Imagine this: your super bowl party is all set. Snacks and finger foods are out, beer is cold, a few bottles of booze are ready next to a bucket of ice and a few mixers and you are waiting for your guests to arrive. Kickoff isn’t until 6:30pm but you told everyone to come any time after 5pm. You just didn’t expect me right at 5pm.
Here I am! Nothing in tow but my insatiable appetite for all things alcohol. But the first question that comes awkwardly crumbling from my mouth is about vegetarian options. There aren’t any, as this is supposed to be a glutinous holiday filled with bacon, chicken wings, and as many dead animal parts as we can fit on a Weber.
“I’m not actually vegetarian,” I offer to no one in particular, “I was just wondering.” I have begun.
“I’m not actually vegetarian. I was just wondering.”
I won’t waste any time getting after the booze. I’ll pour a large glass filled with vodka, no mixer or ice, and crack a beer, two-handing like it’s a basement frat party. I’m a seasoned veteran so it’ll take a while for the alcohol to lube the gates that keep the flood of anti-NFL barf from flowing. My filter is only as strong as my bladder and once the seal is broken the flow never stops, no matter who is in the way or who is in the room.
I’ll probably remain calm until there is a trigger. Maybe an image of NFL’s perennial sweetheart, Peyton Manning, calmly looking on from his box seat, his shirt secretly costing more than my rent, smiling, no longer on the field, acting as a robotic advertisement from his puppeteer, Papa John.
I’ll make mention on how he was implicated in a sexual assault case from his college years in Tennessee and how the college reacted by legally removing his name from the case and no one else. “Then he hammered all that HGH and Testosterone just to get back on the field so he could blame his own wife and smooch Papa John on national TV after ‘winning’ last year.” I will use air quotes. No one will respond and I’ll grow temporarily despondent, downing another glass of vodka with my Budweiser chaser.
“He hammered all that HGH and Testosterone just to get back on the field so he could smooch Papa John on national TV.”
“Bud is the official beer of the NFL,” I’ll offer and I get a taker, now that more and more people have shown up and the game is about to start. But the conversation will be cut short as I mention how much the NFL and the owners get to profit from having a beer as their main corporate sponsor yet NFL players cannot do any alcohol sponsorship because “think of the children.” I use air quotes again.
This is the first time NFL hypocrisy is mentioned but it certainly won’t be the last. I then dramatically turn my back for the national anthem and hum “I’ll Follow You Down” by the Gin Blossoms, interrupting as the rockets red glare bursts in air to ask you for some “decent gin.”
Halftime rolls around and Lady Gaga is gyrating explicitly, wearing next to nothing. Everyone will be eating except me, who will use the opportunity to level up in drunkenness. I wonder aloud what Lady Gaga has to do with the NFL and how their pretend moral compass is suddenly and very publicly broken every time a pop star graces the field with extreme depravity.
They would like to entice a younger audience to watch the half time show, watch the Super Bowl and increase ratings, while collecting paychecks selling faux sexual intercourse and hiding behind “The Shield.”
“Ah, come on, it’s just entertainment,” someone stupidly will offer. “And so is the NFL,” I respond, “And yet your face is painted with Patriot colors and you own a jersey with another man’s name on the back.” I shake my head as I lurch forward for more booze, commenting on how his jersey is neatly tucked into his trousers and how the gin is certainly nowhere near decent.
“Your face is painted with Patriot colors and you own a jersey with another man’s name on the back.”
In the third quarter, I’ll launch briefly into a soliloquy about how NFL players do not receive medical benefits after they exit the league, entering into medical care with several pre-existing conditions that raise their premiums to exaggeratory levels and although some have made millions in their career and should be able to afford it, most do not, causing them to hope investments pay off so they don’t have to sell cars in their hometown in their fifties to help pay for medical benefits and of course, rent. No one listens and no one cares. “I know. I know,” I say double dipping a chip, the only thing I’ve eaten since I arrived; “they’re not real people.”
It’s the fourth quarter and the game sucks. One team is ahead by too many points for the other to catch up.
I look around at the defeated bunch of buzzed party goers and say “All this for only eleven minutes per game of football. Probably less in the “Stupid” Bowl with all the media time outs. Did you know that? Only eleven minutes of actual football action per game!”
“Only eleven minutes of actual football action per game!”
At this point everyone is avoiding me; I’m visibly drunk and slurring. Everyone wants me to leave so they can talk about me. I drone on, “Keep participating in making the rich richer watching your football. The divide is growing. 99% of the wealth in America is owned by 1% of the population. You’re giving away your hard earned money to thirty-two of them every Sunday.”
Now I’m hot. I take off my pants and shirt, head to the bathroom and violently vomit. To the party’s chagrin, I return to sleep pants-less on the couch, my last sentence is slurred and barely audible. “They stole the money from breast cancer awareness. My puke is better than that. My puke sounds like a Lady Gaga song.” I drift off to slumber.
Don’t worry. I’ll be gone by the time you get up in the morning for work. And then you’ll have to read about how crappy your gin was on your lunch break.