Superstitions are powerful. There’s an apocryphal story about a tank company in World War II that set up camp in an apricot orchard and was obliterated by an attack the next morning. I’ve never seen any proof of the story, but Marine tankers nonetheless refuse to eat apricots or allow the fruit on their tanks. The ban even extends to Hawaiian Punch, which has traces of apricot juice in it.

It’s bullshit, of course — but I damn sure didn’t bring any apricots on my tank. Because it didn’t hurt to not have apricots, and it wouldn’t have done my sleep-deprived crew any good to be worried about the presence of a stone fruit angering the spirits that inhabit our ride into battle. A superstition is merely a habit that controls fear.

And that’s why I go high and to the right every time I hear someone nonchalantly discuss the NFL labor negotiations.

“Hey, did you hear that the NFL lockout is almost o–”

SHHHH! Knock it off! You’ll ruin it! IX-NAY ON THE OCKOUT-LAY, capische? Goodell has redheaded spies everywhere, and the slightest bit of fan confidence will torpedo the 2011 season. You don’t think he’d do it? Oh, he’d do it all right. He’d do it while spooning a bowl of Jerry Richardson’s hot feces into his lying mouth for breakfast.

All this positive talk has me terrified. There was a complete impasse in the negotiations, and now suddenly the deal is 80-85% done? No way. I refuse to get my hopes up, because then the owners will walk away and blame the players for refusing to be flexible when the deal was so close to complete, and I will not have my emotions toyed with like that.\

Look, even Pro Football Talk is reporting other reporters’ reports stressing the same thing:

Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports via Twitter that she’s hearing that talks between the NFL and the NFLPA* are continuing today — and that we should not get “carried away by the hype.”

We’re hearing that what she’s hearing is accurate.

Well, I’m intuiting what they’re hearing she’s hearing Peter King’s thinking he’s thinking, and all signs point to Han Solo:

Until a deal is final and signed, let’s keep your mouths shut, work our prayer beads, and leave a whore on Jerry Jones’s doorstep every morning. THERE’S TOO MUCH AT STAKE.