Friday, April 27, 2012

EM 2004--Round One

EM 2004

Same rules as last time. Here's a review: We’ll employ standard spread betting with a few modifications. Bet the line. Should the line be met precisely, the bet is nullified. Should you beat the line, you’ll win. For those new to the system, lets go over an example line just for clarity's sake.

Deutschland vs. England 

The Line: Germany +2

The Favorite is favored to win by 2 goals. If you bet on the U.S., there are three ways you can win the bet:

1) England loses by less than 2 goals.

2) Match is a draw

3) England wins

Conversely, there is only one way to win if you bet on Germany

1) Germany wins by more than two goals

Should Germany win by precisely two goals, the bet is a wash.

Alles Klar? For the initial round, bets between $5 and $25 are taken. Increments of $5 are the way to go. In subsequent rounds, we might bump it up higher.


1) Your Bookie takes bets on FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE BASIS. The bookie reserves the right to not take a bet when he has a serious conflict of interest. Send in your picks via phone call or e-mail, and I'll confirm your booking via e-mail. BETTING CLOSES AT Midnight on the day of the match

2) Payouts come at the end of the tournament when everything is totaled up.
4) A "Pick Em’" bet is just that. Fuck the lines. Pick your team.

Portugal vs. Greece


How fabulous that the honor of the hosts kicking off the tournament has been reinstated! No better way to get things off to a pulsating start than to throw a party in Porto! The whole city shall sway. Gut check time for the hosts, who mustn’t let the added pressure rattle their nerves. Thankfully they begin their journey against totally inferior opponents. With the Acropolis being one notable ancient caveat, the Greeks can’t finish anything. Hell, it doesn’t look as if they’ll finish the renovations on the Acropolis this decade either. With roughly six weeks to go before the Summer Olympics in Athens, the Greeks haven’t even finished building any of the stadiums yet. The Navigators are gifted with a nice tune up fight from which to build some confidence. This should be a high-scoring lopsided match. Think Tyson-Sphinx

THE LINE: Portugal  +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Greece 2, Portugal 1. I later learned this was the first time in history the host of a European Championship blew their opening game. The Portuguese played downright sloppy. They slipped, they fell, they took their eyes off the dribble and forfeited possession in the most exasperating of fashions. Inter Milan’s Giorgos Karagounis made them pay in the 7th minute, stripping the ball racing down half of the field before discharging a scorcher that knocked the wind out of the crowd. I recall thinking at the half that Greece could have easily been ahead 4-0 on account of all the defensive errors. Scolari attempted to make some second half adjustments with two restart substitutions, but Rehhagel proved to be cleverer. He subbed out his goal scorer for a defender and the Greeks went into lockdown, even more so after a questionable penalty involving Christiano Ronaldo gave the Greeks a 2-0 lead shortly after the restart.

Then came the chants. “Otto über alles”, howled the outnumbered Greek fans. To their credit, the Navigators pressed forward and tried virtually every trick they could improvise. “Otto über Alles.” A friend of mine caught Greeks fans holding up a sign commemorating this historic match during the 2010 World Cup. “Otto über Alles”. As I said Greeks, I do not wish to make enemies of you. If you would kindly refrain from burning the German flag I will not have an excuse at my disposal…or getting directly in my face if you prefer. 

Spain vs. Russia


We might as well call this “Smack down Saturday”. Well….not exactly. La Roja are a long way from high gear, rumored to have two starters listed as, in American football parlance, “questionable”. The injuries have led many European odds makers to take the game off the board entirely. I could do the same, making this a pick and raking in the dough. I’d rather listen to the heart that steadily (and somewhat irregularly) beats beneath the chest. As many of you, the Madrid train bombings earlier this year shook the Spanish sole to its very core. For a country so accustomed to dealing with domestic regional terrorism, what business does Al Qaeda have fucking with this eternally subjugated and suppressed population? The beastly attack swung the elections, giving Right Wingers in the States an excuse to pile on. They call the Spanish cowards and capitulators.

Time to man up and show them that Spain cowers before no one! On the contrary, Spain shall rise again!! The years of perpetual disappointment are over. This is the year. Even with the lineups jumbled, I’ll wager cold hard cash on some Zapatero Zest! Importar tres cojones a alguien!

