During his time in football, Max was hit in the head. A lot. He has since endured nine brain surgeries. He has serious trouble remembering things, as the main character in the movie Memento did. Max and I were both carrying notepads, but for different reasons.
There was a game on. Saints–Cardinals. The first contest of the NFL preseason. Max had his back to the television. Once upon a time, he was an avid hunter. He owned a successful business. Today, he’s unemployed. Pretty much broke. Lives in a trailer outside his brother’s house. He probably shouldn’t drive, probably shouldn’t own guns. He gets angry. Has a hard time sleeping. Misses his family. His estranged wife and children are afraid of him.
On the television behind the bar, a Cardinals receiver caught a pass. A Saints defender dutifully drilled him, slamming the receiver’s helmet into the turf. The guys at the bar cheered. I was drawn to the replay, slow-motion and high-definition, the whiplash bounce of the receiver’s skull. I wondered how much of the play the receiver would even remember.
Max turned his head. “Look at that hit,” he said. “In the old days, I would have gone, ‘Oh, man, great hit.’ Now I see it differently. I can’t watch this.”
Neither can I.