The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Where Were You, Barkevious?

Where Barkevious

I sit and write this prior to the final game of the 2013 Browns—another migraine campaign—worried about what a response piece, my main fare, would look like. A letter from Bernie, the incoherent babbling of a dead man, that is what. Me almost dead of pulse only moving the pen through the remnants of a heartbeat running lowly on the bone splinters of last night’s Silva fight. So I am choosing to write in anticipation. In a few long minutes, the hot short tail of failure will whip and we will be left once again with droplets of an organization we love rapidly dissolving in our rough palms.

The elasticity of a brain has its limits. I was fed with the fodder of failure for so many weeks (my deepest love being for Boss Weeden—hands down what a bare and moonfaced muse he has been). The bads were bad and the goods only mediocre but it is the time of year for resolutions and that mood makes us soft for buying into the culture of “the right direction”. What’s to salvage? Why should I believe in this year? Where were you, Barkevious?

I think of the wasted energy given away so short-sighted. I, like much of Cleveland, veering pithy emotions toward the passionate derision of geographic pride. But these emotions are stunted—a weak stew. Geography is in constant erosion, cities on water in constant repeal. Take a trip to the villainous borders of Lakewood Park or maybe New Orleans if you feel immortal.

I am, as I’m sure you are, not naive and would hate to have sentimentality obscure my objectivity to the game. That would be too ornate, too Protestant of us, too revealing of the past. Instead of chasing that feral goose we should ruminate on enlightenment as fans of football. The larger fans of us, gamespeople, true to sport, must make a series of severe adjustments in the brain, peering away from the delirium which embalms Browns’ seasons, seasons known for their highly virtual depictions of tragedy, fourth or fifth level simulacra, as good as the original.

The only way to prepare for watching this postseason as earnest fans is mental movement; neural exercise and creation of synaptic muscle memory through rote studying of non-Browns games until it is second nature. For instance, I will go on to spend the day checking betting slips with a co-worker, thinking her bets not placed nearly as well as mine, her thinking the same while both of us clumsily take Carolina at 8 points. I will be checking the Giants at 3 and Tennessee at 7 and have my eyes filled with the colored lights of the Every game. And though it seems the ticker will be groundhogging the Colts running up the score on the poor Jacksonville Jaguars, I will manage to see very good, even great, football happening. I will watch the one-day-funneling playoff picture in action. What many think will be elegant live prose will instead become voluptuous, attractive poetry.

Routines must be established today as we begin the laborious task of exhuming separation—dusting off the webs, reanimating it until in a haze of Lakeside Light we realize fully: Our attachment to the Browns, at this point in the season, is a drag on the Cleveland Self in relation to the world. It is suffocating us in a terrible marriage. And when said realization occurs, up and down the tarmac of Burke we will hide our faces from the shadows wishing only to move forward, purge the past, as the scent of the ghost of auto trade rolls from the dingy shores to our rosey little noses…

Yes, that will all do. And a little physical exercise. Soon, surely, we won’t believe that we are all so jaded. That we aren’t asking ourselves, have we been here before? Like at the end of every season when we beg Dickensian for alms and scraps of hope? Like some affluent of aspiration patriarch will magically dissipate our suffering? Like we won’t turn around and eat our own bullshit? Where were you, Barkevious?


-Jon Conley
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Posted by on Dec 29 2013. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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