THE LINE: Spain  +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Spain 1, Russia 0. At the end of Day one I was out a great deal of money and authentically terror-stricken. Albeda and Puyol predictably started in spite of their minor injuries, yet the Spanish were unable to deliver the romp I so crucially needed. A no name substitute from Athletico Madrid scored the lone goal in a languid, yawn-inducing match. The Greek shocker still reverberates to this day….as does this hapless sequel.


Switzerland vs. Croatia


Live from Leira, it’s the snooze-fest of the Century! After a vigorous brainstorming session involving two walks around the block, forty laps in the downstairs pool, three slices of salami toast, and an auto-erotic interlude session replete with candles, incense and Thelonius Monk, I’m unable to come up with one plausible reason why anyone should bother to rise before the crack of noon to check this one out. I’ll be watching, but that’s merely because I’m an extraordinary loser with no Saturday evening plans. I will unquestionably be the only 21 year-old in South Louisiana staying home on a Saturday Summer night. Sigh. And now with continuing coverage of “Depress-Fest 2004”, I’ll give handicapping this worthless feature a go.

Both of these squads look to serve as spring-loaded mattresses for the mammoths of the group, France and England. Croat scoring potential mostly rests on the right boots of Monaco’s Dada Prso and Portsmouth’s Ivica Mornar, but the Checkerboards also feature a deep bench insofar as strikers are concerned. Werder Bremen’s Ivan Klasnic and Bayer Leverkusen’s Marco Babic can be inserted should the two vets fail to finish through the first 65. The Swiss sport an extremely young team of unproven talent, most of whom play in what amounts to a derisively daffy excuse for a domestic league. Want to know precisely how daffy? In the capital city, the “Swiss Alpo Super League’s” most popular team is the “Bern Young Boys”. Though over one hundred years of tradition and unrivaled safeguard the club’s name, it still made for some thoroughly klutzy conversations during a night out binge drinking in Bern. Should you ever see someone decked out in the trademark “Black and Gold BYB” Trikot, consider asking some of the zingers I got away with.

Some of my questions:

“So, I can tell by your jersey that you’re really into the “Young Boys””

“What do you think about this year’s new crop of “Young Boys’?”

“How long have you been standing behind the “Young Boys’?”

“Did the ‘Young Boys” break your heart this year?”

Some of the answers received from drunken Swiss idiots

“Yeah, I’m really into the ‘Young Boys’”

“My grandfather and father both loved the ‘Young Boys’, so I do too.”

“The ‘Young Boys’ Youth Academy will produce some decent new ‘Young Boys’” (YIKES!)

“I never miss a chance to watch the ‘Young Boys””

Thankfully I got a few sophomoric giggles out of the whole farce. Mercifully, I met no predatory pedophiles with penchants for double-entendres. Unfortunately, I met no hot older women with penchants for double-entendres.

Back to the match. The Croats should definitely be favored, but I remain skeptical. For one thing, how can one possibly predict the outcome of game during which both teams will be wearing Red and White? The Checkerboard Pattern of the Croats should enable them to distinguish friend from foe, but the Ref and Linesmen are poised to call a nightmare. Offsides will essentially be non-existent and players will be allowed to sodomize one another in the box before the officials figure out who jostled whom. You know…maybe the game will worth watching just for that…provided you’re into that sort of thing.

THE LINE: Pick em’

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Croatia 0, Switzerland 0. Awww…look at little Vice, ever the “Cougar Hunter”, even when he obviously had other options. A goalless draw need not always send the football apologists into convulsions, but this match required some conflagrations of logic when defending it. Not only was the match a colossal dud, this remains the sole tournament fixture that generated NOT ONE SINGLE WAGER for either side. I gaze with a sense of curious novelty at the blank space in my black book where no initials have been hastily inscribed. Five years later I opened up the book for some 2010 World Cup Qualifying matches and was not at all surprised to learn that no one felt inclined to wager money on, say, Liechtenstein vs. The Faroe Islands. This notwithstanding, it must be emphasized that this remains the ONLY tournament match for which no green was staked. C’mon, Vicey! People actually bet on “Sweden vs. Trinidad” or “Togo vs. Iran”? You bet you’re increasingly sagging ass at least one of them did! Football betting can more addictive than Meth.

