Set The Bar Low


Before the Saints game on Sunday, my partner says to me: “ This one’s hardly worth watching. The Saints are gonna smoke the Eagles.”

Well, you know that old Army phrase: “Smoke ’em if you got ’em.”

Apparently, we didn’t got ’em.

I said to her: “Be careful what you say.” I warned that these are the kinds of games the Saints are somewhat notorious for blowing. (See: Playoffs 2020, 2019, 2018, etc.)

She waved me of and said: “Ba’waa!” Or something unintelligible like that. Maybe that’s a “The Simpsons” reference or something like that. She’s younger than me and knows pop culture better. She went on to use the words “stomp” and “crush” and “destroy.”

I knew right then what would happen. I reminded her then and there of the motto I live by, of which she is very familiar: “Set the bar low.” That way, life delivers fewer disappointments. And when things go well, it’s hallelujah time!

A caveat: Don’t set the bar so low that you strain your back reaching for the Ketel One.

OK, that was a joke, but only kind of. If there was ever a year to set the bar low, it’s 2020. I mean, what could go wrong, right? I’ve learned this year, it’s that pessimism is not an outlook but an adopted lifestyle.

Pessimism, it’s the new greed. It’s good. Or at least, a reasonable defense mechanism. I mean, would could go right? Am I wrong?

After demanding a recount of the game’s score, the numbers remained the same. We lost. It was a bad day for bettors. The spread favored the Saints by only seven and a half points, which seemed like a slow pitch to hit out of the park. The Eagles had only won three games to our ten, and the teams they beat were crappy.

We beat Tom Brady twice.

But apparently Vegas odds makers were setting the bar low for the Saints, it seems. I imagine a lot of bettors got crushed, stomped and smoked. Leading me to wonder: Was Vegas (the city, not the team) in on the fix? Was it rigged? Was it stolen?

Such a strange year it has been, what with our new daily terms and phrases. Last I recall, “rigged” referred to sailboats and fishing tackle on Lake Pontchartrain. “Stolen” referred to your car in Mid City. And “fix” was something I never did to broken appliances, bicycles or wobbly dining room tables.

And so we play on. But my caution, dear reader: Don’t get your hopes too high. We are no longer a team of destiny. That year was 2019. And 2018. And 2017. Etc.

OK, call me Debbie Downer. But I’ve earned my scar tissue rooting for the Bless You Boys. My partner, she’s a dilettante. And worse, she’s a Vikings fan. It’s like a Democrat shacked up with a Republican.

But give her credit, she was right about one thing about the game: It was hardly worth watching.

And this week, we play the Chiefs. What could possibly go wrong?


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