Learning a happy sort of hate
The old proverb slipped out of my mouth Friday night before I could stop it, as Spike and Jerry ganged up on Tom during a marathon cartoon session: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," I said.
"Now, that just doesn't make sense," Big Guy declared evenly. "How can your enemy be your friend?"
"Well, look at what's going on. The dog doesn't like that cat. The mouse doesn't like the cat. They're working together to gang up on the cat and beat him," I said.
Big Guy nodded knowingly. "Oh, I see! Like if another driver was trying to beat The Evil One, I should root for that driver because I don't like The Evil One," he said.
Three days later, though, everything was muddled again as both drivers whom Big Guy refers to as The Evil One battled late in the race at Auto Club Speedway. Big Guy's driver, Ryan Newman, was hanging onto a hope, but barely. With less than a handful of laps left, he fell back to fifth and Big Guy began to debate whom he wanted to see win the race.
It looked like it was going to come down to Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson - neither of whom Big Guy likes.
Left to his own devices, Big Guy would tolerate Busch. Because his grandmother hates Busch - she's not alone - Big Guy felt compelled to follow along. In a weak moment, though, he'll admit that he thinks Busch's M&M car is cute. Oh, the irony for a kid who can't eat M&Ms due to his peanut allergy. And he says he "likes the way Busch looks," which is kind of funny considering that Busch is not exactly the fairest face in Sprint Cup. On the other hand, he married a fairly hot actress last winter, so what do I know?
On the subject of Johnson, though, Big Guy has never wavered. He hates Johnson because he wins. A lot. "Except I don't really hate him," Big Guy will say. "I don't know him, so I can't hate him as a person. It's OK to hate him as a driver, though, isn't it, Momma?"
How could the person who so despised a baseball team during the 70s that she used only black ink because she didn't want to see anything close to Dodger blue possibly say "no"?
Sunday, it came down to two hated drivers.
"What are you going to do?" I asked Big Guy. "Who do you want to win?"
"I don't like Kyle Busch, but I hate Johnson even more. I guess I'll have to cheer for Busch," he said, clearly not happy about the choices. "I wish there were someone else."
And suddenly, there was. Kevin Harvick, the driver he'd disliked just a few laps earlier because he'd had the nerve to pass Newman. Harvick, who gained on Johnson on the back straightaway on last lap. Harvick, who closed in on Turn 3 and took Johnson on Turn 4.
"Is it going to be a tie, Momma?" asked Big Guy, who would have been on the edge of his seat if he hadn't been standing for the final 10 laps.
No. Harvick won with less than a football field to spare.
"YES! The Evil One didn't win!" Big Guy shouted.
That's when it occurred to us that we were calling two drivers The Evil One. Maybe we need new names, I suggested during the long walk back to the car, past the man holding the "Kyle Busch is still an a** sign."
"Why does he think that, Momma? What did Kyle Busch do wrong?"
I noticed that he'd been calling me "Momma," which he rarely does. That meant he was ready to listen.
"It's not so much what he does as what he says," I replied. "He has a big mouth. And he likes to get into it with other drivers."
"That does sound so bad. A little brattish, though."
"Maybe you could call him The Brat."
"Oooooh. I like that! What about the other one?"
I noticed his Harry Potter-esque avoidance of the name. "How about 'He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned'?" I suggested.
"You mean like Voldemort? Ooooh! I like that, too. Because they're both pure evil."
I'm glad that's settled early in the season. There are 31 races left - that's way too many weekends to wonder who Big Guy's talking about when he refers to The Evil One.
Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.