France vs. England


Now we’re talking! The first modern two nation states to ever wage war with one another; so intractable was their animosity that they waged it for over four generations! Now they’re back to settle the Medieval Score on a Lazy Sunday afternoon, kicking off right around the time you realize that you’re not actually getting any useful work done, the newspaper’s too fucking large to read, and the chores can wait until next weekend. The winner of this Battle Royal will surely take the group and with it an easier quarterfinal opponent. Make it to the Semi-finals and you place. Already on day two, we’re privy to one of the tournament’s most crucial events.

The English will have to without their newly injured defensive sparkplug John Terry, who will be replaced by the more plodding and conservative Sol Campbell. The French are also a bit banged up, but only missing older talismans Descailly and Makelele. Overall the defending champs are on the most blazing of hot streaks and it falls to the English to halt the streaking bullet, Matrix style. Since the English have consistently failed to convince me that they are capable of stopping anything other than work on an afternoon assignment for a spot of tea, this should be a high scoring shootout ultimately won by the superior Frog Force.  I’ll predict Henry, Trezugeut, Zidane, and Gallas outweigh a Michael Own brace.

THE LINE: France +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: France 2, England 1. Makelele ended up toughing it out and a young William Gallas quickly ensured that no one remembered who the fuck Marcel Desailly was. Oh how adorable it is to read that John Terry was once a promising young player and not the controversial headline grabbing racist who will be recalled as the man who demolished the entire house four months prior to Euro 2012. Any gambling raconteur can’t resist going into great detail about the legendary games that improbably snatched his ass from the impending doom so certain that the passport and fake beard were already secured in the glove compartment. Here’s a mini-narrative for you.

Sunday afternoon and the heat was on. The Portuguese shipwreck had me down a couple of Benjamins and any game involving England swings a bookie’s pay line like a drunken wop bitch with a designer purse and a grudge. The casual money comes for St. George. In Vegas jargon, they would be termed “The Public Team”. For reasons both sentimental and pertaining to faint syllogism, Americans who know nothing about football are always ebullient about laying down cash on any U.K. Team. One may think the Irish or Scottish yield more bets by association. True, but only slightly. Any English-speaking nation will do. Bets pour in on the Aussies and Kiwis too. The trap was set, complete with a low-balled line that would entice England money while also spurning, for my general financial protection, a few Europeans to bet the French. The latter never occurred, in large part due to the fairness of the line. I thought it a foregone conclusion that the French would win by at least two, but the line turned out to reflect the match up quite well…something the more savvy noticed. The horridly imbalanced book meant that nearly another couple hundred was riding on the French. Day Two and the little professor’s quaint little notion to write another Sportsbook would have me over $300 in the hole. Not exactly the tale of woe you’re likely to hear at a N.A. Meeting, but enough to make me wonder if I should immediately cease writing, citing the excuse that my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer or something.

The French came out fighting; stringing together grotesquely clever passing sequences that made the English seem like sedated munchkins. They ran circles around them, eventually begetting some gorgeous efforts that came within millimeters of finding the net. Zidane launched a set piece from 40 meters that shaved the woodwork. Patrick Viera directed a header inches wide and a misdirected cross from Pires slammed off the crossbar. Another Zidane effort hit the side netting. A glancing header from Trezeguet ended up in the overhead netting. The entire first half went like this. I rose to my feet only to drop to my knees. Les Bleus dominated possession, but finished as if they had Whisky Dick. Shortly before halftime the Three Lions were awarded a bullshit free kick after an innocent 50-50 challenge. Beckham curled in the cross and Lampard timed his leap perfectly. France never could compete aerially. 1-0 England. Oh fuck. No cigarettes. Four pieces of nicotine gum make a metallic tasting wad that’s relaxingly gag-inducing

Thierry Henry sprinted out of the tunnel, onto the pitch, and straight for goal. A through ball from Makelele left him alone in front of David James. He fired directly into the keeper’s chest and the pace of the ball placed the rebound directly on Henry’s foot. He again directed an effort at James, who still couldn’t control it. For his third chance in three seconds, Henry laced the second rebound out for a goal kick. Wonderful. England owned the next half hour or so. In the 70th minute David Silvestre tripped Wayne Rooney in the box and a penalty was awarded. Time to start crying. England would surely go up 2-0. French keeper Fabien Barthez was all of five feet, six inches tall. Beating him from eleven meters away would be as easy as pushing an unattended baby stroller down a hill after one pilfered all the candy from said baby. All Beckham had to do was aim for the Top Corner. Barthez was a midget at a urinal. Beckham kept it low and Barthez dove to reach the ball with his fingertips. Minutes later, Barthez flailed for a long-range Darius Vessel effort, stopping the crushed ball with his face.

