Existential Dread, My Bracket’s Dead and Tears Are Falling From My Head

Justin March 24, 2014 0

Here’s a picture of me in a tuxedo with two lovely ladies and Hollywood celebrity Steve Buscemi

photo (17)


It was taken Saturday night at the annual Inner Circle variety show, a black tie charity event at the New York Hilton attended by politicians, media figures and celebrities. My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be invited to both the show and the after party.  It was a really great night, the sort of invitation you should always accept because you never know if you’ll be asked again. And I am incredibly happy that I went.

And yet, I dreaded going. I wanted to say no so much.  Instead of hearing, “Hey, would you like to attend this really cool event with some of the most interesting people in New York?” I heard “You have to get dressed up and stay out until 2am and miss whatever is on TV that night.”

This is a familiar feeling.  I don’t want to get overly dramatic, but I  call it “existential dread.”  No matter how well things are going, there’s always something in the back of my mind expecting the worst. I subconsciously seek out potential issues and lock in on them. Here’s a quick rundown of the past few weeks:

– Potential issue with my job schedule (ended up working out exactly as I had hoped it would.)

– Possible problems while traveling to the Dominican Republic (we didn’t miss our flight, said flight did not crash, we got from the airport to the hotel without being attacked by Dominican pirates ((I’m not really familiar with the way crime works outside our country.)

-Losing my hearing while flying back from the Dominican Republic (the ear infection that I attained ((that’s an homage to Magic Johnson and his HIV. I read Showtime while on vacation. It’s a great book READ IT)) was cured by antibiotics and my ear drums survived the flights.

-Job schedule redux (same problem arose but the conversation I had had previously about the issue still stood. Situation remains exactly as I had hoped it would.)

-Why does my stomach hurt? I bet my appendix is going to burst and I will die. (I woke up with a stomach ache. It lasted two days and then went away.

-Oh shit, I’m getting a cold. (I got a cold. Then it got better.)

-Our refrigerator is going to die at any second. (our refrigerator, which has never really run properly in the 6 years I’ve lived in this apartment, took a turn. I told my super who took a look and decided to replace it with a new one.)

-They say the refrigerator is going to be delivered on Wednesday between 9 and 3. There is NO CHANCE they will show up. (They did not show up. I was annoyed because I took a day off from work for nothing. Instead, the fridge was delivered the next day.  Everything worked out fine.)

-I have to go to this black tie event. I have to work early in the morning and then stay up all night. What if I get tired? What If I put on the tuxedo wrong?  I think I threw out my plain black socks. And what if I do or say something embarrassing in front of members of the Hoi Poloi? (I went. I wore black socks with colored polka dots. No one noticed. I was my usual charming self. I had fun.)

And that brings us to yesterday.  I woke up in the morning with nothing weighing on my eternal soul. Free and clear for the first time in weeks.  It lasted about five minutes. Here are the issues that kept me up last night:

-Why is my internet service so spotty? Why do I have to keep resetting my modem? I’m probably going to have to call Time Warner and talk to their horrendous customer service people. And they won’t understand the problem I’m explaining. And they’ll just tell me to reset the modem again.

-What is up with this DVD player? Why won’t the DVD tray open? Oops, I just pulled the front of the tray off while trying to make it unstick.  Is it covered by a warranty?  I don’t have the receipt. Can they look it up at Best Buy? Will the terrible Best Buy employees be rude and dismissive? Is it worth worrying about or should I just buy a new one? Why should I have to buy a new one? This one is less than a year old. MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS LESS BREAK-Y, PHILLIPS.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Sports Illustrated: March 24, 2014




This seems like a strange and somewhat arbitrary decision. Michigan State’s Gary Harris Jr. is the focus of the big board column in the magazine’s Scorecard section. Meanwhile, the stars of several other teams are profiled in actual articles.  What makes Joel Imbiid or Cameron Barstow more deserving of articles than Gary Harris Jr.?


Onward March by SI Staff

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The magazine did incredibly well at picking winners through the first weekend of the tournament. It has Dayton in the sweet 16. How many other people had that?  Here’s how my interest in the tournament is going this year. I was really into it day 1. I was really into it for most of day 2. Then I went to bed a little early Friday night and went to work early Saturday, then attended the aforementioned Inner Circle show that night. So, I didn’t see games from Friday afternoon through Saturday night. That meant I didn’t keep up with tracking my brackets. Sure, I could have just looked up winners and losers online, but, instead, I let my interest wane. I’ll check in with games for the rest of the tournament, but for the most part, I’m done.

Like A Dream by Kelli Anderson

A profile of Kansas Center Joel Embiid, who is obsessed with Hakeem Olajuwan. What’s most interesting to me is that Embiid seems to think he needs another year in college, but everyone else seems to be pushing him to declare for the draft. We’ll see what happens.

Extreme Makeover by Phil Taylor

I made it about a paragraph then lost interest in this profile of New Mexico’s Cameron Barstow

Orange Blossom by Pete Thamel

Syracuse sophomore Jerami Grant is Harvey Grant’s son and Horace Grant’s nephew. That should have been enough to at least peak my interest. It wasn’t. I skipped this one too.

The Swing Shift by Emma Carmichael

I feel like Emma Carmichael used to write for Gawker or Deadspin. Either way, I skipped her preview of the women’s tournament.

The Z Factor by Seth Davis

They play more zone defense in college than they did in the past.

There Is Only One Al Jefferson by Lee Jenkins

Before I had an HDTV, I paid for NBA league pass. But, most of the games still aren’t broadcast in HD, so I stopped buying it once I upgraded. When I had league pass, though, I used to love watching T’Wolves games because I have always loved watching Al Jefferson play basketball. Now, he’s a Charlotte Bobcat. And now, he gets a great profile from Lee Jenkins. I really enjoyed this article.

Spotlight: St Louis by Brian Cazanueve

On the relatively star-starved St Louis Blues and their new goaltender, Ryan Miller. They were very good before they got him, they are better now that he is their goalie. He is quiet. They are boring. A nice match.

The Great Disrupter by Ben Reiter

Ben Reiter pens a profile of Yasiel Puig, but he wants to be different. So he decides to write it like he’s Michael Lewis or Malcolm Gladwell, discussing the Dodgers outfielder in terms of a hypothetical economic theory.  It’s an interesting idea, I guess.

Point After by Steve Rushin

Rushin writes about New York Rangers legend Adam Graves and the great work he does with terminally ill children. If you needed to come up with a mathematical formula to make me tear up, it would be:

(Rose colored remembrances of my childhood sports heroes + stories about sick children= TEARS.)



Leave A Response »