Aargh To Be A Gooner
Yesterday's game should have been the perfect way to end the year. Should have. It wasn't. And this time it wasn't Gervinho's fault. Or Ramsey's. Or Wenger's.
This is how things fall apart:
1:00 pm: Decide not to go down to the beach with the rest of the family. Two main reasons…
Firstly, I have a two-inch cut on the inside of my left foot. A gin and tonic injury. Self-inflicted. (Actually, to be honest, a four-double-gin-and-tonic injury.) You know those really heavy, fluted whiskey tumblers? So wonderfully hefty and solid? Yup. Sure you do.
Well, here's a tip for you. Don't buy new flip flops. Those old stinky ones that have your dirty footprint fossils in them are fine. But if you do buy new flip flops, don't drink four gin-and-tonics, take off your protective leather shoes and try them on just before you go to bed. And then definitely don't say, “Love, I'm going to bed, I'm exhausted”, and carry the empty gin glass to the kitchen sink. Not when the gin glass is coated with that thin film of condensation that is so popular in beer commercials.
Kitchens are dangerous. Stay out of kitchens at all costs. Because one minute you're carrying an empty and well-lubricated gin glass to the sink in your new, super-unfragrant, super-unprotective flip-flops. The next minute, gravity is gently coaxing a tempered-glass pineapple grenade from your drunken fingers, toward the hard kitchen tiles. (Why tiles, by the way? Why not that soft springy stuff that gymnasts frolic around on?)
In the half-a-second that it takes for the glass to plunge tile-wards, that part of your brain that somehow remains perpetually, perfectly sober – maybe its the part that managed to keep the human species from going extinct? – realizes that the falling glass and both of your exposed footsies will be perfectly aligned at the point of impact. I'm not an astrologist, but I think the correct phrase is “in conjunction”. The closest that those three objects have been in 45 years. A cosmic 'event' of sorts, you could say.
I've forgotten the name of those orange-flavoured chocolate orange replicas. I've probably forgotten what they're called, because I don't call for them much. Ever. Can't stand them. But from a chocolate-engineering perspective, I do admire the way you tap them slightly on the table, and they fall apart into a dozen perfect orange segments. Perfect for sharing. Or, if you're me, for tossing directly into the bin, along with Turkish Delight, marzipan, and anything with dark chocolate – especially if it's got sea salt or chilli or anchovy bits.
I think the same person that designed the orange-flavoured chocolate orange replicas must have designed the whisky tumbler that was heading for its appointment with the kitchen floor. (Why do they call it a 'tumbler'? It should be called a 'plummet'.) Because when it hit the floor, somehow reaching terminal velocity on the way, it exploded into a dozen perfectly-weighted glass daggers, which fled the point of impact in every o'clock.
The 3 o'clock dagger dagged itself inch-deep into the rubber base of my right flip-flop. The 9 o'clock dagger found a target much more pliant and juicy. The inside of my left foot. More specifically, the first knuckle of my big toe. The part that's normally covered with a protective layer of skin about the size of a bottle-top. And an impenetrable leather shoe. That part.
My first reaction was to say, out loud, in my most matter-of-fact voice, the voice one uses in situations like that – perhaps so as not to freak one's self out, “I just cut myself. And it's bad.” While my mouth was stating the obvious, my brain was thinking “It's midnight, I'm drunk, and I don't have insurance. Great.”
Now they say a little bit of praise goes a long way. Well, I'm not a forensic pathologist, but I reckon a little bit of blood goes further. And a lot of blood – especially when it is spurting from the place where your toe-knuckle pad has become a toe-knuckle flap – goes all the way to the kitchen sink. Probably about a meter with the first spurt. Subsequent spurts go further, 'cos they land on blood and slide off.
Now's a good time to sit down on the floor and hold your foot. It's also a good time to have a girlfriend who doesn't a) faint, thereby complicating matters b) scream, thereby amplifying matters c) run away, thereby aggravating matters…
Anyhow, turns out that it was a '17-sheet cut'. (It took 17-sheets of super-absorbent paper-towel before the bleeding stopped enough for me to close the flap. It took the rest of the roll to soak up the bloodbath that made it to the sink before I did.) In medical science they call it a 'cut that needs stitches'. Probably a stitch for every two pieces of super-absorbent paper-towel.
It seems that stating the obvious is contagious in states of emergency. Because my girlfriend said. “You need stitches.” To which I replied, “I don't have insurance. Please get me a bandage.” And that was that. Being a sensible woman, she brought me bandages and an alcohol swab. I removed the 17th paper towel, re-opened the flap, and she applied alcohol to the next spurt. Which hurt way more than if she had just given me a shot of whiskey in my mouth. Feet just aren't made for alcohol-consumption I guess…
After identifying the bandage least likely to stick to the wound – which thankfully was also the least septic-looking of the bandages presented – I proceeded to strap my foot as tightly as I could. Unfortunately, before I finished the roll of bandage, my toes started going blue and feeling numb. So: I unwound the bandage, soaked up one more sheet of paper towel's worth of blood, and re-applied the bandage.