Clownish heroics aside, it was now 90th minute and England led 1-0. Life was shit. Dead cat, dead plants, all alone in a dingy apartment about to go nearly $400 in the red. The referee signaled to the fourth official for four minutes of injury time. No matter. I headed into the kitchen to grab a half-empty bottle of whisky and a calculator. Booming cacophonous jubilation from the television set. “Zidane with a real cracker!”. I sat back down on the couch and opened up the book. Apparently Zidane had bent in a true beauty at the beginning of the 92nd minute to secure the draw. No matter. My line read “France +1”. A tie did me no good. I took a short pull from the bottle and took a longer moment to fight the battle of the miniscule stomach and juvenile esophagus. I stared intently at the half-empty bottle. “Half-Empty,” I thought, catching the subjectivity of the observation.

“Oh Gerard’s lost sight of it. Henry has it. James out to challenge. Henry…HENRY....oh the referee’s pointed to the spot. It’s a penalty. PENALTY!”  In the 93rd minute, James’s reckless challenge on Henry necessitated a penalty. Zidane took it coolly from the spot. France 2 England 1. Zidane has scored twice in the last two minutes of the match. My line was a wash. No further losses were incurred and that bottle…..(sniff)…that bottle….(fighting back tears)…THAT BOTTLE WAS HALF-FULL!!

Fantastic finishes are common in just about every sport. There are photo-finish NASCAR races, there are walk off home runs, there are last second touchdowns, and improbable comebacks in everything from Women’s Lacrosse to Male Gymnastics. The question I pose to you is are entire countries on edge when Eli Manning drops back to pass, the Columbus Blue Jackets notch that last minute goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during a meaningless regular season game, or the Kobe finally hits that buzzer beater after eighteen minutes of car insurance commercials? This is what makes International Football so special. Much like the Olympics, the big international tournaments take place once every four years. Unlike the Olympics, it requires no tape delay or soft-focus soap opera pieces. So many more of these stories to come. American Football’s staunchest proponents have yet to convince me that their sport spawns anywhere close to something similar. Note to you self-righteous loudmouths: The fact that you felt really cool in your American Football pads just a’int good enough. You’ll have to do better.


Denmark vs. Italy


Totti and Del Piero may meet their match in the form of Aston Villa’s Thomas Sorensen, a gangly-legged fortress minding the Danish net. Few pester the Danes under his aegis. Wop-in-chief Giovanni Trappatoni’s attacking options amount to an embarrassment of riches. Cameronesi, Totti, Vieri, Del Piero, and Di Vaio are all strikers who have also garnered extensive experience as supporting midfield players. Faced with seemingly infinite permutations, Totti may occupy the lone striker spot while Vieri and Del Piero drop back on the wings. Viera and Del Piero might form a striking tandem with Totti and Cameronesi backing them up as phalanx midfielders. The rabid speculation over the final formation appears to be little more than journalistic window dressing, Advantage Wops, whatever permutation they finally opt for. 

Sorensen’s natural athletic prowess, however, prevents one from auguring a complete runaway. Besides that, the Azzuri tend to cautiously cheat their way to a narrow, ugly win in lieu of actually using their talent. Italians will only apply themselves when all other work-related options have been exhausted. Look at Berlusconi’s recent stewardship over the rotating EU presidency. He traveled to Brussels once to accuse the German delegation of being Nazis, then proceeded to spend another five and a half months on his Yacht working on the bronze. Despite their formidable surplus of talent, the Wops will flop, eking out an unconvincing victory with a late goal and a homoerotic Roman-Orgy-like celebration. Trappatoni’s lineup selection matters far less that whether the team possesses an ample supply of lube. 

