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Comic 241 - 152 - No Choice.

12th Feb 2016, 12:00 PM in Regular Strips
152 - No Choice.
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MaGnUs 12th Feb 2016, 12:00 PM edit delete
It's my birthday next week, so I thought I'd roll out another of my birthday frustrations. Look, it's Ariel the Wizard, Senior again! Remember strip #39? For some reason I ran it in October, not on my birthday month. Well, in addition to only getting him and not his son to perform on my birthdays, he found another way to push my buttons.

You see, organized/professional sports here don't work like in other parts of the world. In what way? Several, but I'm talking about where teams are from, who you root for, etc. Football in particular (and I don't mean American football). This is a small country, with a little over 3.5 million inhabitants, and about half of them live in the capital, Montevideo. The top division of professional football consists of teams that are mostly (save for a couple of exceptions) from Montevideo.

So instead of you being a supporter of your city's team (New York Knicks, to use a basketball analogue), or one of the two major league teams in your city (Manchester United or Manchester City, for a football example), you have about a dozen teams to choose from. And you usually inherit the team you root for from your dad, older brothers, etc.

Thing is, two teams here are the largest and more important, with the most titles, and the most supporters. After reading the strip, you can guess those teams are Nacional and Peñarol (who also happpen to be traditional rivals, same as United and City are in Manchester). And when most people lean a certain way or another? Most people will asume everybody is the same. The same way straight people will asume by default that a person they just met is straight; most people here just asume you're either a Nacional or Peñarol fan. And abroad, those who know about Nacional and Peñarol, will think the same. Almost every Uber driver my family and I got in Porto Alegre, Brasil, asked us if we were Nacional or Peñarol supporters. And we're not, my wife, my son, and I all root for three different teams, which are not Nacional or Peñarol.

The truth is, however, that they don't think that without reason: according to a 2013 survey, about 80% of the people who say they support a team support either Nacional or Peñarol. But some of us don't. I don't really care much for sports, but the team I support is Bella Vista (my grandfather was one of its founders, and he and my uncle were part of the club's board for years). And I'm not going to choose either Peñarol or Nacional just because you couldn't fathom that the kid whose birthay you're performing at is part of that other 20% (and you couldn't be arsed to ask about his interests when you were hired).

As an additional note, I will confess that I'm not certain when Ariel performed at my birthday, or even if he performed for me more than one year (this strip is set in '87, the previous one featuring him was set in '88). I am pretty sure he did perform more than once, because in addition to him, I only remember one other set of performers on one of my birthdays (a puppet show), and I'm sure I had hired entertainment on my birthday year after year until I was about nine or ten.

Music this week is by the sadly recently departed David Bowie, doing "Day-In Day-Out", from his 1987 album "Never Let Me Down":