Hello. My name is Ben Trovato and I am an addict.
My bum is a mess of weeping couch sores and my face looks like roadkill. And still I cannot stop. If there is a game of soccer on the telly, I have to watch. I wallow in my own filth and watch. Fifa has turned me into a low-rent junkie and it’s pathetic.
Trying to get me off the couch right now is like leaving a gram of coke on the heated seat of Maradona’s diamond-encrusted bidet and expecting him to flush it away. It’s simply asking too much.
During Wednesday’s game between Spain and Chile, the bad yellow-eyed woman skulked in the kitchen repeatedly smashing a meat tenderiser into what I assumed was my dinner. As it turned out, there was no dinner.
At one point she stood over me and reached into her pocket. I knew the odds were high that she was going for the pearl-handled shooter she uses to keep the barbarians at bay. But even as I sensed that death was only moments away, I was too weak to move. “Beer,” I croaked, waving feebly in the direction of the fridge.
She withdrew her hand and I closed my eyes. Well, one of them. I kept the other on the telly in case someone scored. The sound of thousands of voices shouting in Spanish drowned out the gunshot and I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my chest. A wet patch spread across my heart and everything went black. Goodbye, cruel world.
Apparently I passed out, not away. Low blood sugar combined with an angina attack and the prospect of the defending champions being knocked out of the World Cup was too much for my shattered central nervous system. The wet patch was beer, not blood. The bad yellow-eyed woman slapped me back into consciousness and brandished a calculator at me. Was she going to bludgeon me to death with it?
“By the end of the weekend, you will have watched 34 consecutive games without moving,” she barked. She prodded angrily at the calculator. “Thirty-four games over 11 days. That’s 3060 minutes. Let’s make it 52 hours, including injury time.”
Injury time? That didn’t sound good. Perhaps she meant the time it would take the paramedics to surgically separate me from the couch.
I have had careers that lasted less than 52 hours. Still, I wasn’t precisely sure what point she was trying to make. It’s been like this all week. At some point I lost my vision.
“I’ve gone blind,” I shouted. There was cheering coming from the television. “Who scored?”
I heard the bad yellow-eyed woman walk into the room. “Who’s playing?” she said. A cruel trick to play on a man who had done little more than swallow and shout in well over a week; a man who had consumed enough alcohol to incapacitate a herd of wildebeest; a man who … who the hell was playing? Through my swollen eyeballs, I could barely make out the field. It looked like there were 500 people on it. Some were riding elephants, others were dressed as rabbits. I began to get afraid.
“It’s an advert,” she said. “And it’s half-time. Korea against Russia. Do you even know where some of these countries are?” Of course I did. Korea was just to the left of Japan, down a bit, to the right, down a bit, more, more, to the left, up a bit, not too much, stop. Thank you. That felt wonderful.
There are still 14 days to go before this terrible business is over. The pressure is enormous, especially on my bladder, and I have already booked my place in the downstairs toilet for 10pm on the night of 13 July.
I may have lost the use of my legs by then and my only hope is that I am not too weak to crawl.