“The True Origin of ‘The Napoleon Complex,'” by Robert Scribner

Apr 1st, 2015 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Napoleon Complex. A lot of people like to throw that term around. It’s also commonly known as “Short Man Syndrome.” You know the gist: smaller guys feel an urge to compensate for their size, usually via excessive aggression. But did you know that the origin of the term Napoleon Complex is historically inaccurate? If not, read on!

The first fact that you need to know is that during Napoleon’s time (circa 1800), the average Frenchman stood only 5 feet, 4 inches tall! Napoleon, on the other hand, despite some reports to the contrary, stood at a robust 6 feet, 8 inches. That’s over a foot taller than his average compatriot! Additionally, there is more than enough documented evidence to cement the fact that Napoleon was an extremely versatile small forward in the NBA D-League, who never quite got his chance to make his way to the big leagues, thanks to a gruesome injury early in his career.

Napoleon could light it up from way the fuck downtown. His career average from 3-point range was over 35%. But he could also post up with the big boys in the key. If a center unwisely left his feet with Napoleon within a 3-foot radius, you knew that the ball was about to get swatted into the 4th row. All day. You just fucking knew it. And the dunks. Don’t even get me started on the dunks.

But Napoleon was a great dad, too. Yeah, he fooled around. All of the players did. This is not a culture that encourages monogamy. I hope I’m not ruffling any feathers here, but you get it. You’re on the road constantly, barely scraping by, waiting to get your shot. Waiting to literally get your shot, with the ball, through the hoop, in the NBA. You need some comfort after a while. The dunks aren’t enough. Those phone calls with Napoleon’s baby mama don’t get you through the long nights.

And yes, there were tears. There was anger. But there was a lot of beauty, too, though. A great swish, right through the net. A technical foul on the opposing coach. A 93% free throw average for the season. Playing a game of hearts on the bus. Listening to This American Life on your 64 GB, gold iPhone 6 Plus as you pull into Fort Wayne, a few hours prior to your game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The smell of a basketball.

But then, before you can even truly appreciate it, it all stops. You land awkwardly after one of your signature blocked shots. Time slows down on the court, as both of your tibias and fibulas burst out of your shins. You shriek in pain. A flute of champagne explodes in the press box due to the sound waves. You are carried away on a stretcher, to a standing ovation from the crowd. The next day, the team owner renames the entire arena and surrounding area. They call it “The Napoleon Complex.” You know you’ll never play again, but at least you eventually die happy, with your family, on May 5, 1821, somewhere in France.

Defenestration-Robert ScribnerRobert Scribner was born and raised. A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Robert cut his teeth in the skills of “humour” writing, distance running, and tooth-cutting while growing up in lovely Mississippi. To learn nothing more about him, be sure to check out his acclaimed microblog.

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