It’s been days since the Dallas Cowboys lost a 34-31 heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoff game. Dream season? Dead. Hearts? Broken.

A bunch of fans and I are still reeling.

Maybe a grief counselor can help. I call one for advice.


“People who experience depression due to their favorite sports team losing a game,” the counselor begins, “should never resort to the excessive intake of alcohol or the consumption of …”


I hang up, having obviously called the wrong person for a problem of this magnitude.

I google “what to do when feeling sad?” The first item that pops up tells me to “go out for happy hour with a friend.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. But seeing that it’s still morning, I’ve got a few hours of pain to kill before swallowing massive amounts of cheap drink specials. The next item is wikiHow’s “Four Ways to Get Happy When You Are Sad.” I would be content with one way. Don’t want to be overly happy at a time like this, with the sudden and tragic death of our Super Bowl quest.

Way No. 1 is to “write down your feelings.”

Damn. I hate writing. And feelings.

Oh, well. Here goes: “Dear pretend diary, I’m sad.”

That didn’t help. Maybe I should go deeper.

“Dear pretend diary, it’s me again. The disappointment is overwhelming. This season was magical. The games were a blast, week after week, for four months. The Cowboys felt destined. Funny thing, I woke up last Sunday morning and turned on the TV and heard it reported that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is closing its tent flaps for good after 146 years. I loved that circus when I was a kid. Saw it at Will Rogers Coliseum several times. But do you know the first thought to cross my mind? The Dallas Cowboys are the Greatest Show on Earth. We’d beaten the Packers once this year, fairly easily. Our next foe would have been the Atlanta Falcons, an average team made to appear skillful by playing in a lightweight conference. And then it was on to the Super Bowl for a resurrection, a return to glory for the team with the blue star on its helmets. Instead, the Cowboys get put in a 21-3 hole early in the second quarter, thanks to stupid penalties and bonehead plays …”

I’m feeling sadder than before.

Google says another way to feel better is to “have a good cry.”

I should be feeling great. I’ve been crying for days.

Next suggestion: “Exercise.”

This is getting ridiculous. I’m going back to the first suggestion. Happy hour, here I come.

“Dear fake diary, you sumbitch. Been sitting here drinking at happy hour for three freaking hours and still feel lower than quail shit in a wagon rut. I just can’t believe …” yes, bring me another double “… I can’t believe those referees sucked so bad. They called unsportsmanlike conduct on Brice What’s-his-face for being in the huddle, and it killed that second drive. The bartender tells me that players do that all the time in games, all season long, going into huddles and then running off the field before the play. But the refs never call it! You ever seen a ref call that penalty in any game you ever saw?!”

Writing down my feelings isn’t working. But. Strange. I’m beginning to get a warm feeling in my belly. My head feels light. The music on the jukebox is sounding really good. I wonder if a band is playing tonight. I saw Movie the Band the other night at Lola’s Saloon, and they rocked. I’d like to hear that band again. Hell, I can’t blame the Cowboys. They tried. And winning the Super Bowl, beating out 31 other teams despite injuries and various dramas over the course of a season is about as easy as diving off the high board into a milk bottle. One more drink, and then I’m hitting Whataburger. Hey, look, a cute puppy on the TV screen. A little black fur ball. Looks like my first dog. Pepper was her name. I haven’t thought of her in a million years. She was a great dog. Smart. Learned how to shake and sit in an hour. I eventually had her balancing bones on her nose. My parents encouraged me to enter her into a dog contest. Sure enough, Pepper won first prize. She won several shows that year and qualified for the finals. Dog show experts were picking her to win the nationals until she got run over by a freaking truck with Wisconsin license plates.