That was ten days ago. The flap is not as flappy, or bleedy, but just as throbby. (I'm presuming the redness around it is alcohol-related, because, as I mentioned before, I don't have insurance…) The point is, that it's not entirely closed, and, although I'm not a doctor, I'm presuming walking around on the beach with an open wound may not be entirely hygienic.
Secondly, it's hotter than pig-nuts out there. And it's cool in here, with the air-conditioning, the TV, and three games of football to watch. And gin-and-tonic. In a plastic cup.
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Come on, Sunderland. Fuck you, Spurs. Haha, Bale, you divey bastard! Fuck you, Sunderland.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Come on, Norwich. Fuck you, City. Haha, Nasri, you shirty bastard! Fuck you, Norwich.
7:15 pm: Race across to sister-in-law's house to watch Arsenal v Newcastle in her husband's executive leather man-cave, on a 60″ flat panel, surround-sound TV. Careful not to spill gin-and-tonic while driving.
7:30 pm: Come on, Arsenal. Fuck you, Newcastle. Where's the bloody ref?
Game on. Arsenal looking as good as I've seen them in a long, long while. Pressing. Eager. Getting the ball into the opposition box with four touches, instead of four hundred. I've got a good feeling about this… The Emirates is in full throat, the team looks hungry and
7:37 pm: CLUNK! Blackness. Silence. WTF?! A power outage. Oh noooooo! This can't be happening. Loud scream emits from man-cave.
7:38 pm: Girlfriend stumbles through in pitch-dark, expecting blood. I'm cursing electricity, the Power Company, God. Can't believe this is happening. Why me? Why now?
7:39 pm: Girlfriend: “What about your gadget?” Me: “What gadget?” She: “The one that lets you watch TV on your iPhone?” Me: “Oh my God! You're brilliant! I love you.”
7:42 pm: Thankfully I've brought the gadget. I find it in the dark. In less than ten minutes it's become hotter than pigs-nuts in here. I plug the gadget into the iPhone. Battery level is 20%. But there is no signal in here.
7:45 pm: I'm on the roof. With the mosquitos. Dowsing for signal with my iPhone. Got it! Tune in, and the game flickers to life on the small screen. Yes!!
7:49 pm (Battery level: 18%): I can't tell the difference between Vermaelen and Sagna on here, but I recognize that speedy figure, darting toward the goal, presumably with the ball at his feet, though it's hard to tell…
7:50 pm: (1-0) FEEEOOOOO! I love you (don't go!) What a beaut! My toe-flap and me are all smiles. That was never off-sides. Even on the iPhone I can see that.
8:10 pm (Battery level: 8%): 1-nil up, and almost half-time. I'm covered in sweat. Mosquitos like sweat.
8:13 pm (Battery level: 7%): The commentators have just said that it is 62 games since Newcastle went on to win a match in which they were trailing at half-time.
8:14 pm (Battery level: 5%): (1-1) Fuck you, commentators. Fuck you, Demba Ba, (for now…) And Jack? WTF? Ducking? How very Nasri of you. Fuck you, Nasri, you shirty, ducky bastard. (Jack, you're forgiven.)
8:15 pm (Battery level: 2%): Half time. Perfect opportunity to refill my G&T. Slide off the roof. Stumble down to the kitchen. (It's only my third, sweetheart. It's for the mosquitos. Quinine. And besides, it's a plastic cup. Yes, I remember my foot. How could I forget. It's as throbby as Bale is divey. And Nasri is cunty. Never mind…)
8:20 pm: Run out to the car to charge the iPhone. Unfortunately can't charge and watch at the same time, otherwise would watch in car, with engine running, air-con running, no mosquitos.
8:25 pm (Battery level: 5%): Shit. This isn't going to work. Need a plan B. Run inside, leaving iPhone in car to charge, keys in ignition. Please don't let the car be stolen.
8:26 pm: The electricity has come back on! Thank-you Jesus. Run outside to car, get iPhone, lock car. Run back inside. Settle into executive leather man cave chair. Wait 3 minutes while decoder boots. Aaargh.
8:30 pm: Decoder finally tunes in. 60″ TV fires up. Literally, as second half begins. Arsenal have decided to play as if they want to win this. Come on, you Gunners. Fuck you, Newcastle.
8:35 pm: CLUNK. Silence. Blackness. Power outage. Aaaaargh! Fuck you, Jesus. Scream emits from man-cave. This time, girlfriend ignores it. I check my iPhone. Battery level: 4%. Aaaargh!
Plan B: use iPad. Run upstairs, find iPad. Battery level: 80%. Yesss! Plug in gadget.
8:39 pm (Battery level: 80%): Open app on iPad. “THE DEVICE COULD NOT BE FOUND. PLEASE CONNECT DEVICE AND TRY AGAIN.” Aaargh! Disconnect device, restart App.