THE LINE: Italy +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Italy 0, Denmark 0. And just like that, we were back in the black. J J Sorenson turned in a fine performance indeed. The commentary on Berlusconi came long before news of the “Bunga Bunga” Bashes and the philandering with “Ruby Heartstealer” broke. The primary subject of empathy in this whole fiasco remains Romano Prodi, a soft-spoken technocratic EU bureaucrat whose hobbies included reading policy briefs and jogging. Expend some empathy for wonkish translator and former Rome Mayor Walter Verltroni as well. Their pragmatism came too early to reap the benefits from Berlusconi’s inevitable forced ouster. Monti owes them a piece of ass or two.

Sweden vs. Bulgaria


Pitting the frightening efficiency of Northern Scandinavia against the primitive broken corruption of Eastern Europe does not bode well on a cultural level. A culture of scarcity and prudent planning versus a civilization of gluttony and pervasive mafiaosism? Give us a fucking break! The Swedes have Henrik Larsson and Freddie Ljunberg. The Bulgarians are comprised of garbage marked “return to sender” by both Greece and the surrounding Slavic countries. Strap in for a brutal ride. In this re-match of the 1994 Third Place match, I expect a similar result.

THE LINE: Sweden +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Sweden 5, Bulgaria 0. Larsson captured a brace and the rout was on. Ljunberg, Ibrahimovic and Allbäck also tallied. Larsson would continue his gallant service for his beloved homeland until the improbable age of 36. This will be remembered as the game that current Swedish Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally caught fire. Now pushing 30, the authoritative tower with a curiously soft touch has played for virtually every club in Europe and is now set to strike fear in the hearts of all other Euro 2012 nations I find myself unable to exhale until someone in Serie A snaps his shins. 


Czech Republic vs. Latvia


Welcome to the show, my beloved ex-Prussians! As a reward you’ll face the side that has become the fashionable pick to advance out of this group together with the Germans. Keep an eye on Liverpool Striker Milan Barros, who should have a field day wearing down this defensive unit of nobodies. Juventus midfielder, master improviser, and team captain Pavel Nedved will control the pace of the game from his flexible central spot. Hulking forward Jan Koller can win most any aerial challenge and out-muscle for any ball swung into the box. Keeper Peter Cech is the toast of Ligue 1 and will run a tight ship at the other end, assuming the Baltic Bottom Dogs even make it that far.  

THE LINE: Czech Republic +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Czech Republic 2, Latvia 1. Gritty execution from the “Baltic Bottom Dogs”, but an outstanding coaching job from Karl Brückner. After an evening of inexplicable and unforgivable failed conversions, Barros finally came through around the 70th minute. The tactical substitution of an extra midfielder at the half proven essential in abrading a weary and worn-out Latvian back line. Substitute Marek Heinz also volleyed in the decisive goal. Once again the Czechs bravely swung it for all of to see..much like Mirek Toplanek did at Berlusconi’s “Bunga Bunga” party J Man do I ever need to retire that joke. Fair enough. In honor of the recently deceased Vaclav Havel, I’ll wrap things up with something tamer. As hard as I might try, I still cannot remember what Peter Cech looked like before he started wearing that skullcap.

Deutschland vs. Netherlands


Match day in the Vaterland and the sun will shine upon every last cobblestone square. Millions of disheveled Krauts will spring forth from their cramped domiciles to bear witness to their team in smoke-filled pubs, around tackily lit Biergartens, and on huge projectors in front of their respective town halls. Don’t let us down, Jungs! An enervated and disheartened nation watches with bated breath. Who shall be our hero this time? As spectacular as Miroslav Klose was back in 2002, he has for the time being forfeited his starting role to Kevin Kuranyi. Also elevated to the premier eleven are Torsten Frings and Phillip Lahm. Voeller hints that we’ll probably see the Wunderkind Schweinsteiger later in the second half. Who will be the next immortal?

We’re going to send your sorry butts back to Beatrix. We are the true Huns! Kleivert and Van Nistelroy may be superstars, but thanks your inexperienced midfield, they’ll see nary a quality chance. Kuranyi and Ballack. Klose and Schweinsteiger after the game’s decided. Blüh, deutsches Vaterland!

