Look at us.
We're fighting with each other as we rationalize preposterous ideas. Our senses are waging wars within our own minds and exploding with venomous fury.
We're confused. Is what we see a stark reality, or a confluence of external forces conspiring to form the optical illusion of abject failure?
We're lost. The darkness envelops us so completely at the moment that our panic has staged a coup on sound reasoning. Every crackle in the distance induces whiplash. Every mysterious breeze brings about wild defensive convulsions.
What direction am I facing?
Will I fall if I take another step?
Is someone, or something, in this place with me?
We have reached purgatory. We now, as fans, occupy the space where we can see both heaven and hell very clearly. And that's starting to drive us completely mad.
You see, once you're in purgatory, you're only thinking of ways to get out of purgatory. No one ever plants a lawn chair, mixes some lemonade, flips on an adult contemporary station and just relaxes in purgatory. You're not giving the Sade the Sweetest Taboo with a 5-8 record. You're hatching escape plans. With the flames of hell licking your arches, you look around to see if there's someone you can sacrifice, or at least stand on, to get closer to heaven.
Paul Pierce? If he's a true Celtic, he'll do anything, even agree to a trade, to help! Ray Allen? He hasn't been a Celtic THAT long. Kevin Garnett? He's so proud he'll probably quit before playing for whatever team he gets traded to.
Pile up the bodies, we think, and we can build a human ladder high enough for God, or at least Rajon Rondo, to reach down and rescue us so we can bathe in beams of sunlight once again.
Perhaps self flagellation will appease the mighty NBA Gods of which Doc Rivers speaks so often? Perhaps if we willingly punish ourselves, dismantle this affront to Lord Naismith, and accept our suffering, the Gods will spare prolonged torture. Maybe we don't need to go to actual hell if we can create our own here in purgatory. We'll even play some Nickelback to show we're serious about it.
Or maybe we should shelve they histrionics for a while. Because the panic isn't appropriate just yet.
When you're caught in a rip current and feel yourself being pulled away from the shore, you don't swim against it in a desperate attempt to get back to dry land. The people who do that are the ones that drown. The people who fight the urge to panic, calmly ride the wave and find a way to slide out of it are ones who are building sand castles in half an hour.
The panic? The trade proposals? The manufactured mania? It's too soon. There's no doubt the Celtics have dropped from their perch. But we don't know yet if this is permanent or temporary. And when you don't know how bad the situation is, then you don't know how to fix it. Now is the time to assess the situation, not provide knee-jerk remedies. You can't properly treat a patient when you don't know how sick the patient is.
The Boston Celtics, as they are currently built, already have a "self destruct in 2012-13" button. Hitting the button now serves no purpose. We're all in purgatory together. We all want to get out just as badly. But the best course of action is to just wait, at least until March, before putting any escape plans into action.