Obsessive Distraction

I’ve been meaning to get stuff done this last week (including a NaPP post or two). But I am a college football fan with obsessive tendencies. And college sports realignment seems to touch on everything: Sports, conceptual organization, business, relationships, and psychology. It’s nearly impossible for me not to get swept up.

What’s particularly frustrating about it is that while I know more about everything that’s going on than 90% of fandom, it’s done me a fat lot of good. Because things just keep changing from one day to the next. And there’s a dearth of overall information out there. But most importantly, because knowing doesn’t do me any amount of good because there’s nothing I can do about any of it. Yet I watch it. I think about it. I worry about it.

My wife Clancy wanted to be a meteorologist, at one point. During hurricane season, she will sometimes get swept up in watching the hurricane formations. She keeps an eagle eye on those headed towards Florida and the Gulf Coast and worries about whether they might hit, whether they will lighten up before they do hit, and the damage they might do. I tell her that this sort of thing happens every year (“this sort of thing” being hurricanes gathering steam and possibly hitting the gulf coast), though I have to confess her obsessive distractions are more substantive than mine. If realignment ruins college football for me, I’ve lost an entertainment outlet and we’ve saved a ton of money on cable. If a hurricane hits my hometown or hers, it matters on a more concrete level.

As I have alluded to here and there, we are not in an entirely happy situation where we are living now. I think our respective obsessions are not unrelated to that. Worrying about the greater things that we cannot change is oddly less stressful than worrying about the personal things that we (presently) cannot change.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. This is true. Sometimes when I have to call a client with bad news, I find myself thinking “but first, I really need to resort my books.”

  2. I’m susceptible to the same sort of thing myself. I think it’s hardwired into human nature. Why that should be is a difficult question — perhaps it has to do with assuming a role of victimhood; it projects one’s unhappiness on these greater causes and thereby transfers blame to an ephemeral ‘other’ rather than on to oneself (or onto specific other individuals who would then have to be identified as enemies).

Comments are closed.