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Life can be frustrating. The printer jams halfway through printing that amusing photo of your employer’s head superimposed onto Saddam Hussein. You queue for the coffee machine, put your Styrofoam cup under the nozzle, press play, and instead of a stream of espresso, you get a face full of coffee-scented steam and a beeping noise. You arrive home to find your recorder has not recorded Cricket’s Greatest Moustaches as you asked it to and has instead gone with the catch-up edition of Jersey Shore.
But do you set about the gummed-up printer with your umbrella? Do you pick up the coffee machine and hurl it into the chilled drinks section whilst giving out a blood-curdling, caffeine-deprived roar? Do you pour petrol into the workings of your digital recording device and then stand with a lighted match over the poor thing, cackling maniacally?
No you don’t. At least, not more than once.
Daniel Christian is different. Daniel Christian does not believe in the virtue of the stiff upper lip. When something disappointing occurs in Daniel’s life, he tilts back his head and roars to the gods. He tenses his upper body until the buttons on his shirt begin to pop and the seams start to give way; then he lays about him on all sides, as though he’s never even read South Australia’s Health and Safety in the Dressing Room pamphlet.
This season Angry Dan has embarked on a furniture rampage across Australia. Several plastic chairs have been taken into protective storage; an elderly trestle table has been admitted to a restoration unit in Adelaide, where it remains on a workbench as experts battle to save its varnish; and one poor magazine rack may never stand up on its own again.
Surprisingly, the trigger for these Hulk-like episodes is an event of such mundane normality that it has happened, at the latest count, on 176 occasions: Daniel losing his wicket. Something that occurs so often should not still evoke such rage. Maybe the first time you lose your car keys it might be a tad galling, but by the 176th time, for most people, a weary resignation would have set in.
Naturally there is only so much table wobbling and chair flinging that a cricket board can take and Daniel has been exiled until he can learn self control. To that end, I’ve come up with a plan to help him conquer his blind unreasoning rage and save his career:
1. Meditation. Imagine, Daniel, that you are Mitchell Johnson about to run up to bowl. You are untroubled by thought. Your mind is a complete blank. The scoreboard doesn’t exist. You are at peace. There are no worries. You are thinking only of pie.
2. Aversion therapy. Ask a friend to rent a projector screen, strap you to a chair and play you the 1993 film Anger Management. If that doesn’t do the trick, your friend should show you all of Adam Sandler’s other films, in chronological order, including director’s commentaries. When you promise you’ve learned your lesson, then the films will stop.
3. Don’t lose your wicket so often. (n.b. this would also improve your batting average.)
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Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73