A few books have actually made a tangible contribution to my life. John Updike’s Rabbit series made me appreciate that I wasn’t the only idiot in the world and set in motion some quite important events for me.
But well before that it was “The Silence of the Lambs” that really shaped my life.
I once went on a school trip to Scotland and took the book with me. On this trip a number of curious things happened to me and I won’t go into them here, but the takeout is that I read Silence of the Lambs and decided I liked the idea of becoming a serial killer hunter like Jack Graham and his FBI people.
This lead to the discovery of psychology as a thing. I went to the University of Surrey where I learned all about psychology. I didn’t become an offender profiler at all in the end but I did meet the girl who would go on to be the mother of my children so that was good. All because of the Silence of the Lambs.
So? Well at the end of the book Hannibal Lecter calls Clarice Starling:
Dr. Lecter: [on telephone] Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?
Clarice: Dr. Lecter?
Dr. Lecter: Don’t bother with a trace, I won’t be on long enough.
Clarice: Where are you?
Dr. Lecter: I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world’s more interesting with you in it. So you take care now to extend me the same courtesy.
Clarice: You know I can’t make that promise.
Dr. Lecter: I do wish we could chat longer, but … [eyeing Dr. Chilton] I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.
Clarice: Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? … Dr. Lecter? …
That’s what I felt about Bryan Ruiz. The world’s more interesting with him in it. Ruiz was a lot better than given credit for but let’s face it, the vulnerability was part of the appeal. You don’t worry about John Arne Riise; you don’t empathise with Giorgios Karagounis; you don’t worry whether Scott Parker’s feeling okay today. But when Bryan Ruiz plays for Fulham I’m desperate for him to do well. You see that face, a mixture of shock and innocence, and you worry that he’s not quite cut out for the hurly burly neanderthalism of English football.
The game wore him down. In the end he worked hard – people said he didn’t but he did – just not efficiently. Ruiz’s answer to not being in the game was to run around in big loping circles, which just served to keep him on the periphery. He didn’t have the confidence to stand there, to let the game come to him.
His legacy at Fulham will be those goals. He scored but a handful, and all but one I think were beauties. That chip against Everton when he looked up and perceived a gap over a goalkeeper who was more or less on his line. That scoop against Bolton when the obvious thing to do was certainly not to scoop the ball 20 feet in the air when clean through. The smash against Reading when the ball went from under his feet outside the box to the top corner before anyone knew what was going on, and that bounteous curler against Cardiff when he saw the top corner and potted the ball into it from distance.
Otherwise there were lots of nifty throughballs to Clint Dempsey and lots of unfortunate incidents when he didn’t quite work out what he was going to do with the ball next (he really had no business in his own half).
So yes, bummer that he’s been jettisoned. In his place may come John Heitinga of Holland and Everton, which would be a bit like replacing Miles Davis on the record player with the Sex Pistols, but whatever.