Maybe Dewey DID Defeat Truman

I found out recently that people in Africa are walking around wearing shirts emblazoned with Denver Broncos Super Bowl XLVIII Champions on ’em. Which I thought was a bit odd, seeing how the Broncos got their asses kicked by the Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl.


(It’s okay. I can admit it: losing 43-8 is pretty bad. But we diehard fans stick by our teams through thick and thin).

I wish...
I wish…

Anyway, it turns out the NFL orders up championship gear for both teams before they ever take a snap. This way, fans can purchase mementos immediately following the game. It’s called capitalizing on the momentum. Or greed. Whatever. The losing team’s stuff is boxed up and sent to a warehouse after the game, and eventually shipped to Africa, where it is donated to people who could otherwise never afford such high-quality clothing. And, presumably, such high-quality bobble head dolls. Apparently, this practice has been going on for years, and is not just confined to football. Which means somewhere in Tanzania or Uganda, there is an alternate universe where the Broncos are Super Bowl champions this year. It occurs to me that, should aliens happen to land in the middle of Ghana, they are going to have a skewed perception of our society. They’ll board the Mother Ship thinking the Miami Heat won their 3rd straight NBA Finals, O.J. Simpson was convicted of murder, California Chrome became the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years, Dallas Buyer’s Club won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the Winklevoss brothers run Facebook, Dewey really did defeat Truman, dodos are popular zoo attractions, Beta tapes still rule, we won the Vietnam War, women can’t vote, Goonies sometimes do say die, Bernie Madoff was a shrewd investor, Pete Best was the “popular” Beatle, the Soviet Union won the Space Race and the 1980 Olympic gold medal in hockey, Justin Guarini was the first American Idol, Atlantis is a popular vacation destination, and ATMs dispense a lot of two-dollar bills. Actually, ray guns or not, they’d probably flee in terror believing dinosaurs still roam the earth. dewey-defeats-truman

Hey, it’s not so far-fetched. My ex-wife is fond of rewriting history all the time.

Do you suppose it’s possible that parallel universes really exist? I know the idea is farfetched, but I think about it sometimes. Perhaps every single decision we ever make in life is reflected in a separate, alternative reality full of entirely different outcomes. Take Robert Frost’s famous poem, The Road Not Taken. You know the one:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by.

What if Frost’s protagonist had taken the road more traveled by? How different would his life have been then?

Everybody can relate to that. Who hasn’t thought about how different their life would be if only they’d done this instead of that? I ponder those things all the time. I’m not just talking about wishing I’d invested in Apple stock in 1980 (though, yeah – that would’ve been pretty cool). I mean those big, life-changing events that might have seemed insignificant at the time. Like, what if I never had given my ex that second chance? Neither Rusty nor Audrey would have been born. Or suppose I’d been hired by the utility company for a crappy call center job when my unemployment checks were about to run out and I was desperate? I probably never would have ended up with this dream job. There are so many variables in life, it boggles the mind to think of the many different consequences to our actions.

People talk about Heaven and Hell, Olympus and Valhalla, and they’re all different examples of alternate universes. Much like Dorothy’s trip to Oz. Clarence the angel showed George Bailey a world where he had never been born in It’s A Wonderful Life. Even Plato pondered this, and he was a pretty smart dude. I think it’s an idea not entirely without merit.

Deep, man. Deep…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

14 thoughts on “Maybe Dewey DID Defeat Truman

  1. I’ve heard that places like Africa and Haiti have so many of our cast off clothes that they are now refusing it. It does seem sad to see photos of kids in 70’s attire.

    I often think about choices I made that led me to this life. Mind boggling!


  2. Maybe Plato wasn’t really a smart dude, but his mother, wanting to boost Plato’s self esteem slept with Socrates like Sally Field’s character did for her son’s education in Forrest Gump. Maybe Socrates was considering a life of quiet contemplation until he was seduced into taking Plato on as his student. Hmmm…something to ponder. Or maybe not.


  3. Mark, you’re absolutely right, it is an idea not entirely without merit because I think we’ve ALL thought “what if.”

    But it’s as you shared, in using the example: “Clarence the angel showed George Bailey a world where he had never been born in It’s A Wonderful Life.”

    I truly believe that every choice we’ve made is the choice that was supposed to be made. It’s all happening as it should. And for a reason.

    Great post, buddy! Have a faaaaaaaabulous weekend!


    1. I’ve long said the same thing, Ron. Everything happens for a reason. If there ARE parallel universes, we’d have to change that phrase slightly to “everything happens for a reason in this reality.

      I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotta say: mind. blown.


  4. Yes, yes, those shirts DO end up in the developing world. I’ve seen a few of them myself–not that exact shirt but the equivalent. Love your idea of heaven and hell being alternate versions of the same reality. Interesting. And, yes, deep!

    Hugs from Ecuador,


    1. That’s right – you’ve got firsthand knowledge, Kathy! How interesting that must be, walking around and seeing people wearing shirts celebrating the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Super Bowl champs, the Buffalo Bills….


  5. I dont wanna be THAT person but I feel like I gotta be. That Robert Frost poem you mentioned…you realize that its not exactly meant the way you are using it right? When he says he took the road less traveled by he doesnt mean he took the road that others didn’t choose he just took a road at random and his point of the story was that it didn’t matter what road he took, the outcome would have been the same. Our choices in life do not matter. Thats what his poem means anyways not sure I totally agree.


    1. I agree with everything you’re saying here. I know that later in the poem, we are informed that both paths are equally tread where he states “Though as for that, the passing there/Had worn them really about the same.” I was trying to use the first stanza literally as an example, though. Figures I’d have somebody reading who was too smart to fall for that!


  6. I think it is the job of us writers to take those questions & make them reality in a book. Writers have the imagination to wonder “what if . . .” & then the bravery to put in on paper for others to read.


    1. That’s true, and some of my favorite books are “alternate history” novels. In fact, my current novel-in-progress sort of takes that idea and turns it upside down on its head.


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