Stockholm Syndrome

“Anyone who hasn’t enjoyed watching Arsenal in the last few years, especially at home, can’t really like football much.” – Nick Hornby, 2009.

Bloody hell. Napoli, City, Chelsea then West Ham. Only 20 minutes of those last 6 plus hours weren’t miserable. I thought football was supposed to be enjoyable, was supposed to make me happy, not pissed off and pissy. That’s why we watch football, isn’t it? Because it’s fun. Otherwise we’d just stop watching it, wouldn’t we? Apparently not.

I no more felt like writing a blog than, you know, something or other. Then you pour a couple of sherries into me and I can’t keep it all in.

So what is wrong with me? That’s what this blog is about. Not because I wrote a blog. I mean, because I’m this obsessive Gooner. What THE FUCK is wrong with me? And for that matter, what the fuck is wrong with you? You’re probably worse than me. And that guy over there. Really, what the fuck is wrong with him? He’s truly screwed, the poor bastard.

But that’s enough about you guys. Let’s bring this back to me. So there I am in work during the Chelsea match on what is quite literally the biggest deal of my career. Not joking here. What’s my job? I sell shit: software and services. And I get paid commission on what I sell. The deal I’m working on is literally a game-changer – for me and for my company. And where does my mind keep wandering off to as we attempt to land this mega-deal at the last minute of the sales year? Why, Arsenal vs Chelsea, of course. Where else? And what’s more, I manage to catch about 60 of the 90 minutes in the gaps while we are all working on THE DEAL. So, I ask you…what the fuck is wrong with me? And for that matter, what the fuck is wrong with you? What is this illness, this addiction? Shouldn’t you be breast-feeding your hungry baby? And how dare you sell your Grandad’s oxygen cylinder for beer money down the Tolly. Grandad’s going to need that when his heart’s ready to give out on him at 3 in the morning. Priorities, mate.

It’s not right I tell you. It’s out of all proportion. It’s a form of temporary insanity of the permanent variety that we suffer from. Worse still, it may be inoperable and incurable.

Yet, who am I to lecture you? I piss away the cost of several season tickets every year, trying to catch my Arsenal when I really need to be selling shit to people. I could always watch the recording later. But as I mentioned above, I’m insane, and that would be rational, so I don’t do that.

And the real tragedy of this illness, it takes them at such a young age.

We love analogies, us bloggy/twitty types. We have completely worn out the girlfriend analogy – every player that breaks your heart, every time your club shits on you. Just like a woman. Or a man, I’d imagine. Maybe even more like a man, in fact. Which they all are, after all. Men, they’re bastards. I’d imagine.

Well, no girlfriend analogies for me. Nope. That wouldn’t hit the spot here. Nope, I’m going with Stockholm Syndrome for my analogy du jour.

There I am, an innocent 8 year old boy minding my own business, when a middle-aged Belgian man (they’re always Belgian) pulled up by the pavement and asked me if I’d like to help his kitten with an injured paw. He showed me around the back of his van and as soon as I popped my head in the back to have a look, he shoved me from behind, tied me up and kept me in his basement for the next 42 years and counting. Only it wasn’t a middle-aged Belgian dude. It was actually Charlie George, George Graham, George Armstrong, Pat Rice and Bob Wilson who pushed me in the back of that van in 1971 with the promise of Kittenware. And every decade or so they’d promise me a bit more Kittenware. And I kept falling for it. Sure, in between I’m routinely sodomized by them for year upon year. But somewhere along the line I started to identify with my captors, to empathize with them, apparently for the sake of my own survival. Stockholm Syndrome. It’s a mother. Even though I know I could have escaped countless times over the decades, here I am still locked away in Arsenal’s basement. And to be fair, as captors go, they’re not too shabby. They’re quite nice really. And…they’ve said they are working on getting a new kitten. And heaven knows, I’m a sucker for a kitten.


Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome characterizes a psychological response that can be observed seen in a victim, in which the victim shows signs of sympathy, loyalty, or even voluntary compliance with the victimizer, regardless of the risk in which the victim has been placed. The syndrome is most often discussed in the context of hostage abduction, but has also been described in relationship to rape, and spousal and child abuse. It can be understood as a severe form of reaction formation that takes place under enormous physiologic and emotional stress.

Stockholm syndrome is named after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. The bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973 and the hostages became emotionally attached to their hostage-takers. They even defended their captors after they were freed, refusing to testify against them.

A famous example of Stockholm syndrome is Patty Hearst. She was a millionaire’s daughter who was kidnapped in 1974 and later took part in a robbery organized by her and her kidnapper.

As in all cases of severe trauma, psychotherapeutic and supportive approaches should be used, and comorbid conditions should be identified and managed as appropriate.

Okay. I see some holes in my analogy. But I’m not going back to any stupid worn-out girlfriend analogies to describe being a Gooner. Nope. I’m sticking with exotic mental illnesses. Next up…Munchausen By Proxy.

And if that doesn’t cut it, there’s always Stendhal Syndrome.

Or damn it, we can just coin our own illness. Goonerhoeia. Horrible! It can strike anyone, worldwide, at any time, any age, any gender and it is characterized by all the symptoms already mentioned above PLUS a nasty oozing rash on your loins. Though that could have been that auld slapper I banged after the Everton match, because my club made me miserable.

Any way you slice it, we’re fucked. I’m fucked, you’re fucked, and him over there, he’s fucked. And yer Grandad’s truly fucked.