History Keeps Repeating
By Timothy Braun,
11:43AM, Mon. Jan. 28, 2008
Ten years ago I was drunk and lost and wandering the Irish countryside when I ran into an avant-garde playwright named Mac Wellman. Wellman would become a writing mentor of mine, and taught me to exploit over-used and boorish narratives and theatrical techniques to my advantage. I think he also taught me how to use “and” multiple times in a sentence. I found Wellman’s ideas cute and relatively clever, but troubling. If one uses bad writing technique, one reinforces the bad technique. The best way to use the “bad technique” is in the case of irony to identify specific cultural issues. Personally, I have always hated the fairy tale.
So, I’d like to tell you a story, a story from long, long ago and a city far, far away. This is a story of a football team from a city we shall call the Big Apple. This team was helmed by a strong-armed Southern quarterback. This quarterback was surrounded with a ragtag fleet of misfits and castoffs from around the country. This football team I write of won several playoff games and would represent the weaker of two football conferences in a game we call the Super Bowl.
Now, boys and girls, this team had to face a dominate foe in the Super Bowl, a team based in an Eastern port town. This other team represented a much stronger conference, had a legendary coach, and a very special quarterback. Some have said this very special quarterback was the very best of all time. He came out of Midwestern college and was selected low in the annual college draft. But, he had the guts of a riverboat gambler. This quarterback also had a great wide receiver no one could stop. In fact, this team was almost “perfect.” At the time, some said this was the finest team in the history of football.
Now, here is where the story gets interesting, even biblical, boys and girls. No one with a sane brain would ever bet on the team from the Big Apple, from the weaker conference, with the Southern quarterback to beat the mighty Goliath, the team some thought to be the finest in football history. And yet, they did. The team from the Big Apple won a game we shall call Super Bowl III.
Yeah. I hate that style of writing.
When I first met Wellman, he asked what turns me on. I gave him my usual reply to such a question, “booze, girls, music, traveling, football.” Mac told me to drop the act and be honest. Wellman didn’t find me in Ireland, he found me in Northern Ireland at a time of great concern. No one vacationed in Northern Ireland then. What really turns me on? He might as well have been asking me why I was there. I told him I am an existentialist and a history buff, because despite all our efforts, history always seems to repeat. And in Northern Ireland, there where no fairy tales, just peace talks. Peace talks that had been tried before.
But, boys and girls, I think in years to come we’ll be telling a fairy-tale story of Super Bowl 42, when a highly touted Southern quarterback led the Big Apple team of misfits against Goliath. You might think I’m mad today, but I can’t help thinking history will repeat itself once again.