8:40 pm (Battery level: 79%): “THE DEVICE COULD NOT BE FOUND. PLEASE CONNECT DEVICE AND TRY AGAIN.” Aaargh! Disconnect device, restart App.
8:41 pm (Battery level: 78%): Open app on iPad. “THE DEVICE COULD NOT BE FOUND. PLEASE CONNECT DEVICE AND TRY AGAIN.” Aaargh! Disconnect device, restart App.
8:42 pm (Battery level: 77%): Open app on iPad. “THE DEVICE COULD NOT BE FOUND. PLEASE CONNECT DEVICE AND TRY AGAIN.” Aaargh! Fuck this. Run upstairs in the dark, sweating like pig-nuts. Stub toe on stairs. I think it may be bleeding again. I don't care.
8:43 pm: “Love, is your iPhone charged?” “Yes.” “May I borrow it?” “Sure.”
8:44 pm: “Please unlock your phone.” She does. “Thanks.”
8:45 pm: Phone doesn't have the required App to run the gadget. Go to App Store to download it.
8:46 pm: “Darling, what's your iTunes password?” “I don't remember.” “Please remember…” She does. Install App. But there's no signal.
8:48 pm (Battery level: 60%): On the roof. Hi mosquitoes, remember me? App is downloading. Blue bar barely moves.
8:49 pm (Battery level: 59%): Blue bar might have moved. It's hard to tell. Wish the mosquitoes would just drink straight from my toe flap. We'd all be a lot happier.
8:55 pm (Battery level: 50%): Blue bar definitely not moving. Jab the screen repeatedly while swearing. It seems to help. Blue bar doesn't move, but I feel a lot better.
8:56 pm (Battery level: 48%): I've nearly fallen off the roof twice. A combination of G&T impairment, and trying to slap mosquitoes, while holding iPhone above my head to improve reception, and clinging to roof with one foot. Suddenly the lights come on. Not thanking anyone yet, this could be a trick. Slide off roof. Hobble inside, leaving behind a cloud of swollen insects.
8:57 pm (Battery level: 44%): I find another TV upstairs. Something in between iPhone and man-cave size. Decoder boots up. Game appears onscreen. Score is 3-3?!! WTF? I've missed 4 goals! Is this some kind of sick joke? I sat through Bradford, Wigan. I paid my dues. Why is this happening to me?
8:58 pm: (4-3) Walcott scores! FEEEEOOOO! I love you (don't go!)
9:05 pm: Giroud is on. Ox is off.
9:06 pm: Ramsey is coming on for Podolski. I hope he has a good game.
9:07 pm: CLUNK! Blackness. Silence. Power off again. Damn you, Ramsey! My nerves are shattered. This can't be happening. But it is. I look down at my girlfriend's iPhone… A miracle! The App has downloaded! I can't believe it.
9:09 pm (Battery level: 39%): Back on the roof. Hello, you greedy, fat, whining, bloodsuckers. Have your way with me, see if I care.
9:10 pm (Battery level: 38%): (5-3) Giroud's glorious head connects with a brilliant Walcott cross. FEEEEOOOOO! I love you (don't go!)
9:11 pm (Battery level: 37%): Coquelin comes on for Cazorla. Don't know if he scored. Hard to tell, because the supporters seem to sing his name at the drop of a hat.
9:12 pm (Battery level: 36%): (6-3) Giroud scores. Feo makes a beeline for goal, is tackled, and it squirts out into the path of Giroud, who daggers the loose ball past Krul. It's bloody marvellous, but without blood. Can't believe it. He and Theo are on a hat-trick. And Newcastle are a toe-flap to Arsenal's hungry mozzies.
9:16 pm (Battery level: 31%): 5 minutes of added time. I don't think I've ever heard the Emirates as loud as they are now. No sign of black bin bags or scarves. Just glorious red-and-white. We're a fickle bunch, us Gooners. Although no doubt Piers Tossfuck Morgan is bitching about something.
9:17 pm (Battery level: 29%): (7-3) Goal, Walcott. FFEEEOOOOOO! I love you (please don't go!) It's a dribbly, scrambly, chippy, cheeky, magnificent fucking goal. And that's his hat-trick. Well-deserved. I nearly fall off the roof, which pisses off the mosquitoes, who are suckling contentedly on every exposed vein.
9:20 pm (Battery level: Who Cares?): Giroud is denied his substitution hat-trick by the bar. The whistle blows. The crowd erupts. The phone rings and cuts off my game, but I don't care. I'm feeling a little light-headed. Bloodloss? Gin? Victory? Probably all of the above.
I slide off the roof and into the pignut heat of the house. It's been the most frustrating game-watching experience of my life. But that's what being an Arsenal fan is.
Sometimes being a Gooner is ooh.
And sometimes it's Aargh.
Wouldn't have it any other way!
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“Aargh To Be A Gooner” invinciblog.com/?p=622Arsenal. Newcastle. Blood. Mosquitoes.Please R&RT&Enjoy.
— invinciblog (@AFC_Invincibles) December 30, 2012