My English friend, new to the States has been acclimating himself to our culture and sports. In the spirit of whiskey-drenched chivalry and gentlemanly respect, I in turn have offered the olive branch to him, going so far as to take in a few soccer and rugby games, just the tip, just to know what it feels like.
I thought this email I received yesterday was perhaps the best email I have ever received. To receive this out of the blue was like being visited by a golden, glowing hawk in the night who has passes to a secret concert where the resurrected Beatles are now all alive and young again, and it’s an open bar and Hunter S. Thompson is driving you (he’s been in the rum all night).
The man who will be referred to on this blog as “The Englishman”, took me to school. For your Friday enjoyment, I will give you his email and a song from my favorite band in England right now. God Save the Queen on this Friday (unless we’re the ones trying to capture her). I plan to take this man to a USC game this fall. Watch out bears. The Brit plays for keeps.
In the least, I expect hundreds of emails demanding more of the Englishman this coming season. I shall see him this evening, and convey your feelings. It is your job, Arrogant Nation, to make this man a Trojan fan. We bet on the Super Bowl together, along with Dave and Dawson and won. He is a learning machine with the heart of a dragon slayer. He will help us. I just know it.
To the email….
Tally ho Zack,
How dangles it guvnor? Hope morale is in tip top shape.
I’ve a tale to tell you. Get comfortable, pour yourself a toddy, put your thinking-cap on and have a quick gander:-
Picture the scene…
(if you’d be so kind my friend)
It’s early. Too early. It’s cold. It’s wet. You wake up.
You’re in a field (yes YOU, Zack Jerome, are in a field).
One eye is glued shut because, without realizing it, you passed out last night face down in the mud.
Then you remember… and it’s painful.
It’s not really mud.
It’s more like a kind of miscellaneous cocktail of what you hope is only vomit, stale ale, urine and turf… but in your heart you know it could be much much worse. You feel pain where there wasn’t pain before. Why is your ankle pointing every way but the right way? Where did your front teeth go? And who the bloody hell drew a gentleman sausage on your forehead!?
You pull yourself up from the ground and hope that you can stand. You can’t.
So… balanced precariously on your elbows, and using your one good remaining eye, you take a long look around at this strangely new world.
You quickly realize that you can see more empty liquor receptacles on the ground than you can aforementioned ‘miscellaneous cocktail’ (which temporarily makes you feel better). But, regrettably, that brief elation rapidly descends into a series of seemingly relentless waves of apprehension, guilt and embarrassment as the blurred and stuporous memories of the night before are rekindled with devastating efficiency. In evidence before you is what can only be described as ‘post-apocalyptic’ levels of carnage. The tent that you fastidiously constructed before you started drinking is now forty feet above you in the nearest oak tree. Alongside the tent you discern endless reams of toilet paper gently dancing in the branches (toilet paper that you realize you cannot now use to get yourself cleaned up). As you gradually cast your eye over the entire field you are met with a dizzying array of ludicrous spectacles. Amongst the most noteworthy are three sheep, eight Mongolians, a dozen concubines, fourteen pixies (perhaps a hallucination), a small marching band, a very very very suspicious jar of green liquid, a penguin, and an exceptionally stern note from your now ex-girlfriend.
Then… just when you thought things could not get any worse… that dull numbing thud of a hangover coupled with that all too familiar queasy feeling in your stomach begins to set in at a ruthless pace.
Suddenly however… all is not lost.
You smile. You laugh. Because you remember the best thing of all… You are ENGLISH! This is what you do. This is who you are. This is a process that has been perfected by generations of your forefathers. As you turn around you see an ocean of fellow Englishmen waking up to the same scenario. Hundreds of them. All rising in unison from the field and the ‘miscellaneous cocktail’. All throwing off the oppressive shackles of sobriety and reaching for the nearest ale. You are filled with an overwhelming sense of pride, privilege and patriotism. Your strength is renewed. You stand (now with effortless ease) and you survey your glorious kingdom. The small marching band begins to play ‘God Save the Queen’, and with projected chest and furrowed brow you stand sheep-in-hand and hand-on-heart. A wave of euphoria sweeps through the field and a single tear of dignified majesty rolls down your cheek.
The moment is priceless.
But it is rudely interrupted…
…by the sound of a French horn.
Then you remember… it’s Friday the 25th of October in the year 1415 AD, and the Battle of Agincourt is about to begin. You look to the north and you see an incalculably large and horrendously well-equipped French army bearing down upon you. Some estimate that the English are outnumbered by as many as seven to one. The French look angry. They’re jealous. They’re jealous because the English have bigger penises than they do. They’re jealous because the English are better at football than they are. They’re jealous because in the next 600 years the English are going to invent the adjustable spanner, the lawn mower and the sticky toffee pudding.
The battle looks like a foregone conclusion. It looks like an impossible task for the English. It’s suicide most say. You agree.
But you also say that you’d rather die fighting the French than live in a world that knew you’d retreated from them.
You’re English. You’re proud.
So you stay. You fight. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Some weeks later you return home to your wife, family and friends. You receive a hero’s welcome and you humbly take your place amongst the vast pantheon of great and outrageously handsome Englishmen that history has produced. You are immortalized.
596 years, 3 months, and 29 days later (aka 21st February 2011) the Head Coach of the French National Rugby Team has this to say ahead of the crucial game with England this coming Saturday:-
“We don’t like them [the English], and it’s better to say that than be hypocritical. We respect them, well in my case at least I respect them, but you couldn’t say we have the slightest thing in common with them. We appreciate our Italian cousins, with whom we share the same quality of life, we appreciate the Celts and their conviviality … among all these nations we have one huge thing in common: we don’t like the English.”
“This insular country [England] always drape themselves in the national flag, their hymns, their chants, their traditions.”
“I like French mustard on my roast beef”
Zack, it sounds like this guy doesn’t remember the beating that you handed out to the French back in 1415. He’s forgotten the glory of your endeavors at the Battle of Agincourt. He’s forgotten who you are. I know that this must infuriate you, and this is why I’ve written this email. Zack, don’t stand for this kind of insubordination.
In short, I know that you’re well over six centuries old now and probably looking a little frail around the edges. But I urge you to do the right thing. It’s what all the most beautiful and important people in the world will be doing on Saturday. They’ll be watching the mighty mighty English rugby team humiliate the French.
JOIN ME. Witness history in the making.
Bro. Endzone. Now enjoy this song and go kill some bears this weekend. Send me some tweets. I’m feeling like I want to talk to all of you and maybe even drink things with you. Cheers, Arrogant Nation.
Our season approaches.