Watching Manchester United's 3-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday, as a dramatic weekend of Premier League football reached a fittingly crazy crescendo, one particular moment - you know which one it is - left Early Doors overcome with an unfamiliar feeling: pity.
ED thought that sympathy for professional footballers had been extinguished with the advent of the Premier League, and the huge wages it soon entailed, in 1992. How else to explain the enthusiasm with which players' shortcomings are debated across the media; schadenfreude is as integral to the Premier League as corporate branding, multi-million pound wages, gaudy vehicles and Richard Scudamore.
But this incident left ED cold; sad, even. As one man sunk to the floor in despair, praying for the Old Trafford turf to open up and take him away from the thousands of laughing Mancs and millions of TV viewers, you could not help but be overcome by pity.
Such are the depths to which Fernando Torres plummeted with that miss.
It was so incredible that Chelsea must be tempted to open another internal investigation in the wake of Old-and-slowgate, though even the combined forces of the CSI squad, Lieutenant Columbo and The Guardian's Nick Davies would struggle to get to the bottom of just how the Spaniard managed to put the ball wide with six minutes remaining on the clock.
There is a great shot, taken a split-second after Torres has pulled the trigger, that captures a look of resignation and horror on the faces of the United supporters congregated behind the goal. Having rounded David de Gea, the thought that the Chelsea striker might miss was almost literally unbelievable. But miss he did, and how.
They have seen howlers before at Old Trafford - Ryan Giggs had a similar aberration in an FA Cup tie against Arsenal, of course - but in the long history of the Premier League that moment from Torres is surely only rivalled by Ronny Rosenthal's seminal effort for Liverpool at Villa Park in 1992.
In fact, given the context of the match, the teams involved and the intense scrutiny that accompanies a player who has so singularly failed to live up to his £50 million price tag, ED suggests it may be the worst of all time.
Unconvinced? Let ED dazzle you with some science. To determine the true awfulness of a glaring miss you have to match it against what is known as the 'Sandra Redknapp scale'. Apparently the guffaws from Sandbanks could be heard as far away as Brighton on Sunday afternoon.
What arguably accentuated the pain for Torres was that at the start of the second half he had scored a lovely goal to claim only his second in Chelsea colours.
His run into the box and flick over De Gea was a moment of brilliance of the kind we came to associate with that dashing figure who so impressed during his first three seasons at Liverpool, and not the lonely figure who has somnambulated his way through games for Chelsea, seemingly with the weight of the world, and Roman Abramovich's Roubles, on his shoulders.
Just when the green shoots of recovery could be spotted, that miss plunged Torres back into his deep and alarming recession. ED only hopes it isn't as long and painful as that afflicting the world economy. In fact, come to think of it, is anyone investigating this alleged rogue trader chap for any involvement in the size of Torres's transfer fee?
After a day that started with one national newspaper declaring that the striker could be loaned to a team in his native Spain in January, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was standing by his man.
"You have to be fair. We have seen two of the world's best strikers miss crazy opportunities," he said. "Fernando with his miss and Wayne Rooney with his penalty. This is nothing dramatic but sometimes it becomes something."
The difference, of course, is that Rooney merely slipped on his approach to the spot and has scored nine goals already this season.
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson did his best to deepen the striker's misery when placing him in the same bracket as Diego Forlan, referencing a glaring miss on a pre-season tour to America in 2003. The Uruguayan is an excellent player, no doubt about it, but not a great role model for a striker struggling for goals in the Premier League.
It is perhaps unfitting that a brilliant weekend - which witnessed Arsenal's spectacular implosion at Blackburn, more evidence of Sergio Aguero's excellence, Liverpool's reckless indiscipline and a thumping goal from Luka Modric - should be remembered for one awful miss, but such is Torres's lot at present.
It is impossible to divide the man, the talent, from the narrative of spectacular failure, try as he might to break out of its oppressive constraints.
Given how he performed when he first arrived at Anfield, that miss was like watching Leonardo Da Vinci struggle to colour in between the lines, or Mozart failing to master 'London's Burning' on a recorder. Pockets of Manchester and Liverpool aside, no one wants to see genius reduced to this.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Kelvin Henry - he loves it, doesn't he. Always sticking his foot in and trying to hurt people. Why doesn't he do it when it is 0-0 in the game? He is chirping up all week saying he is going to do x,y and z to me and then he lets himself down massively by not even turning up on Saturday afternoons. He should concentrate more on playing and less on talking a good game." - Joey Barton's appearance on Goals on Sunday was always going to be good value, and his assessment of Wolverhampton Wanderers' KARL Henry was predictably withering.
FOREIGN VIEW: "The blame in my opinion lies with one of my players who was lured into a trap. In part he is responsible for the defeat, I have no problem in saying it, but the referee also shares the blame, as do I and the players. I thought that this would not happen and that nobody would get a red. You prepare and then later the response is not the one you want. I think the players have to prepare themselves. They have to have enough intelligence to avoid situations like that and have a sense of whether the referee will allow it or not. That's why I have to congratulate Levante for being clever, because they know how to provoke, simulate, not give back the ball, waste time, and that is also part of football." - Jose Mourinho gets tetchy and points the finger at Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira following an unlikely defeat to Levante on Sunday night.
COMING UP: We have all the angles covered with our extensive Premier League highlights, so you can either relive a specific game or catch up with all the goals, or indeed our pick of the top five from the weekend.