I have a photographic memory, but my subconscious is well versed in Photoshop.
My earliest Cubs memory is staring at the screen and wondering why the Cubs had a player named Ivun DeJeezuss.
My next earliest Cubs memory was my mom telling me that Jimmy Piersall and Harry Caray were the worst broadcasting tandem she’d ever heard.
She found Harry Caray and Steve Stone much more tolerable.
It took a long time for me to watch the WGN Sports intro sequence without feeling pangs of disappointment that it would prevent me from watching Underdog.
Video production graphics in the mid-’80s were awesome. I can’t find an image of the one that flashed ZONK spelled out in asterisks while Keith Moreland touched ’em all, but I know what I saw.
My first visit to Wrigley Field was August 3, 1982. I remember almost nothing from the game except what was told to me as the game transpired. It took me the first six innings just to be sure where the infield was. They were not the best seats, and I was a very short seven year old. I just know that Larry Bowa lined into a triple play, Dave Kingman hit a fly ball to left that could have hit an airplane, and the Cubs beat the Mets 5-0.
1983 was completely forgettable.
1984 ruined me. It did. It pretty much determined the person I would be for the rest of my life, and the entire thing was built on lies, culminating in the 4th grade open house folder I made with the Chicago Cubs 1984 NL Champions logo I drew on its blue construction-paper body.
Game 5 turned me into a veritable puddle of tears, hiding under my otherwise rocking tiger comforter and Return of the Jedi sheets on the bottom bunk; not even all those layers of awesomeness could keep out the sadness.
Not even that infinite melancholy could keep me from clinging to hope in 1985, a season that turned to be nothing but a series of repeated scissor-jabs to the eyes.
Every year after has taught me two things: A) Hope springs eternal; B) Hope is an insolent slut.
In 1989 a fit of vindictive madness prompted me to predict an earthquake would interrupt the World Series, and I’ve carried that guilt with me ever since.
The stretch from 1990 to 1998 was a lesson in gullibility and stupid expectations. High school and college were wrapped up in there, too, but those were just minor branches off my primary field of doctorate-level idiocy.
In 1998 I got married and planned my wedding date, October 24, around the day I figured the Cubs would win it all. I blame my sister, who got married two years prior in New York on the night the Yankees finished off the Braves to end their World Series drought.
My wife loves the fall, and our wedding day wasn’t marred with even a shred of disappointment.
My oldest son was born in 2003 into a world in which the Cubs win playoff series.
My next son was born in 2007, and again the Cubs made the playoffs. These kids have no idea of the chronic torture their futures hold.
I keep thinking each year that maybe the Cubs will win the World Series. If you could ask the one completely honest brain cell in my head what I really believed, it would tell you I still expect them to win this year. The remaining cells, prone to lending out misleading information as they may be, would respond in all honesty that I just don’t learn.
If and when the Cubs do win it all, it will teach me and my children a horrible lesson: being incredibly naive and stubbornly stupid (a blend I like to call stupidité) pays off in the end.
I really hope it does.