Almost exactly a year ago, I was helping out a friend on a big project that involved the construction of about 17 thousand (it seemed) red felt doohickeys. Actually, it was only about 500, but each one had to be individually cut out, rolled up, and sewn together, and it took a long time and kind of made me a little batty for a couple of weeks.
I again found myself cutting felt for the same friend this month for a different project, this time a trillion little green whatsits. This was a little less crazy-inducing, as there was no needle work involved. Threading a needle 500 times in two weeks is enough to make anyone a little tweaky.
I took the bolt of green felt home one night recently, thinking it would be fun to work on the blasted little things while watching the ballgame. I figured, if things got exciting in a good way, I could toss little scraps of green felt up in the air in celebration. If things got exciting in a bad way, I could intimidate the other team by standing in front of the TV and waving my shiny silver scissors at the screen.
What? I personally believe that what I do in my living room affects the outcome of the game. If you’ve never once pulled on a rally cap, or worn a lucky shirt to an important game (or date), or maybe not watched a particular play because you felt that if you watched it wouldn’t go well, then you just suck and I don’t want to know you anyway.
Although in my case my superstitions might be a bit extreme, because I always watch baseball games on DVR, so as to avoid all those nassssty commercials, precious. And also so I can hit pause whenever Mike Mussina gets that sexy, intense look of concentration on his face just before a pitch.
So, given my recording habits, the events that I’m trying to affect have already happened, sometimes hours ago. Interestingly, my best friend E. was a philosophy major in college, and she tells me that there’s a name for this belief. She wrote her thesis on Backward Causation, the belief that you can affect past events with present actions. If you’ve ever walked out of an exam, praying to the deity of your choice that you passed, that’s a form of backward causation. By praying, you’re trying to ensure that you passed.
I personally think this is an experiment worth trying, because what do you have to lose? Worst case scenario, you wave sharp pointy things at the television screen in the privacy of your own home, and your team loses anyway (or makes some jackass move like tossing a batting helmet at an umpire, thus confirming the whole entire universe’s bad opinion of your team, yeah, thanks, jackass).
And this endeavor can be extended to other, more regrettable past events, like when I wore that dress that I loved to a friend’s wedding that totally didn’t suit me, but will now live on in infamy in countless photographs, or the fact that I never made a move on that green-eyed guy when I was nineteen, and I totally should have.
Maybe if I pray/meditate/wave my scissors around really hard, I can have those moments back. Or maybe I should just toss all these green felt leaves in the air and give a great big whoop of joy that I don’t have more moments of regret to stew over.