Pathetic Fallacy

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Things aren’t going too well for my beloved Toronto Blue Jays.

Despite starry-eyed promises of a playoff berth owing to some off-season big-name trades, the team has floundered this season. After 99 games, the team is 45-54, and is looking like a lock to get swept by the red-hot Dodgers (first pitch is happening as I write this).

My mysterious loyalty to this baseball franchise has continued unabated; I’m disappointed, but I feel a strange kinship to these talented but hapless young men.

While some hot-heads write them off as layabout millionaires, I can’t help but see myself in their fortunes. It’s a kind of sportsball-y pathetic fallacy — a literary tool that ascribes a person’s well-being to the state of the natural world.

Clearly, the misfortunes of the Toronto Blue Jays has no bearing on my life. Whether they win or lose depends on all the vagaries of baseball, and their record has vanishingly little to do with my day-to-day affairs. All the same, we seem to have a lot in common right now.

For reasons that would be unprofessional to comment upon, I’m currently suffering a rough patch in my career. Despite my hard-won skills, I’ve so far failed to meet my own goals, and I’m struggling a bit to make ends meet.

Like Jose Reyes just now, drawing a leadoff walk and then getting picked off with too much of a lead at first, I’m feeling like my every achievement ends in irrelevance. There’s always something better out there, someone who’s done better, achieved more, executed with greater success.

Dark thoughts. I’ll bet that’s a huge part of the Jays’ misfortunes these days. It sure does seem like part of mine.

That’s why we both have to give our collective heads a shake. Not every team the Jays face will be the red-hot, unbeatable LA Dodgers. Not every thought in my head will have been already better-thought, better-executed and better-received by Bret Victor, or Mattt Thompson, or Cabel Sasser, or any of the dozens of other amazing folks I follow on Twitter.

We both have to keep swinging our real and metaphorical bats. We both have to stay out there and keep at it until we start winning.