Philosopher David Kellog Lewis rote in the 1970's about his theory of "modal realism," or the idea that there are countless "possible worlds" aside from our actual world. For something to be possible, he theorizes, there must be a world or a universe in which these possibilities have taken place. Flip a coin right now, and whatever it lands on is the counterfactual conditional of some other existence elsewhere - it lands on heads, but you in another existence watches it land on tails.
All of this is philosophical, theoretical, impossible to prove and incredibly difficult to even understand, but it is an idea that's interesting and lasting enough to still be the focus of rigorous academic debate. More importantly, though, is that it is an idea that allows us to believe that there is some existence where all of the inexplicable, gut-wrenching things we've endured as Ole Miss fans did not actually take place as we experienced them.
Somewhere, Eli Manning completed a fourth down pass to set up Ole Miss' 2003 victory over LSU. Somewhere, Billy Cannon was unceremoniously tripped up by a Rebel defender after receiving a fourth quarter punt. Somewhere, Bryce Drew's shot rimmed out at the buzzer. Somewhere, Evan Button fields a routine ground ball and cleanly makes an easy throw to first for an out.
And somewhere, in some other universe, we are all in a really happy place right now. Laquon Treadwell slipped past that final tackle en route to the endzone, scored the go-ahead and subsequently game-winning touchdown, and kept the Rebels in play for the College Football Playoff. That place saw hours-long celebrations in the Grove, not silently and deliberately packed up tents and chairs being exhaustingly dragged home. It saw fans celebrating in their seats at Vaught-Hemingway, not grumbling, crying, and semi-serious threats of violence against visiting fans. It saw you doing whatever it is that you do to celebrate instead of commiserate.
I have to believe that this alternate reality exists for your sake, my sake, and most definitely for Laquon Treadwell's sake. And I have to think that, in this magical universe, I'm happily hung over right now and none of us are having conversations about curses, fate, or the cruelty of football's random violence. That's our promised land, and I can only hope that our theoretical counterfactual selves are enjoying it as much as we would expect them to.