A rash of mental illness has recently washed over areas of North America and Europe. The greatest concentration of the outbreak centers around the city of Calgary, Alberta with some other isolated pockets throughout Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland.
It seems fans of the Calgary Flames, a team of the National Hockey League, are showing signs of a various psychological disturbances. Apparently healthy individuals with no prior history of pathology are now suffering from maladies ranging from tourettes syndrome, depression and alcoholism.
"I’ve never had any problems like this before" said Ryan Sherwood, a young Oil executive and Flames fan from Calgary.
"My family doesn’t even have a history of tourettes or anything. I mean, I had never even heard of it before the season began. I’m okay when I’m at work and stuff but when I start watching the Flames power play, it…I…just can’t seem to help myself. I mean, for Godsake move the puck around! Don’t just f***** stand there! Get some shots for **** sake! Damn it! Hell! F***! F***!…" said the young man, before collapsing into a shuddering heap of rage and expletives.
Mike Helfer, a 30-something lifelong Flames fan, described his recent slide into alcohol dependence.
"I used to have a beer or two while watching the games. But now…but now I can’t get through without at least a six pack."
He paused, clutching at a wrinkled, vomit stained Flames jersey.
"I…I mix in the hard stuff now most of the time too. Jack Daniels. Maybe some vodka. Maybe both. Zima. Grain alcohol when I have it. The last game…the, the loss to, uh, Ottawa, I went through everything I had in the house before the third period even started.
"I ended up downing the rest of the scope I had under the bathroom sink. Just to blot out the memories, you know? The pain."
According to the obligatory opinion of some expert we had to dig up for the purpose of this article, drug dependence can be common in those with psychological problems.
"People suffering from depression and anxiety tend to self medicate with alcohol and other narcotics, be it crack, meth or modelling glue. Butt chugging is a new, popular way to imbibe booze according to credulous reporters in the United States apparently, so the authorities should watch out for that here too given the way the Flames are playing." said the stuffy, insufferable head shrinker we interviewed.
"Depression and anxiety are the two emotional disturbances in particular that seem to be cropping up in Flames fans throughout Calgary and elsewhere. Post traumatic stress disorder, a condition previously called ‘shell shock’, has also become alarmingly common amongst this demographic. Symptoms include panic attacks, sleeplessness, an inability to look at the NHL standings, and a heightened affective response to the words "rebuild", "trade Iginla" and "young guns".
I suppose I’m fortunate to be a Vancouver Canuck fan." Dr. Smug chuckled to himself while polishing a pair of those stupid, circular rimmed glasses.
Consequences for the outbreak are spreading from the personal sphere into the social arena. Work absenteeism has increased some 25% in Calgary since the start of October as fans stay home to sleep off hang-overs, fashion nooses from "Shean Donovan" jerseys, fabricate effigies of former general manager Darryl Sutter and argue endlessly with other traumatized fans on the internet. If the current trend continues indefinitely, economists say it may cost the Canadian economy an outrageous amount of money that is mostly a baseless, made up figure.
No one is sure what it will take to stem the tide of mental illness amongst Flames faithful, let alone reverse it. When approached for this article, current general manager Jay Feaster moaned "Look, I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Just leave me alone, okay?"
As adverse effects continue to build and spread, it becomes clearer and clearer that someone needs to think of the children.
"At some point we are likely to see the afflicted fans descend into compulsive, anxiety soothing rituals such as repeating the same claim over and over again to their friends at water coolers or in blog article comment strings. We may perhaps see some regress back to happier times, like that fluke cup run they had a few years ago.
"If things go on much longer, I would imagine some sort of anarchy will erupt. Dogs and cats living together. Real biblical stuff. I guess maybe Flames fans should just take solace in the fact that most of the other Canadian teams stink too. Aside from Vancouver, of course." Finished the smarmy psychiatrist, before finally being punched in the face.