THE LINE: Deutschland +2 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Germany 1, Netherlands 1. Hahaha. Only two measly paragraphs on the Vaterland? After fifteen some odd pages I recall being so exhausted that I was partially convinced there were no more words in the English language. This fiercely contested match didn’t turn out quite as I anticipated. Here’s why: The “inexperienced” Dutch midfield duo of Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Schneijder turned out not to be so green after all. Schneider was dropped at the last minute and Van der Vaart ran with such sparkling pace that he collected a Bundesliga contract after the tournament. The Krauts created no serious offensive threats through the entire first half, scoring only on a flukish free kick from Frings that plainly curled in by accident. With the ball trapped in the midfield for much of the duration, the Mannschaft seemed content to sink into complacency. Wesley Schneijder and Marc Overmars comprised the second half adjustments and they were positively radiant. Schneijder rattled Kahn with a blistering strike and it was Overmars who put him flat on his ass in the 81st minute, when a patrolling Rud van Nistelroy merely had to tip in the generously allocated rebound. Disappointment was tempered by flashes of brilliance from Kuranyi and Schweinsteiger. The general mood was one of quiet enthusiasm. If only we knew what horrors history had in store for us. LL


To all friends old and new I propose we wrap the first round up with some dispatches from South Louisiana. Vacating the house can be bothersome when one has a PS2. After an intensive lobbying campaign some old friends goaded me into going tubing down a Mississippi Creek known as the Bogue Chitta. Who could refuse such a relaxing excursion? How tranquil it was to float down a gentle stream with a beer in hand…all five minutes of it. I had barely cracked the can open before some Mississippi State Troopers emerged from the woods, pulled us over to the river bank, confiscated the beer, charged us all with possession of alcohol in a dry county (it was Sunday) and slapped on a hefty fine on me for contributing to the delinquency of minors (since I was 21 I obviously bought the beer). Sigh Rotten luck for an introverted bookworm who spent yet another entire semester living in the library. For once one decides to be socially spontaneous and you run across some fascists within hours of setting foot out into the sunshine LL I’ll refrain from any sugarcoating mendacity. Things could stand to be a great deal rosier. The recondite rhythm of college is as stimulating and satisfying as ever. Beyond the cheap thrill of walling oneself up in Middleton and obtaining knowledge for its own sake, the connected world appears damn desolate. Ever walk up to a girl in a bar and have her shriek “Get away from me now, you loser!” before you even open your mouth? Just wondering what you could have possibly done wrong sends the mind spinning. Oh well. No cause to complain. Solitude brings with it a set of very favorable characteristics. You can cannibalize text like one of those hyperactive modern zombies from the pictures. The monetary savings of ingesting glorious gourmet concoctions like “Ramen + Butter” and “Mayonnaise + Salt” are quite beneficial. You’d be amazed at what nutritional necessities you’ll blissfully swallow when no one is looking. Lastly and most importantly, no need to worry about whether or not anyone got your jokes. I submit as Exhibit V this e-mail. I sincerely hope you’re all doing well and look forward to news of your endeavors, your triumphs, and naturally your unequivocally triumphant endeavors.  J 

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Party’s over, piggies. I wish to augment my list of fascist law enforcement behaviors:

1) Jaywalking Tickets – Really appreciate the three of these I’ve gotten in my life. Protect and serve your pocketbooks you chickenshit motherfuckers.

2) Underage Drinking Tickets – So the twenty year old knocks back a brew at a university tailgate and your job is to ruin his Saturday afternoon. How the fuck do you sleep at night?

3) Cigarette Cherry Littering Infractions – The asshole who hurls his Styrofoam fried chicken box out of his car is a pig. The guy who squinches out the biodegradable cherry of his cigarette and places the butt in his pocket is not a pig. You are a pig, a fucking greased, shit-eating, truffle-sensing lardass.

We could go further, but I’ve already wasted enough time of my time on your incompetent, totally imbecilic attempts to staunch your own tide of boredom by fucking with ordinary people just because you can. I actually have something worthwhile to convey to the ordinary people, the ones who cannot simply deflect tedium and loneliness by being pricks to others. To anyone out there struggling with a bout of loneliness, as clichéd as it may sound, I remind you that you will win. Everything will be all right. The torment won’t last forever. Every minute you spend under it is one minute you’re closer to relief. Everything will be all right. Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that. Everything will be all right, dude. Trust your friendly bookie. Everything will be all right.