Normally it doesn't matter to me if two bands of over-paid primates kick an inflated pig's bladder around a muddy field. I just don't care. As long as they don't do it near me, I can live with that. (You can put this hate on football down to my having grown up Jewish in Leeds in the 1970s. Enough said.)
However, we're now into World Cup season. And I am in full-on Grinch mode, and I assure you that when I become Planetary Supreme Overlord all team sports involving goals and spheroids will be banned forthwith (except for elephant polo on ice skates, which oughta be fun, as long as the elephants give their informed consent beforehand).
Let me enumerate the ways the world cup has pissed me off so far ...
* World cup coverage has totally saturated BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. The kitchen radio is now officially Dead To Me. (If I had a gun I'd take the radio out round the back of the outhouse for the coup de grace, if I had an outhouse.)
* The world cup has hijacked the front page of Reddit (well, not as much as the BBC, but some sub-reddits are crawling with it, and I'm not talking about /r/soccer here).
* It's also hijacked the front page of my preferred newspaper. All the newspapers. (One wasn't enough, apparently. Why couldn't they just rename The Sun to World Cup Daily and leave the rest of us alone?) No, seriously: it's pushed a major military/political crisis in the Middle East—one so barkingly mad that the United States and Iran are actually talking about taking joint military action as allies—down below the fold. We are living through the run-up to the apocalypse, a death cult named after an Egyptian love-goddess is invading Iraq, lions and sheep are discussing engagement rings, but—GOAAAAAL!
* Random people in pubs who would normally be completely happy to make drunken small-talk about the weather expect us to give a shit. This being Scotland, we're expected to root for whoever are playing against England. (And you wondered where the roots of the Scottish independence movement lay.) Looks of blank incomprehension are met with sullen disbelief and a conviction that I really, must, somewhere, somehow, give a shit about the world cup. Not being football-mad is somehow seen as unpatriotic. Next they'll be convening a tribunal in Holyrood and asking questions like, "when did you last see your father [score]?"
* And speaking of pubs, the pub on the opposite side of the road from my bedroom window WHICH IS OPEN BECAUSE I NEED THE AIR CIRCULATION IN THIS GHASTLY EDINBURGH HEAT WAVE (it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon and the cruel burning daystar has been sighted near the zenith) has got the world cup on wall-to-wall wide-screen TV. The resulting mob of ball-deranged drinkers are consequently led to spill out onto the pavement where they set fire their vile stenchsticks and bloviate about goals and penalties at maximum volume, while propping the pub door open so that every goal causes loud cheering at sleep-o'clock.
This cartoon seems to sum it all up, frankly. Where will it all end? Oh, the humanity!