The Anti-Epiphany of Raider Fan
Christmas Eve 2018
In honor of tonight's conclusion of NFL football in Oakland, a little Christmas tale:
It was a rainy and gloomy Christmas Eve in Oaktown, and the Raiders were scheduled to play their swan song game at the Coliseum after posting a dismal 3-11 last place record in their final season in the East Bay. Things were equally bleak on a personal level for Raider Fan. The pressure of an upcoming court date weighed heavily upon him, with the prospect of a return to the Alameda County Jail. Aggravated Assault was really just a misunderstanding...he thought, but “the man” didn’t understand...was unwilling to understand the circumstances that pushed him to the brink of insanity and required by the code of the street that he settle scores and make things right.His Old Lady was pissed off at him again, and she had finally booted him out of the domicile. The parting was typically ugly, as he gave her a shiner on his way out and she responded by tossing several personal effects after him out onto the sidewalk, including his prized blacksplitation Betamax movie collection, his bobble heads, his imported silk ninja gear, his vintage porn collection...all unceremoniously chucked to the curb.
So as the bitter wind swirled, Raider Fan smoked a doobie and chugged on a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, staggering directionless through the darkening streets of East Oakland. The contrary reality of this moment was almost too much for him: his rat rod death skull chop top pickup truck had been repo-ed and he had to pawn his pride and joy, a custom black leather spiked Darth Vader outfit.
On top of this, the ultimate insult to his meager sense of pride was that his beloved team was being ripped by a guy who looked like one of the Dumb and Dumber guys with a bowl haircut and goofy, ignorant face....A clown of a guy who was surely gonna get rich in Vegas by repackaging the hallowed black and silver Raider brand for a douchey, trendy nouveau riche vegas crowd who had not an ounce of team loyalty in them.
As the fortified wine and purple kush made his head woozy, Raider Fan slumped down in a litter strewn, graffiti covered alleyway. He had no energy or anger left. Being an outlaw, he realized, was exhausting work...not nearly as glamorous as it had seemed on TV.
As the fortified wine and purple kush made his head woozy, Raider Fan slumped down in a litter strewn, graffiti covered alleyway. He had no energy or anger left. Being an outlaw, he realized, was exhausting work...not nearly as glamorous as it had seemed on TV. In exhaustion, he closed his eyes and let the blackout wash over him as he had done so many times before. But instead of a restful winter’s nap, his sleep was fitful, and occasioned by voices and visions.
At first it was his old lady flipping him the bird, and then his parole officer with the typical questions about his employment status and helpful tips for “making good decisions.” Then who should appear, wearing his trademark visor, it was Jon Gruden, explaining with his boyish good looks and a series of rapidfire gestures why it was a good idea to trade Khalil Mack. Gruden explained like a carnival barker why he was actually playing the “long game” even though nobody could make sense of it. All of a sudden Gruden’s face morphed into Evil Chucky and he cackled and was gone.
And then from deeper down in the vault of memory they came, the black and silver heros and villans of yore: Dave Casper, the ghost to the post, and Atkinson and Tatum, the assassin, and Cliff Branch, speed still kills in 2018, and the deep threat acrobat Freddy Biletnikoff covered in stick-em from head to toe. And then “The Snake” the slingin, sidewinding riverboat gambler Kenny Stabler. The Snake’s bearded face smirked at Raider Fan and vanished without a word. Alzado, Hendricks, Sistrunk, Villapiano, and last of all Art Shell and Gene Upshaw staring down Raider Fan with vicious terrifying coldness.
These were not the type of seasonal apparitions that bring perspective and timely life lessons. Instead, they taunted Raider Fan with visions of the glory days gone by...Before he could recover from this parade of visions, the scariest one of all was upon him, right up in his face. It was the one and only Al Davis himself, Mista Davis to you, son, the patriarch, one of the very founders of the modern game. Davis looked resplendent in his trademark white velour tracksuit, his greased back hair seemed to glow like an unreal halo in the darkness, his sinister grin almost too much to look at. Behind him a wallpaper of Black Hole demons and gargoyles dissolved into view, all the painted, costumed faces melting, breathing fire and hissing.
Davis leaned in as if to offer a bit of fatherly council. His beady eyes bore down upon Raider Fan. Davis reached a black gloved hand toward him, echoing his trademark slogan in a low roar, JUST WIN BABY. But instead of reaching for Raider Fan’s hand, The Evil Godfather plunged his hand deep into Raider Fan’s chest cavity and ripped out a still beating black heart, holding it up as an offering to the Gods, as lightning streaked across the sky and thunderbolts crashed down, imploding the Oakland Alameda Coliseum to dust and wreckage.
With the shock of this last apparition, Raider Fan recoiled and in an instant he was awake, laying in the trash strewn alley where he had passed out the night before. But our poor protagonist was not a changed man. He did not sprint down San Leandro Street with a new found spirit of joy in his heart. He did not witness the reckoning of the ages. Instead, he brushed the dry vomit from his old leather jacket and hobbled down the alley toward the nearest corner store, where he shoplifted a bottle of Mad Dog and set out for another day hustling on the mean streets of Oaktown.
RIP Oakland Raiders, 2018, Eulogy for a worthy rival by Steeler Fan who partied with Raider Fan and his posse many a year at the old Coliseum North lot.