Andrew James and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Game


When I went to sleep Sunday all my friends were in Dallas. When I woke up Monday I was still at home and they were all having breakfast beers on Facebook and smiling with their mouths wide open the way people do in pictures now.

When I got out of bed game day morning, I forgot to pack my work laptop so I got halfway out of town before I had to turn back to get it.

By mistake, I dropped my highlighter yellow Oregon sweatshirt in a puddle while getting my son out of the car for daycare and I couldn’t wear it to work. And I always wear my highlighter yellow Oregon sweatshirt on big game days.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

When I was eating my Clif bar at my desk a co-worker walked by with a sausage McMuffin with egg and even though I don’t like those, the whole room started to smell like delicious McDonald’s breakfast which is what 1994 smells like and that was a good year. I decided I would go to McDonald’s and get one but instead a meeting reminder email popped up on my computer and it was a meeting I hadn’t even prepared for—which is why I took my laptop home in the first place the previous night.

I think I’ll move to Dallas.

In the meeting, Candace let Bob and Natalie sit close to the phone in the middle of the conference table so the client could hear them and they didn’t even have anything to say. I was scrunched in the back next to a couple engineers who were there only because it was on the way to the kitchen. I said the client wouldn’t be able to hear me if I was so far away but nobody, not even people in the room, heard me at all.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

Back at my desk, I posted a picture of me from a game I went to in October drinking beer and wearing my highlighter yellow Oregon sweatshirt. But Sam and Dan and Rick and Mike posted pictures of themselves wearing shorts and flip flops drinking beers in a giant parking lot outside the actual stadium before the actual game. So people liked those pictures a whole lot more and could tell mine was old. My mom liked it and someone I didn’t even know I was friends with the name Raj liked it, but that’s it. I took it down. Sam and Dan and Rick and Mike’s pictures got like almost 100 likes each.

When the coffee truck rolled up outside work they said the credit card machine was broken. Matt only had enough cash for himself and Jonathan and he already owed Jonathan a coffee so I didn’t get any.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

Back at my desk, I turned Facebook off but then my phone started blowing up with texts. In movies, most friend texts say encouraging things or at least things like “what’s up” or “thinking of you xo.” But my friends’ texts say stuff like “you’re a fucking asshole” and “hope you’re having fun at work and not being at the game you piece of” and then an emoji of poo by it.

This happened over and over and over again. And over and over and over again and Sam and Dan and Rick and Mike kept running into more people and drinking more beers and posting more pictures and so I said in a group text next time you take off work and leave your families behind I hope someone shakes up your beer and it explodes in your face.

I was going to go to Taco Bell for lunch because I still had a fast food craving from the morning but I had pizza leftovers in the fridge from last week that needed to get eaten and 10 minutes between meetings so I ate that instead and got a stomach ache which resulted in me having to get up during the meeting to go to the bathroom. And everyone knows if you have to get up during a meeting, especially one right after lunch, it’s to go number two.

It was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

That’s what it was, because after work the game was starting at 5:30 and I got home plenty early to help change the baby and get his food ready because he has to eat baby food instead of wings and onion rings. But getting him ready takes forever. So long that I could’ve flown to Dallas and back.

When we finally got there, Oregon had already scored (good!) but then Ohio State scored a bunch right back and their running back who was wearing a half-tee like Stan Gable in Revenge of the Nerds was going everywhere and Oregon receivers were deciding to get nervous for the first time all season and drop passes like I drop groceries coming out of Trader Joe’s. My buddy Jerry turned to me and said maybe this isn’t their year.

Next year, I said, I’m going to Dallas.

By halftime I started crying and trying to make myself feel better by making fun of other people at the bar. The baby and his mother decided they’d heard enough so they packed up and went home and left me there to cry and try to talk shit some more. My buddy Mark texted me to tell me to take a shot and I said I don’t want to take a shot but he said take a shot and I said I shouldn’t and he said he did and I should because it’ll be good luck.

So I took a shot and told the bartender that I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game. But she didn’t listen.

In the second half, Ohio State kept scoring and the stadium full of Ohio State’s fans kept roaring and everyone who didn’t go to school with me in Oregon kept texting me asking if “white and camo” were Oregon’s school colors when I went there and I didn’t think it was funny. Not at all.

I walked home from the bar during the fourth quarter because I remembered everyone was mad at me and I wanted to say sorry before bed and maybe catch the last 10 minutes on my couch because I’m undefeated when the Ducks play and I’m watching from the couch and maybe I could catch the Rose Ceremony too—but it was too late.

Four Weddings and a Funeral was on instead and Hugh Grant looks really young, surprisingly fresh as if he’s not yet done with school, in it and it was the funeral scene where the WH Auden poem is read by the guy who looks like he’s in the Pet Shop Boys and that all just gets me. So I watched the score pile up against the Ducks online while I got drunk-sad during the funeral part of the movie and drank water because I knew I’d have a headache in the morning.

I didn’t even want to watch the game anymore because the whole time the stadium made me dizzy and queasy because it looked like the inside of a giant airport terminal or a Best Buy but with dim lighting and all I could think of was all the people who’d be soon leaving and how empty it would be on Tuesday, This big, empty, giant shell where passes get dropped and half-tees come back and the bets I made for Oregon to win by seven and more than 73 points get scored combined go to die.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

When I went to bed I was already having a headache and nobody liked my sad Facebook post about how teams who don’t wear their own colors don’t deserve to win national championships and the nightlight in the bathroom went out so I stubbed my toe on the scale when I went to pee.

I forgot to brush my teeth and I had bar burp breath. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game.

My mom says some games are like that. Even in Dallas.


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