The magic of the hockey gnome

The Little Professor and I are all about science, and we spend a great deal of time watching documentaries on how the pyramids were built and why black holes do what they do and seeing what will happen if we combine liquids that probably should not be combined. Don’t worry; we have a fire extinguisher, so it’s cool.

So, science? Combustible and awesome – except for when it comes to hockey. When it comes to that, all bets are off.

Especially when it comes that team-we-will-not-name, because they’ve lost two of the last 18, and maybe if we ignore them and pretend we’re not paying attention, the hockey gods will be satisfied with destroying the face of that player-we’re-not-mentioning-either-because-oh-my-goodness-licorice-could-that- poor-kid-have-any-worse-luck and leave everyone else alone.

The PWNMEBOMGLCTPKHAWL is the hockey gods’ team whipping boy right now. He needs to get some priests in there to rebuke his equipment or some blessed incense. He needs to do something, because I’m scared of what those fickle (redacted) will throw at the Bad Luck Kid next.

Anyway, part of our pre-game ritual includes a team mascot gnome. (Shut up, it works, and, if it doesn’t, I can’t risk it.) The Little Professor must touch it before the game. Also, he touches it any time that team-we-will-not-name is struggling or causing me to curse at more frequently or at a higher than normal volume for an extended period.

The Long Suffering Husband isn’t permitted to come within five feet of the gnome, because he has freakishly bad luck, and if he touched it, the entire team would get the bubonic plague. I shouldn’t even keep it in the same house with him, but if I remove it from its shrine, the CEC might explode. It’s a conundrum.

I am sometimes called upon to work nights – even during hockey season – and, as a result, I miss games. Besides missing my semi-weekly lung exercises, I am concerned the Little Professor might neglect to touch the gnome, especially since baseball season started. The annual battle over who gets the television to watch their favorite sport has commenced, and the LSH will watch the baseball game if I’m not there to lay claim to the television. So if the team is struggling, the Little Professor won’t even know to touch the gnome.

Even worse, the Sassy Saint might try to touch the gnome. One morning she felt lucky and touched it. That afternoon, the PWNMEBOMGLCTPKHAWL swallowed a puck and lost half his teeth. (The Little Professor asked if he lost his adult teeth, so I think my lectures on dental health are finally sinking in.)

I’m not saying it’s (all) her fault, but she has not proved herself to be lucky.

Sassy was irritated by this.

“It’s just a gnome,” she called from the living room. “It doesn’t have anything to do with whether they win or lose or someone gets hurt. It’s not my fault.”

“Yes, it does.” I had to yell from the second floor, because I was actually doing housework – don’t faint – assisted by the Professor.

“I’m going to touch it, and when nothing bad happens, you’ll have to admit it’s just a gnome!”

The Professor and I looked at each other in abject horror, did one of those slo-mo “NOOO!” things and raced for the stairs.

“She can’t touch it,” the Professor said. “What if she gets (redacted name of former Calgary Flame to avoid hockey gods’ notice) or (redacted name of the reigning league MVP for same reason) this time?!”

We tumbled into the living room to see Sassy approaching the gnome menacingly, like a cross between Norman Bates and Edward Scissorhands.

“Stop right there!”

“It’s just a gnome,” she said.

“If you touch that gnome, I will ground you!”

She hesitated.

“And if you touch it and someone gets hurt, I’m taking your iPhone!”

She gasped and jerked her hand back. Teenagers. The Professor scurried over and snatched it up before retreating to safety, the gnome cradled like a newborn against his chest.

“You wouldn’t really ground me or take my phone,” she said. “You don’t really believe that stuff.”

“Just try me, Sass.”

Hopefully, the FCF and RLMVP never know how close they were to disaster.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at