The imminent fall of the Roman empire (well, several hundred years down the line) is characterised by the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. It is not clear what he was fiddling with, since the violin would not be invented for another 1,000 years.
For Napoleon it was the decision to send half a million men into Russia with nothing but a summer tunic and a baguette down their trousers.
And who can forget Chris Evans' fateful departure from the BBC after they refused to let him work a four-day week? Or Mike Tyson losing to James 'Buster' Douglas? Or Oasis not really trying on Be Here Now?
All of the above fit the description of Hubris, and were swiftly followed by the divine retribution known as Nemesis.
For anyone not up on their Greek mythology, the point is this: you get good at something, you start to believe your own hype, you get complacent/arrogant/detached from reality and it all blows up in your face.
Which brings us to the Premier League's proposal to ship out of England altogether and take their wares on a world tour.
Richard Scudamore talked excitedly about the "human interest" potential of the move, like the Bolton fan who hasn't missed a game for 35 years and then finds himself having to go to Shanghai to maintain his streak.
Hmm. Is that interesting or just annoying?
It seems the chairmen are banking on the fact that foreign fans are less discriminating that those over here.
Nobody wants to see Wigan versus Fulham any more, not even Wigan fans. But, having seen a Moritz Volz replica shirt on a recent trip to the Orient, Early Doors suggests that a trip to China could be money for old rope.
It made for a busy day in the life of culture secretary Andy Burnham, who had to dig deep into his reserves of righteous indignation as he passed judgment on two burning issues.
Burnham gave a lukewarm response to the Premier League on tour concept, saying: "Money and merchandising must not take priority over the interests of fans in this country."
It was then straight off to the BBC for a chance to weigh in where lesser mortals - and Early Doors - fear to tread; the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments on the introduction of Sharia law in Britain ("a recipe for chaos, social chaos," apparently).
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Andre Bikey must really want to get back to Reading, based on his astounding red card in Cameroon's African Cup of Nations win against Ghana.
Leading 1-0 against the hosts in stoppage time, it was a moment for cool heads to prevail, especially with a Rigobert Song 'injury' helping to take valuable seconds off the clock.
So, what did Bikey do? He ran up to one of the medical team attempting to treat Song and shoved him to the ground.
Cue general astonishment, a red card and a hail of plastic water bottles onto the pitch.
Just outstanding. Had Early Doors been there, it would have given him a standing ovation, and, most likely, been pelted with missiles.
Still, the stalling tactics worked and Cameroon went through to whatever you call the opposite of a glamour final against Egypt, although Bikey will be suspended.
Ghana and Ivory Coast might have lost, but Chelsea, Arsenal and company don't get their players back just yet - there is still the small matter of Saturday's third place playoff.
Watch Andre Bikey's moment of madness in our African Cup of Nations video section by clicking the oddly convoluted link below!
Feel free to fast forward to the 2.33 mark: http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6347896
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Monday was dubbed 'National Sickie Day' as it was supposedly the worst day of the year for absenteeism from work.
Early Doors would have mentioned this four days ago, but the chances are you were pretending to attend to 'urgent family business' and goodness knows nobody reads this rubbish from the comfort of their own home.
(Now there's a marketing ploy waiting to happen - 'Early Doors - Slightly less boring than your dead-end job'.)
Judging by a number of events this week, it seems many of the 300,000 who skived off on Monday spent the whole week calling into work to practise their "going down with tuberculosis" voice.
Middlesbrough's famed Latin-American community came out in force yesterday to welcome Afonso Alves to Teesside with those three Brazilian staples - samba music, carnival girls and, er, chip butties.
Fans turned out in droves to create an atmosphere worthy of a Boro home game. Admittedly, row upon row of seats on the far side of the ground remained empty but, like Early Doors says, it was just like a home game.
Offices in Manchester and Devon emptied on Wednesday as fans flocked to Old Trafford to pay their respects to the victims of the Munich air crash.
A more worthy cause than the signing of a striker whose name nobody can spell, of course, but it was still surprising to see just how many people managed to sneak out for a three-hour lunch.
Newcastle set the gold standard for weekday frivolity when around 20,000 Geordies turned up at St James' one Wednesday in 2005 to welcome Michael Owen to the club.
The reappointment of Kevin Keegan brought a similar, albeit more impromptu, reaction - on hearing the news thousands of fans appeared out of nowhere, like extras in a war film, to prance around and beep their car horns outside the ground.
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A BUMPER FOREIGN VIEW: A Thai referee was beaten up by an entire team after sending off three of their players during a match to decide promotion to country's second division.
Referee Prakong Sukguamala needed 50 stitches and also broke a finger after being attacked by the Kuiburi FC squad, furious at being shown three red cards during a 4-1 loss to Kasem Bundit.
The angry players charged into Prakong's dressing room at the stadium in Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, and started to kick and punch him. They dispersed after police fired gunshots into the air.
The players then chased Prakong into the stadium's office, where the hapless official ran into a mirror, leaving him with cuts all over his body.
DEBATE OF THE DAY: The Owen/Beckham debate on the comments board was rather overtaken by a tiff over the booing at Wembley on Wednesday.
The very brave mark_cottrill stuck his head above the parapet by admitting he booed England on Wednesday night. He explains: "I haven't missed an England home game for 4 years now, I have been to away games and I will be at the France match next month, and yes I booed last night ... I have played football and I have coached football so please don't give me any of this 'you don't know the game' garbage. I go to a match to be entertained, especially a friendly where nothing is at stake. I expect some attacking football when we are at home, not constantly looking to see if David James is unmarked so we can send another off-target back pass to him."
Many users were less than sympathetic, like dansanders1, who argued: "Booing when England are underperforming against one of the worst teams in world football i.e. Andorra, is one thing. Booing England after 36 minutes in a first game under completely new management with new players and a new formation is just plain stupid and ignorant. What did you expect? England to play like Brazil? You say you're a coach....well you can't be a very good one. If you want entertainment go to the theatre."
Ouch. Still, Early Doors appreciated somebody standing up for the boo-boys.
Today's talking point: Go on, knock yourselves out - what do you reckon about this Premier League abroad idea? And where would you like to see your team play?