football, but to be honest they’ve got nothing in common. A bunch of grossly overpaid men engaging in a pointless back and forth while mindless devotees cheer them on from the sidelines is nothing like football. Nor would I be capable of writing something political1 – I’m about as switched on as Mother Teresa’s vibrator.
What I will say is this: I think by the end he wanted to go. Not consciously (during half time I remember seeing him rolling in a pool of his own sicked-up blood whimpering “I don’t want to die”) but subconsciously. I say this because recently politics had started to make him nothing but angry. His naïve idea of making the world a tolerant and accepting place had long been replaced by scrawling manically on his wall the phrase “Christopher Pyne must be murdered.” After this year’s budget he curled up into a ball of hatred, trying to compress his body so much that his rage would collapse in on itself and suck in other livid left-wing twentysomethings.
He wasn’t necessarily wrong to do these things,2 but it was just a shame to see him like that. He’d become trapped in the futile activity of shouting at a gust of wind for blowing his hat off while trying to vote in a completely different gust of wind which promised to preserve the sanctity of hats. He was caught up in a petty conflict which acted as a distraction from the important things in life like sport.
And so as I sit alone in my house with the cold corpse of a friend on my mind I come to a realisation: we’re hosting the Cricket World Cup next year. Surely that will numb the pain.
Satyros is the ANU’s most prestigious and only comedy club.