On Blasts From the Past

Sometimes, reminders of the past pop up in the strangest of places.

A few weeks ago, I had to drop off some paperwork at another writer’s desk in the office.

“You have an XFL football,” I said. The XFL was the football league the WWE and NBC had put together in the early years of the decade. It lasted a single season. No one really knew what it was. Wrestling fans were upset because it wasn’t wrestling-meets-football like they thought. Football fans were upset because the quality of play was, erm, poor.

“Yeah,” he said. “Someone gave it to me.”

“Cool,” I said.

“You can have it.”

“I don’t want it.”

“I don’t want it, either. You can have it.”

“I don’t want it.”

“Take it.”

“Well, okay, if you insist.” He handed me the football.

“One less thing in my cubicle,” he said.

“Y’know,” I said, “strange but true story. I applied for a job with the XFL.”

He looked at me with a blank stare. “What sort of job?” Doubtless he thought I was going to say, “Yeah, I thought I could start a football career with the XFL.”

Instead… “They were taking applications for writers, to cover the league on their website. I applied for a job to write web content for them, along with a bunch of friends of mine.” I shrugged. “Obviously, I didn’t get the job. Obviously, given the league’s one year lifespan, that was probably a good thing.”

He gestured at the football in my hands. “Souvenir, then. The road not taken.”

“Robert Frost,” I said.

It’s always nice when Robert Frost enters the daily conversation.

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