This is my last post in my “essayist” voice. After writing a half-dozen posts in this voice, I’d say I still enjoy it much less than all the possibility that writing pure fiction offers. I dedicate my last essay-style post to the most gossiped about athlete of this year’s international football World Cup—Mister Zinedine Zidane, or Zizou as he is nicknamed. Let me warn you, I have always been a sucker for a man with a strong head on his shoulders, and Zizou doesn’t disappoint. Zizou received international attention with his two headed goals in the 1998 World Cup finals against Brazil. Should it be any surprise that he retire from the game with his final moments slamming that same head into another man’s chest? A perfectly good tool—his head—had became a weapon.
I heard an interview on NPR with a woman who could read Marco Materazzi’s lips and deciphered what vulgar term he uttered that made Zizou so upset. Allegedly, Materazzi said something about Zizou’s mother and sister that was not very nice. My husband said he’d heard something about Materazzi accusing Zizou of being a terrorist! That made him wonder what the world is coming to. Later we heard Zizou state publicly that indeed Materazzi had offended him by degrading his mother and sister. Then Zizou swore he wouldn’t regret his actions because, and this is the kicker, if he regretted his actions that would mean Materazzi was in the right.
I don’t know Zizou, old boy. Regret works to wound all pride; regret never puts anything right. Materazzi's regret should feel as bitter; he ought to bow down before your mother and sister and women everywhere! Say you're sorry! But Zizou, I still wish you would have thought twice before defending your sister and mother’s honor with violent action.
The reson Zidane's plight interests me as a writer is because his red card incident makes me remember a lesson that Anya Achtenberg taught us at this year's International Women Writers Guild workshop. We were doing writing exercises that encouraged us to write about moments that had changed everything forever. Zidane's career came to an end at that kind of moment.
Okay, tomorrow I will return to my old flash fiction habits. I am not an essayist, but who can blame a fiction writer for trying?