One time, when I was about five or six years old, I went grocery shopping with my mom. And by grocery shopping, I mean I spun in circles and and made airplane noises while my mom loaded the cart with grown-up things like bread and eggs, and, I don't know, mortgages.
At some point during the aerial dogfight playing itself out in my mind, I lost track of where my mother was. I was not a particularly brave child and shooting brain-bullets at imaginary enemy planes suddenly seemed a lot less important than finding the only big person in the store that knew my middle name and who would take me to the right house if I got in their car.
I knew my mom couldn't have gone far, cuz she was boring and just pushed the shopping cart in front of her at a walking pace instead of jumping into it at a full sprint and trying to lean around corners like she was in a car race like I would've done. Still, I remember feeling really disconcerted at the realization that I didn't know where she was. To make matters worse, the comic book stand I thought I was next to had become a lotion display and it occurred to me that I was completely lost.
When familiarity is stripped from you, even the mundane can seem terrifying. Normal circumstances become warped versions of themselves and before you know it, you find yourself in a bizarro universe with no known reference points from which to deduce your relationship to the world you knew. This discombobulating experience is magnified in children (hence my still-vivid memory of it 22 years later) and the uncertainty I felt at the time had me on the verge of panic. Everything was scary all of a sudden, not because anything around me was intimidating by nature, but simply because I was no longer tethered to reality as I had known it up to that point.
This is what a thought feels when it passes through Marshawn Lynch's brain.
When the Seahawks traded for Lynch last season, I was still blogging for mynorthwest.com and decided I'd write a post about Seattle's newest player. I didn't know much about Lynch, other than the fact that he ran like the air behind him was snakes and that one time he single-handedly beat my fantasy football team by getting like 1,400 yards in a Monday Night game. I began intrepidly scouring the internet for tidbits of info on the man who would hopefully become the 'Hawks next feature running back.
Initially, Google didn't give me much beyond his mugshot, but -- wait, that's not his mugshot? That's just a normal picture of him? Haha, come on. For real? This photo, of Marshawn Lynch, was shot under normal picture-taking circumstances? Oh man. It looks like a catcher's mitt with a face drawn on it by a kindergartner.
Anyway, for a while I didn't find much beyond statistics and that hell-sent dream-robbing picture (seriously, he looks like a rejected "Ren & Stimpy" character after an acid trip), until I stumbled across the single greatest interview ever given by a professional athlete. Or anyone, for that matter.
As if looking a like a photo-negative of The Joker wasn't enough, Marshawn apparently talks like a maniac too. His answer to the question of what's on his iPod is a stream of infuriating syllables mashed together like hot-dog parts. Also, 2pac.
Messy Marv, The Jacka, Lil Webbie, Lil’ Boosie, Clyde Clarkson, Hustler, J Stylin, Keak The Sneak and da Farmboyz, Killa Tank, Lee Majors, Mistah F.A.B., 2Pac, Sleepy D.
As it turns out, Lynch's crazy cage was just starting to rattle. For some weird reason, the interviewer later asks Marshawn what's on his office walls. Literally the only thing wilder than BeasMo! having an office is BeasMo!'s answer to what's in said office.
A mural of me and everything important in my life that my cousin painted. It includes my mama, penguins, the skyline of Oakland, "Family First," footballs, and my goddaughter.
Yep. Penguins.You ever watch "The Price Is Right"? You know that game Plinko, where the little disc gets dropped into the catacomb of pegs and plinkos it's way down to some nominal prize? That's what thoughts do in Lynch's head, except that the pegs are made of insanity and there is no bottom.
Marshawn later states that the one talent he wishes he had was "Mackin'. Straight mackin'." And that going to Fiji is on his bucket-list because he wants to "see if the water is really like that," which are loony-gems in their own right, but I'm not about to skip over the chance to imagine what this mural looks like.
Lost in all the nonsense that tumbles out of Lynch's gold-encrusted mouth is the fact that he actually has an office, and that this office has a mural in it. Furthermore, the mural begins with a depiction of himself. He then says that mural-Marshawn is accompanied by "everything important" in his life and that his cousin painted it, which leads me to wonder if he instructed his cousin to include Oakland's sarcophogal skyline, his family, and flightless snowbirds or if that's just what his cousin saw when he looked into Marshawn's cartoonishly demented eyes. That he includes his goddaughter in this psychedelic catastrophe is almost inhumane and one can only hope that her incumbent terror is appropriately captured in the painting.
All that being said, I still love me some Marshawn Lynch. I believe that he has the talent and recklessness to be a special running back in this league, but mostly I love him because he is crazier than cave guano. My reasoning is this: BeasMo! has been put on earth to run over stuff and he's going to run over stuff all. the. time. Ergo, if he's destined to run over stuff always, I'm glad that he's doing it in Seahawks blue.
I eventually found my mom in that grocery store and my life continued on in more or less the same fashion as before the incident, but I don't think that the thoughts that enter the negative space in Marshawn Lynch's cranium ever make it back out. If they do, they are undoubtedly hollow, shell-shocked semblances of their former selves. Now, I don't know if Lynch's best days as an NFL player are behind him or ahead of him; all I know is that I'm grateful that the crazy bastard is ours.