By Charles Towne
The origin of football
Good title, don’t you think? Why men are the way they are? It’s not so much a question as a conundrum. And don’t expect me to supply the answer; I am part of the problem, not the solution.
If we are going to try to understand men we need to travel back, way back, way-way back, to a more primitive time. Back to that time when men survived, not so much by their wits or their stamina, as by stupid mistakes that turned out all right. That’s right my friend, men were not much different then as they are today.
Back in those dim annals of man’s history men were known simply as, ‘men’.
The word “men” was used all-inclusively, not only to refer to men in the plural sense but, if you had a single man he was still called “men.” As you might imagine the result was somewhat confusing.
The chief asked for men to go forth and destroy the ferocious, evil, snaggle-toothed man-eating sparrow that had been eating all of the villagers, and guess what? A single, and not very bright “men” showed up.
And by the way, that village was eventually completely wiped out by a gaggle of ferocious, evil, man-eating, snaggle-toothed sparrows. The elimination of this village did not harm the human gene pool in any way.
In actuality, the word, ‘men’ was originally taken from the root word, “me.”
The primitive creature that he was, that original man ran around with a dumb look on his face, pounding on his chest and shouting, “ME!” At the top of his lungs. Again, as is very evident, men have not changed all that much.
Sad as it may seem, a ferocious, evil, snaggle-toothed, man-eating sparrow heard him shouting, “ME!” at the top of his lungs and ate him, but not before his wife got tired of ME and clouted him mightily right in the middle of a particularly offensive “ME!”
Said blow caused his jaws to slam shut resulting in him uttering that last “Me” as, “Me’nnnn!” Those primitive people upon beholding this smiting by Me’s wife applauded and shouted with great joy for they knew that an apocalyptic event had taken place. Never again would man be known as Me, his day had arrived, he was now “me’nnnn!”
Eventually, this was shortened to mennn, then to menn, and years later, to men, and finally to man, where it remains to this day.
If only the rest of the story could be so simple.
Men proliferated and increased. That means there were a lot of them.
And then, as difficult as it may be to understand, knowledge was invented, and suddenly, paradoxically, people knew stuff. Lots of stuff, important stuff, like where the largest bass were hiding, why one shouldn’t throw rocks at hornet’s nests, and how to avoid washing windows.
One day a very nice guy by the name of Pete, (you would have liked Pete) Pete Smorg was his full name, got himself invited as the guest of honor to a special dinner by this big flock of hungry, saber-toothed geese. Poor Pete.
The next day a group of Pete’s friends were standing around lying about their dear departed friend. (The word “lying” is used here because this happened a long time before the word reminiscing was invented.)
At this meeting of Pete’s friends, it was decided by one and all that they should kick something in Pete’s memory.
The handiest thing available to kick, and the only thing left of Pete was his head, therefore, they began kicking it.
This was the beginning of our present-day game of football, as it is now known. Kicking Pete’s head, due to the fact that shoes had not been invented yet, was also almost the end of our present-day game of football as it is known.
(It was originally called “excruciatingly and agonizingly painful, swollen foot, broken toe, kick Pete’s head in memory of Pete,”) for a very good reason.
Not only did Pete inspire football but he also invented the electric can opener. (This was especially challenging due to the fact that electricity had not been discovered yet.) He also invented the grunt and flatulence.
A lot of people use as evidence that the above is a true account due to the fact that men have not really changed all that much and frequently point at themselves and shout, “ME!” even to this day.
Dear lord, I implore you, please help us mennn to change. Amen
(Some may wonder what all of the above has to do with faith and inspiration so I will tell you. Absolutely nothing other than for the fact that Papa God usually changes us individually and not en masse.)
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.