Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

My husband’s attention is easily captured by contests.

I patiently worked with him through the heady highs and the heart crushing lows of his sudden obsession with the Mega Millions drawing last Friday. Somehow he convinced himself we were going to win and we would be forced to do something charitable because we would simply run out of things to want for ourselves.

He became completely worked up over the difficult philanthropic choice he knew we would face – whether to set up an organization to rehabilitate invasive Asian Carp who want to stop leaping, or create a home for Facebook Orphans – the sad children whose parents won’t friend them.

But we didn’t win anything at all! Instead of planning our victory announcement, I had to help him do calm-down exercises all through the weekend. Who knew writing explanatory haiku could be so therapeutic?

Now in the harsh light of Monday morning I see that it was all for naught – he’s stuck in a pattern of serial enthrallment, lurching from one popular thing to another.

Today it’s the Final Four.

He can’t stop talking about, thinking about, and fretting over the outcome of tonight’s Kentucky vs. Kansas contest – a basketball game that, to me, is utterly meaningless because it involves two states that I could never tell apart to begin with. One of them is certain to win but I’m sure that by tomorrow morning I won’t be able to remember which one it was.

As my husband pores over the line-ups and number-crunches the statistics, I tell him that these things always seem to come down to a couple of dapper millionaire coaches shouting about fouls with 3.7 seconds on the clock, and then some gawky near-teenager who hasn’t done his calculus homework trying to make a free throw with 0.6 seconds left.

I tell my husband to skip all the pre-game and mid-game angst and just tune in for the last 12.9 seconds. He won’t miss a thing! But words are useless. He doesn’t hear me and I know I won’t be able to get his attention again until Wednesday at the earliest.

Obviously I’m frustrated.

Why do they call it the “Final” Four when everyone knows there will be four more next year? I would be able to take these major sporting events more seriously if they truly represented the end – let’s crown a champion and then never, ever play the game again.

Is that too much to ask?

Mrs. Fanatic

I told Mr. Fanatic that yes, in fact, it IS Too Much To Ask.

We all find it very easy to insist that other people give up things we don’t like. After all, it would be easy for US to walk away from the lottery and the Final Four – what’s the problem? And it feels great to scoff at these hopeless addicts. But what if someone asked you to stop feeling so superior? That could be a very hard habit to break.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

41 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. Morning all. Just read through the last couple of days — sorry I missed the haiku. My mom is here and we’ve been busy, out and about. Today we’re going to Fawn-Doe-Rosa (where y gravatar picture was taken when I was eight!).

    Please don’t ask me to stop feeling superior and I won’t ask you to stop watching your final four. That’s a sport-thing right? The round orange ball?


  2. Good morning. How about eliminating the T V? That is where most of that dumb stuff, like the final four, is found. Not going to happen, as George Bush the first would say.

    Some can get rid of T V. We can’t at our house. If I don’t watch it, I would be eliminating one of the most important social activities at our house and that wouldn’t be good. Maybe there is some way to cut back on that stuff and not spend so much time in front of the TV. That would be good.


        1. I think the poem shows that there is an interesting world out there but it would take energy, responsibility and effort to live in it. So, he takes his beer and pizza home, probably, to spend another night in front of the tv


        2. Nah. I think the poem just says that it is our fate in life to behold dazzling things that will never be ours. It isn’t a matter of effort. We just don’t get to get all the things we would love to get. Beautiful people enter our lives briefly and go away, leaving us to pant and fantasize.

          On my first visit to the Florida Keys I sat on a blanket one afternoon on the beach, not far from Hemingway’s former place. A golden-haired woman unfurled her blanket and stretched out nearby. I had two hours to memorize the look of her. I decided she had to be a model (there is a lot of photography done in the Keys). By the time she left, I had concluded that every square inch of her was perfect, just perfect. Energy and vision weren’t the issue. Or put it this way: she was a vision of heaven who has brightened the darkness of my usual life ever since.


  3. OT – Dale, I congratulate you on the proper spelling of the word “pore.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it spelled – in this context – “pour.” I know I shouldn’t let the mis-spelling bug me, but it does.


    1. but he misspelled serial my brother was involved in cereal enthrallment. he’d go form captain crunch to sugar pops to rice crispies. he couldnt stop. he had to give up breakfast altogether.


