Tom Brady won the Super Bowl again.
That Cheshire cat smirk will live on long after he dies, which he never will, because the 41-year-old is the ageless Voldemort of the NFL, made immortal through the boundless consumption of crushed souls. Not that I mean that in a negative way.
Some consider me uncharitable. They call the New England Patriots quarterback the GOAT -- the Greatest Of All Time -- which is hard to dispute, but I suspect the name also derives from the horns that hide in his perfectly coiffed hair (and occasionally poke holes in his helmet). He also has cloven hooves.
This is not an uncommon view. Brady, who already has five Super Bowl rings, regularly tops lists of the most admired and most despised figures in football. Even the South China Morning Post published a story headlined "Why do people hate Tom Brady and the Patriots so much?" Maybe it's because they know that even in the unlikely event Brady ever does die - leaving behind his perfectly chiselled looks, his supermodel wife, his estimated $180-million US net worth - St. Peter will be waiting at the pearly gates, giddily anticipating an autograph. And the GOAT will just gloat, taking it as his due.
It isn't simple envy that curls his critics' lips. Nor is it the unhappiness that results when mortals compare themselves to the gods, though that doesn't help. (In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari put it thusly: "If you were an 18-year-old youth in a small village 5,000 years ago you'd probably think you were good-looking because there were only 50 other men in your village and most of them were either old, scarred and wrinkled, or still little kids. But if you are a teenager today you are a lot more likely to feel inadequate. Even if the other guys at school are an ugly lot, you don't measure yourself against them but against the movie stars, athletes and supermodels you see all day on television, Facebook and giant billboards.")
No, we all know - and accept - that life favours some more than others.
That was demonstrated one day many years ago when I trundled into a Mill Bay fast food restaurant, only to find myself draped in a Harry Potter invisibility cloak as the three young women behind the counter gave their undivided attention to filling the order (an orange juice) of the only other customer, a Greek god of a blond California rower who had wandered up from a regatta at Brentwood College. (Think Ryan Reynolds meets Orlando Bloom, only better looking.)
So, I waited. And waited. Made a couple of phone calls, did my income taxes, reread the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Somewhere, a bird sang.
Finally, one of the counter staff snapped out of her reverie long enough to take my money, but then -- I am not making this up -- gave my change to the good-looking guy.
"Um, I think this is yours," he said, handing the coins to me.
"Thanks," I replied. "Good to see you again. Glad they're letting you out unescorted. Oh, we got your tests back and it's probably not gonorrhea."
I shouldn't have done that. He did nothing wrong. Had Brady been handed my change, he would have slipped it into his own pocket, not given it back. If Brady won the lottery, he would think he deserved it. Or so I like to believe.
This is at the heart of the ill will toward the quarterback, the notion that he is smug, entitled, not sufficiently grateful for what he has - a crime worthy of banishment to Perfection Prison, where he will be shanked by cellmate Martha Stewart with a darling little shiv fashioned out of an ivory toothbrush she pilfered from the Dalai Lama's guest bathroom when she popped by Himachal Pradesh to pick up some mountain air for her compressor.
Of course, you could also apply the same judgment to many of us in Canada.
From the view of the rest of the planet, we won life's Super Bowl when born in such a peaceful, prosperous place, yet so many of us take our blessings as a birthright. It's not a good look.
Even Brady, after losing last year's Super Bowl, had the good grace to post a social media message that used the word "gratitude" seven times.
Jack Knox writes for the Victoria Times Colonist.