Cowbells at the Pearly Gate and Is Hell Frozen Solid?

I, like most other normal people, have always gotten a kick out of the lunatic fringe who march up and down the street carrying signs with sayings like “The End is Near”, or some other such nonsense. We don’t have people who do that in Lucedale, or not that I’ve ever been aware of, but we are not without a few kooks of our own. Ours just don’t carry signs. Luckily, in a small town like ours they don’t need signs to be identified. You just know who they are and act accordingly.

Where I have seen them in droves is in Washington DC. I’ve only been there a handful of times but that place is apparently a magnet for nutcases. Unfortunately some of them are elected by their districts and sent there. I have gotten the distinct impression on several occasions that some members of Congress are banished to Washington for the sole purpose of getting them out of their district’s collective hair. It goes a long way toward explaining the state of affairs we currently enjoy.

But now, despite all my previous ridicule, I feel compelled to join the ranks of the aluminum foil-hat set, for something truly extraordinary has happened. My beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the AP and Coaches Polls. I have been a State fan for more than 35 years and have, most years, yearned not for excellence but for upper mediocrity. I have endured embarrassing loses to teams we should’ve beaten by three touchdowns. Maybe even worse, I have seen defeat snatched from the jaws of victory against teams I hate to lose to, namely LSU and Ole Miss. Losses like that, when we all but had the game won, leave a bad taste in the mouth for weeks. 

There are a couple of semi-possible explanations for what has happened thus far. Jack Cristil, the man who was the voice of the Bulldogs athletic program for nearly 60 years, passed away recently. Evidently he was not issued a harp at The Gate but a golden cowbell, and God likes the sound of it. Maybe the clanging is a welcome change around the place, an acoustic rough edge to make the smooth ones seem better, I don’t know.

Maybe we all passed through the looking glass and are in Alice’s wonderland, because not only is Mississippi State ranked number one, the Black Bears of Ole Miss are 3rd – and probably deserve to be No. 2. Any way you figure it, this is about as unlikely a situation as winning the lottery and capturing a yeti on the same day. Personally, I don’t think hell has frozen over, I think it has frozen solid. I realize mid-season polls count for little or nothing, but when all you’ve ever had is potted meat and somebody gives you filet Mignon you have a profound appreciation for the upgrade. Even more so when you realize you could very well be back to eating Vienna Sausages in a week or two.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who has been a State fan for most of his life too, and he said it best. He said that we’ve learned the hard way how to be gracious losers, hopefully we’ll be gracious winner now. If I were you, just to be on the safe side, I’d make sure all my affairs were in order. You never know, the fringe elements might finally be right this time. If they are I just hope Saint Peter gives me a cowbell too.

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