      1. I have experienced cereal enthrallment but now have pretty much given up boxed cereal. A relapse may have been triggered . And once, my brother gave up his breakfast altogether. For April Fool’s day, another brother replaced the contents of the sugar bowl with salt. Of course, the last of the milk had been poured on the salted bowl. Funny now, not so then.


  4. kentucky is the long skinny one that looks just like tennesee above it or below it and kansas is the one that looks just like north dakota, south dakota and nebraska all stacked up like slices of banana bread.
    i picked kentucky and kansas to be the final pair with kentucky to win so it must be predestined. if we stop the final four we also need to stop the seasons, birthdays, anniversarys, brady bunch reunions and clean the kitchen counter endlessly.
    leave me alone. the world is fine. go fix something else.


  5. I don’t feel so much superior as much as I feel like a different species. I think it has something to do with genetic mutations. Somewhere there was a split in the code. I didn’t get the spectator sport gene. I am more likely to watch the spectators. Face/body paint?? Cheering until you are hoarse? And when do you tip over cars and light them on fire? after a win? after a loss. Every year I forget the answer to that one.


        1. When I die, my kids will be able to open up a prolific consignment business. I’m only glad that I won’t be around to be embarrassed by the sheer number of clothing items which still have price tags on them!


      1. I’m missing that gene, too, for clothes shopping, etc. but unfortunately I have it double or triple (maybe quadruple) for book shopping.


  6. Mrs. Fanatic,
    We all have our ‘things.’ Your husband’s is to be enamored with whatever the latest/greatest topic headlining the media happens to be or, to put it another way, ‘Shiny Thing Syndrome.’ The world seems to revolve around contests nowadays. And no matter how many times we say to others, or ourselves, that “it’s not a contest,” we are constantly reinforced with the notion that it is. No matter what ‘it’ happens to be. People seem to respond to competition, whether it actually has anything to do with them or not. Does that make him a sap? Not particularly…it just means he’s human. Remember, you have your own ‘things’ too. And just be glad that he’s not in some kind of escalating competition with you too.


  7. Oooh, oooh, oooh! We are so judgmental Mrs. Fanatic! Your husband has a legal, harmless and popular hobby that doesn’t involve controlled substances, booze or women who carry social diseases. Count your blessings, lady, and try to learn something about tolerance. Better yet, you might learn something about basketball–a lovely game with speed, athleticism, brute power and finesse. If you are able to ask him why Kansas hasn’t switched out of the zone defense since they are getting killed with it or why Kentucky hasn’t found an answer to the pick and roll, your husband will see you in a new light. Or just leave him alone. Half the viable marriages that exceed the 25 year mark owe their success to judicious applications of the principle of “leave ’em alone when they are having fun.”


  8. I can get just as involved with serial enthalment as the next guy, so I have no right to act superior. Still, I wouldn’t refain from saying that most of that stuff is stupid. Too much of it is not good for me or anyone else. Enough said or maybe more than enough said.


  9. Be grateful that it is something that changes and not an on-going obsession like Star Trek (original? Deep Space 9? Next Gen?…), or historical reenactment (say goodbye to your extra storage space – it’s filled with muskets, canvas tents and iron cooking pots), or competitive bridge (“Your finesse from dummy of West’s queen saved your bid of 3-No with a short in clubs” will be a phrase that makes sense). With a move from the lottery to Final Four and inevitably on to baseball in a few weeks and then some other new shiny thing, it at least allows for variety in what your beloved talks about and is obsessed with in any given week. And as Steve said, you can also be grateful he’s not involved in anything illegal or intoxicating.


    1. Anna, did I hear you say “historical reenactment”? We followed that bugle call for a decade, too. Talk about another world🙂 that overlaps into the sci fi crowd which overlaps into . . . .

      Dr. Babooner, I guess when it comes to an obsession, there’s no explaining it and there’s no such word as moderation. If Mrs F can’t share it, then she might just have to find her own.


      1. I have not been re-enactor myself, but friends from my Renaissance Festival days have been and/or are involved. Also, there is huge overlap between my RF friends, my theater friends and my science fiction friends…and those overlap into…yeah, I’m sure you know how that works. People in these various groups and fandoms are definitely a breed apart (and sometimes obsessed).


  10. iI am remembering an episode of the morning show and I think jim ed was gone so dale did his version of mr sports mr action mr jim ed poole … lets see said dale… half the teams won half the teams lost. that’s it for sports …its nice intelligent humor hasn’t left us. it just doesn’t come over the radio in the morning anymore.


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