The great thing about vacationing in North Carolina this time of year is that you get to see the World Cup. Four years ago this great event was seen in Boston, during the annual City/Regional Magazine Association Convention, when seminars on how to make money on the web were routinely outdrawn by all the bored editors crowding into the hotel bar to watch Camaroon vs. Bigwalia. Bigwalia, of course, is the former Shumbaba, which changed its name after the last revolution. The name comes from General Big Walia, who led the 2009 coup, the first overthrow of government since 2007 when the colonial province of Lower Sud Rothstein was thrown out by General Rhumba Shumbaba. This was all before the tradition of blowing horns at games, sounding like the approach of a high-level B-17 bombardment group, became the fashion of the World Cup.
Anyway, Big Walia’s little brother, Little Walia, the First Minister For Larceny, is a big football fan. He put together an All-Star team to represent the country at the World Cup. They are an excellent side, but they look like Americans. They probably aren’t, but so many things are suspicious in this event that one cannot be faulted for doubt. For instance, in the game between our side and Al Qaeda, several American former student athletes were mugged right there on television, and the referee disallowed the goal which was clearly legal, on the understandable grounds that if allowed to stand, the U.S. would have won the game, which would have been terrible for our national image as the most picked-upon country in the universe.
“By the way,” we happened to say to our son-in-law, a former footballer himself, “is this game fixed? If not, why do all the sides look like Americans? The North Koreans look like Americans. The Ghanians look like Americans. The Japanese look like Americans, especially Red Yamamoto and Whitey Saburo. The British, Dutch, Germans and Slovenians all look like Americans. Look at this guy, Landon Donovan. Even he looks like an American.”
“He is an American,” said the son-in-law.
“Hah,” we said, “that explains everything. They’re trying to confuse us by throwing in a random ringer.”
This essay was interrupted to find out where Mali is, for that is the home country of the referee who just made the call in favor of Al Qaeda. It turns out it is in part of what was once known as French Sudan, part of the Sahara Desert, one of the poorest places on earth. Which explains a lot. After exhaustive research for the last 45 minutes, any reasonable man should conclude that if soccer is not fixed, it should be. Thanks to Forbes magazine and other sleuths on the Internet, it has been reported that in the annual survey of corrupt nations, the countries in Africa dominate, and there appear to be thousands of African nations in the World Cup. Not too far behind are the Central and South American countries, which are historically prominent, and often dominant, in the sport. For the record, Iceland is the most honest country, followed by almost all the Scandanavian countries. They have a freeze on thievery. The U.S. ranks about 17th, not too far ahead of Ireland, but way ahead of the most honest South American country, which happens to be Uruguay.
Knowing our own sordid history of point-shaving scandals in college basketball, and even professional refs playing their own games within the game, we can affirm that gambling exists within our borders. And if this can happen in a wonderful, moral place where all the children are above normal, is it not tempting to suspect it goes on in poorer nations where half the people can’t pronounce the name of the bounder who led the latest coup? Of course, these vile thoughts would not have occurred had it not been for the job in the Al Qaeda game, and also the fact that every time a un-American player collides with another, he falls to the ground writhing and puts his hands in front of his face, to hide the fact that he is giggling at having put one over on the refs.
You see how a diseased mind works. One little scandalous call in a soccer game and we are ready to send drones to wipe out half the world. Before that, however, we took a quick survey, asking people if it bothered them that soccer could be fixed. It is admittedly not a scientific study, having been concluded in 15 minutes, but the results are interesting. Sixty percent said they disapproved of fixing soccer games; 20 percent said they approved; the balance were undecided, and went back to blowing their horns.