Do you remember where you were when it happened? When the news came down? Anxiously gathered around the TV, or listening to the radio in the car, or in the bar having a few with the boys? I'll never forget where I was: watching a chick flick on the women's channel when they interrupted programming to announce that there wouldn't be an NHL season this year, that the players and management couldn't come to an agreement on how to divide the spoils, the revenue from the games.
The average salary of an NHL player is $2.5 million. Three quarters of the players make a million a year. How much is enough?
They're sullying our game with their bickering, ruining my memories of road hockey under the street lights. Maybe if we just all stopped watching. there are alternatives, other things to do, and now is the time to perhaps turn to:
Curling: it's played on the ice, it's free of the violence, the swearing, and those stupid blue guys. It's more cerebral, more sociable; curlers respect one another and actually take credit for their own violations of play. Its invention predates hockey, and it probably should be our national game.
Become a royal watcher: follow the exploits of Will and Kate and young Harry as they represent the monarchy throughout the world. There's Harry naked in a hotel with a young woman, playing leapfrog; there's Kate sunbathing nude on a beach in France. See? They're just like us, only wealthier and without the necessity of holding down a job. They're paid to be themselves.
Purchase the new iPhone 5 and spend most of your waking hours reading your email, chatting on Facebook, and looking at amusing pictures of your friends and their pets. It sure beats the hell out of actually talking to someone else or reading a book.
Get out the old table top hockey game with its players dressed in the uniforms of the Leafs and the Canadiens. Play with your kids, those smaller people who are always bugging you to come and play catch or shoot baskets or kick a soccer ball around.
There's no fall sitting of the legislature this year, so why not start a letter-writing campaign to your local MLA, or better yet, get some friends and protest in front of his/her office over some particularly annoying piece of legislation or the budget deficit or the latest tax/toll announcement.
Develop a drug habit: you can buy any number of addictive substances on the streets in no time flat, and once you're hooked, you'll be kept busy trying to pay for it by, say, soliciting some of your girlfriends to become hookers.
Support your local sports bar: you know they're going to suffer with the shut-down, so get out there and drink and watch something else on the big screen, like poker or darts or the lingerie football league.
How about re-upholstering your couch? You could take a course and maybe turn it into a part-time job in the evenings, fixing car seats and easy chairs and re-covering pool tables.
Sign up for tai chi or yoga: very relaxing and good for the bod', especially the hot yoga - and hey fellas, great place to meet woman: they love a man who can do the downward dog. You could practice at her house. Bring incense and white wine and a Kenny G CD.
Barring all else, you could get psychiatric help to cope with your feelings of abandonment, or join a support group where you sit around with the other guys and talk about your feelings and how much you really hate Alex Burrows for holding out for a couple million more or that you won't be able to sleep until Roberto finds a place to play. Just try not to cry.