Monkey on our backs

Lots of people have little nagging annoyances, small things that lurk in the shadows of your life and just pounce when you least expect or want them to. Call it the monkey on your back, the depressing little cur that makes you feel like garbage and turns you from a reasonable person into a quaky, shaky mess.

Like a lot of people, I used to smoke. Not a lot, I never made it to a pack a day, but I did make it an unfortunately frequent habit. Having one after work, or two before bed; what difference did it make? I would smoke in private, and return to my compadres a little smelly, but much the same as I was before. I always wanted to quit but had a hard time doing it. When I finally did quit (about 18 months back) it was not without temptation to regress. Even recently walking to and from class with young people puffing away all around me, I thought about grabbing a pack just to quiet my nerves during the thesis-writing process. So, that's my monkey; maybe for you it's chewing your nails, or a maliciously passive-agressive ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, or, like the nation of India, maybe it's actual monkeys.

I think, for the Minnesota Twins, it's not smoking, or nail chewing, or malicious ex-es, or even real monkeys. The monkey on our team's collective back is a simple little thing called: getting whomped by the New York Yankees. No matter how good we feel, no matter how awesome things seem to be going, when those pinstriped punks turn up and we fall behind just a little bit everything seems to get approximately 10 million times worse. We try not to dramatize it too much, we try to play it cool...but...they just...SUCK! They win...and we lose...and we're left scratching our heads with a collective sense of "what just happened?"

This is tough, painful even, but it's made a little worse by the snide condescension that many Yankees fans throw our way. I mean, cigarettes never jumped out of their packs and called me a loser...sometimes monkeys I met in India seemed to be talking about my goatee...but, they were monkeys, they might have thought I scalped a relative. The Yankees? The Yankees seem to take some perverse pleasure in pointing out our failures...in reminding us of how we are unlike them (what with only two World Series titles as opposed to 27). Heck a New York newspaper published this little gem on Monday, assuming that the outcome of our series was a forgone conclusion.

I know that the Twins players have said they don't care, that New York is just that way and so be it. I also know Yankees do not write this newspaper, and that they are probably, pretty nice guys. I'm sure they take playing against us very seriously, it's just that many of their fans are so arrogant and smug that it feels like we're playing with the weight of several million snobbish brats squatting on our backs point out our failures...like a troop of particularly virulent monkeys.

Some day, we'll loose the Monkey off our back. I rarely crave cigarettes, in part because I have friends who remind me that I was a lot smellier than I remember, and that they want me to stay healthy and alive. I've helped friends ignore malicious ex-es, and seen nail biters change their ways. So I'm sure the Twins will find a way to dump the Empire State sized monkey off our backs...someday. Maybe we should try the Indian solution to "monkeys on the back"...MORE MONKEYS!

Good luck Twins, I'll keep the strategic monkey reserves on standby should we need them.

P.s. The New York Times has an article about this same dilemma, but with much more of a musical theatre reference. This might be over-dramatizing, but it's entertaining.

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