Davis watches the show about football. You know the one. The one about the QB that has so much talent and is cut down in his prime. The one about a small Texas town that bases its entire cultural and economic well-being on the local high school football team. You know the show. Davis watches that show.
He gets high and watches the show. Sometimes he drinks as well. There are lessons to be learned in the show. Life lessons. He learns the lessons better if he’s high, he says to nobody. Sometimes he gets confused.
Turns out football helmets are really cheap on Amazon. Everything is really cheap on Amazon, and football helmets are part of everything. He orders one with and some decals from the team in the show. When they arrive, he places the decals on the helmet very carefully. The helmet sit on the shelf for a time.
Davis never played football. When he was in high school, his parents wouldn’t allow it, and he didn’t want to play anyway. He much preferred books and drugs. He’s 36 now and has a litany of health concerns. The football show gives him the lesson that hardship builds character. The coach in the show said something to this effect. Hardship builds character. Thanks coach.
He begins wearing the helmet around the house. It’s a mid-century tract house left to him by his parents. He sets up a mattress against the wall in the garage and hits it head-first for hours. It’s the twin mattress he used to sleep on as a kid. He decides he needs pads.
On the football show, the coach always knows exactly what to say. He radiates paternal exuberance. Everybody that watches the show wants the coach to be their dad. Their dads were aloof or overbearing or abusive or trivial. The coach is not one of these. He is a stoic pillar of caring manhood. Davis thinks about his own dad and hits the mattress one more time.
He wears a full football uniform all the time now — pads, cup, and all. At the supermarket he gets some stares.
At checkout the cashier asks, “What’s with the football getup?”
Davis says, “I’m in training.”
“Oh that’s cool,” the cashier takes it in stride. “What are you training for?”
“The season.” The transaction completes and he goes home.
Davis looks in on his garage. There are helmet holes all over the drywall. He goes to the computer and orders another matress.