Late Wednesday afternoon I ventured into the wilds of the suburbs for a skull-crushingly dull meeting. Afterwards I parked myself on a barstool because I find bourbon to be an excellent disinfection for the contamination of moronic thinking.
Midway though the A-section of the newspaper a couple of Domers sat next to me.
Domer – noun – a reference to University of Norte Dame students, alums, and fans; it can be alternately dismissive or flattering depending upon the speaker and inflection. Common characteristics include a flexible adherence to biblical teachings (prolific fornicators that they are) and belief that College Football National Championships are a birthright (despite the fact that their last one came during the Reagan Administration.)
As is typical of any time two or more Domers are within audible range, it took half a heartbeat for conversation to turn to football. Most of their ire was inwardly directed until they began discussing their last game, a loss to the Naval Academy.
Despite the volume of the Domers’ conversation, I largely ignored their general football ignorance. After one too many exhortations of “I can’t believe we lost to Navy, fucking Navy,” “Navy sucks, how could we lose to them,” and finally “We couldn’t beat sorry ass Navy – they’ve got no tradition” I could no longer keep my powder dry.
“Hey, fellas, not for nothing, but Navy has a rich football history. They were routinely in the chase for the national title, have a couple of Heisman winners, are functionally an Ivy League school, compete against and frequently beat the most talented football programs in the country, and when they’re done they go fight wars. And, oh yeah, it’s Veteran’s Day, so maybe we could change the tone of the conversation.”
I had waded into another party’s conversation. I shouldn’t have and I knew it. I expected some backlash but instead one of the Domers just said “You’re right.” He raised a glass and continued “To Veteran’s.”
The Domers moved to a table and I went back to my newspaper. A few moments later the bartender put an unrequested bourbon in front of me. Before I could say anything, she just said “my dad went to the Academy.”