Suddenly, just like that, out of the blue, with no real warning, anything is possible.
Anything, fellow pugilists! Anything!
How do I know? Because on Wednesday night, 27 October 2004, beneath a bloodred lunar eclipse, the Boston Red Sox won baseballs World Series.
I repeat: the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.
Yes, I know it sounds silly. I appreciate you dont quite believe me. You suspect Im doing one of those annoyinglyclosetothetruth jokes again. But trust me, ball fans, Im not making this up. This really happened. Really.
Im willing to make a wager: if the Red Sox win the Fall Classic, John Kerry will be the fortyfourth president of the United States.I wrote this line last week. I sincerely hope I was offbeam. I dont mean to fuss, but Ive got a stack of cash riding on Bush. Not as much as Halliburton and Bechtel, of course, but enough for a meagre columnist with a frightening proclivity for vintage Jags.
John Kerry, a man whose love for the Olde Towne Team knows no opportunistic bounds, popped up at a rally in Ohio sporting an agreeably discoloured Red Sox cap. Were on our way, were on our way! he declared, mentally picking out curtains for the Lincoln bedroom.
Two things postponed my flight to Rio. First, Kerry singled out Manny Ortiz as his favourite player a slugger whose contribution to Bostons unfeasible feat was marred only by the fact that he doesnt exist.
Second, placards reading Red Sox Fans For Bush started doing the rounds of the presidents stuckrecord stump speeches.
Thank heaven! All (my money) may not be lost.
Nevertheless, fascinating as my lifelong gambling affliction is to you miserable smut punters, for once my personal issues are beside the point. The point, as I said last week, is that something bigger is in play. Bigger than baseball. Bigger than Bush vs Kerry. Bigger even than my Barclaycard bill.
Suddenly, all things seem possible, Samantha Power, Pulitzerprize winning Harvardbased author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, told the New York Times.
For ordinary people who sort of thought maybe Ill never get that promotion, maybe they think now anything can happen. I feel more ambitious and more encouraged about things other than the Red Sox because of this sense that things can be turned around. Maybe we can make America a moral force in the world, maybe we can stop genocide. For those of us who live with lost causes, its a very inspiring perspective shift.
Stop the press! An end to genocide because the BoSox reversed the curse? What next? A cure for TB? A man on the moon? Me finding a way to pay off Barclaycard?
Everyones feeling a little heady. At 94 years of age, Bob Dylan is rumoured to be dusting off his harmonica and planning to rerelease The Times they are aChangin as an urban dancehall track. The socalled global justice movement is changing its slogan from Another World is Possible to Come on, We Havent got all Day, You Know? Weve Got Jobs to Go to. ChopChop, Comrades!
Theres a crack in Calvinism now, says Leslie Epstein, highbrow novelist mother of now legendary Red Sox general manger Theo Epstein.
And folks, when Calvinism cracks, you just know in your wallet were in for a whole lotta bother!
As the Red Sox clinched their first world title since 1918, a gushing Boston Globe perfectly captured the mood: AT LAST! Pigs can fly, hell is frozen, the slipper finally fits, and Impossible Dreams really can come true.
Ah, Impossible Dreams. Capital I. Capital D. Boy, have I had a few of those. Last night I dreamt I ate a good meal on an airline.
Now thats impossible!
But who knows? Perhaps Professor Power is on to something. Maybe now the Sox have lifted the hex, Ill find my freezepackaged transatlantic beef bourguignon tastes noticeably different to the fish pie? Miracles, my best sources tell me, can happen. Especially if you fly first class.
Iraq might now become a peaceful democratic haven. Ditto the European Union. China may soon transform into a beacon of human rights. An African country might not have a coup for a couple of weeks really, who knows? America and France, allies. A McDonalds meal, the healthy option.
The possibilities, when you start squeezing them into a column space, are limitless!
And believe me, this stuff matters. In the circles of squares within which I prowl, the question So, waddya reckon, is the world roughly moving in the right sort of direction or what? dominates the casual urbane banter of sophisticated email discussiongroups.
Most people, Im sorry to say, think the world is heading either for annihilation or Armageddon or both. But thanks to the spread of McDonalds salads options, Vanilla Coke and my column, a small but attractively wealthy minority perceive the world as visibly improving by the hour. The remaining goofs, I hardly need note, have difficulty moving beyond the subject of Star Trek.
I tell you, if theres a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, or a ray of hope beaming from the Starship Enterprise, the vast stinking mass of us will seize on it like ravenous vultures on an ailing legionnaire.
And what Im offering here is hope, for a ludicrously negligible sum, probably taxdeductible.
Now thatll be something!