Charles Simic’s soccer addiction

79653671_jpg_600x417_q85Charles Simic at the New York Review of Books:

I haven’t done a thing in three weeks except watch soccer. Mowing the lawn, paying bills, working on an essay and a lecture whose deadlines are fast approaching, writing overdue letters of recommendation and one of condolences, answering dozens of urgent emails and writing an angry letter to The New York Times pointing out the many historical inaccuracies in John Burns’s recent piece on the hundredth anniversary of the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria—all these have had to wait. With sixty-four games to watch, it’s a wonder I find time to brush my teeth or tie my shoelaces. The only phone calls I let through these days are those from other junkies who want to discuss some game we are watching. Should an unexpected visitor come to the door, I would emulate the example of soccer players and fake an injury, dropping on the floor and writhing in agony until the person left.

Consequently, I was astonished last Sunday when my wife marched into our TV room, where I was making myself comfortable in my chair to watch the Netherlands play Mexico, and asked me if I wanted to go picking strawberries with her and our little granddaughter. My mouth fell open. I was about to ask her to repeat what she said, but then I remembered how it is with soccer and the women in my family.

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