Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl stupor

Super Bowl Sunday is always kind of a strange day. There's a holiday air about it all, but no fun presents or turkey dinner. The kind of food we do have -- pizza, queso dip and tortilla chips, cheeseball and crackers, M&Ms -- is the kind of food you eat a lot of quickly and then feel bloated and slightly bililous. I hear that some people eat veggies and fat-free yogurt dip on Super Bowl Sunday. I want to know who they are so that I can feed them a box of corn starch and then sit on 'em.

The commercials have not been all that entertaining, especially the one about the men getting hit in the head with bowling balls, electrocuted, etc. That one was a Pepsi Max ad, I was just informed. I'm so glad I'm a Coke drinker. Although I did laugh at the Dorito commercial about the "crystal ball," although now that I think about it, that one featured a man getting tagged in the goodies with a snow globe, so what do I know? I know that there have been too many car commercials, that's what I know.

Jennifer Hudson sang an absolutely wonderful and moving jazzy version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was just beautiful.

As for the game itself, my husband cherishes a bitter hatred for the Steelers. I'm not sure why this is. I just know that the very mention of their name brings a curl to his lip and a string of uncomplimentary adjectives that would make us all blush if I typed them.

We used to go to Super Bowl parties, back before the girls were born. Then we stopped for a few years while they were babies, finding it easier just to stay home than to lug two tiny little kids home in the cold. When they were both preschool aged, we did Super Bowl parties again for a couple of years, but soon after that, Meelyn started school and we had to be home early to get her to bed.

These days, we generally just stay at home together, unless we go to Nan and Pop's house. They invited us two years ago when the Colts played (and won), but last year, they were in Florida for the Super Bowl, although as I recall, the weather was too awful for us to have gone to their house anyway.

Years ago, I would have been glued to the television, what with Bruce Springsteen playing the half time show. I have seen Bruce Springsteen in concert twice, once at the long-lost Market Square Arena with my boyfriend Jim, and once at the recently imploded Hoosier Dome (I never could bring myself to call it the RCA Dome) with my friend Julie. That was the concert where they handed everyone a little American flag to wave when the Boss sang "Born in the USA" and I said to Julie, "I don't think people have ever listened to the words of that song."

"Sssssshhhh," Julie said, looking around furtively to see if anyone had heard me. She, Beth and Hoot had already been treated to a lecture on the anti-American sentiments Bruce was expressing in that song, which made waving a tiny little flag in the air kind of a silly thing to do. I had, in return, been treated to their retorts, which varied on a theme of "Oh, shut up already. I can't hear the radio" and "Do you absolutely have to ruin every single song in the world for me?"

She convinced me by a series of severe looks and jabs in my rib cage to stop talking so that we wouldn't inur the wrath of the crowd around us, criticizing the Boss at his own concert. But we nearly got in trouble anyway when I almost set alight the coat of the man standing next to me with my Bic butane while standing on my chair and singing loudly during "Born to Run." He was not appreciative.

That was when I liked Bruce Springsteen, back before he felt the need to express his political views to the general public. Nothing can send me off a music, television or movie star more quickly than a generous airing of their opinions, most of which verge on the elitist and socialist, in my opinion. Although Tom Cruise alienated me forever when he ragged on Brooke Shields for not just "getting over" her post-partum depression.

"Yeah, get over it, Brooke," I said snidely to my husband. "And while Mr. Scientology is at it, why doesn't he tell all those people on dialysis to grow a new kidney? And why can't a diabetic just tell their pancreas to stop slacking off and make some insulin? And cancer patients should tell their destructive cells to stop multiplying. Then everything would be good in the world, wouldn't it? And L. Ron Hubbard would bless us, every one."

"I'm on your side, not Tom's," my husband said with great weariness.

"I'm never seeing another one of his movies," I said defiantly.

"The only Tom Cruise movie you've ever liked was Jerry Maguire."

I pondered that. "You're right. There's always one scene in just about all his movies that shows him running down a street like an idiot. Arms pumping, jaw set in steely determination.... it drives me mad."

"The Firm was bad for that."

"Yes, and he still owes me six dollars for Cocktail, plus the ninety minutes of my life I'll never get back again."

Anyway, back to Bruce Springsteen, there are two schools of thought about entertainers expressing their political opinions. The first is the one that says that they should use their celebrity power to influence their fans and the second is the school that spoke eloquently to the Dixie Chicks when they criticized President George W. Bush on foreign soil and said they were ashamed to be Texans, and it went like this: SHUT UP AND SING.

I think Bruce Springsteen should shut up and sing. I mean, I'm sure he's a perfectly nice person to talk to and I've heard that he's a generous and loyal friend, but I just wish he'd remember that while he may be the Boss, he is not God. He's an entertainer, not a commentator.

It is the third quarter and my husband is frustrated with the game and with the sportscasters' obvious favoritism toward the Steelers, so he has just asked me if I want to watch an episode of Fringe with him, which I think I'll do.

(One hour later....)

We came back to the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

What a total rip-off. The shouting in our living room reached high decible levels, maybe not as high as The Who at Leeds, but close. Veeeeery close. When Larry Fitzgerald was making that brilliant run, we all screamed so loudly that Wimzie ran upstairs to hide under Meelyn's bed. In the opinion of my four immediate family members, the Cardinals got shafted by the bias of the sportscasters and the criminal blindness of the referees. Because Kurt Warner's arm? It was so going forward and that was not a fumble.

So we are very upset, even me, who doesn't really have a clue what happened or how. I just know I'm mad about it. Susie, Carol and Kayte will be rolling their eyes at that, I'm sure.

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