Sunday, January 30, 2011


First of all, let me first and foremost apologize to my brother for tying him up with the front yard hose. It was really foolish, I was just trying to copy that older kid from up the block who did the same thing to many of us while chanting, “You can’t hogtie me!” It seemed like a good thing to do at the time.

Of course, as we all know, you decided to try to hop into the house whilst well contained within the rubber tubing. Who knew I could tie such a good knot? I certainly never did during my short tenure as a Boy Scout. You got as far as the garage before falling, and wouldn’t you know, that rubber kept cinching up like high quality Chinese handcuffs. You couldn’t put your hands out to break the fall. Say hello to a nice chipped tooth, courtesy of your older brother.

Sorry, dude. Even though more than thirty-five years have passed, it remains high on the Top Ten List of Things I Shouldn’t Have Done When I Was Younger. In annual voting it regularly beats out “trimming the cat’s whiskers with scissors” and “asking people to call me Bobby Sugar.”

I’ve spent these past 3+ decades trying to make it up to Scott. I helped him empty a storage unit when he moved back to San Jose from Chico after college, even touching an old and greasy Human Crouton costume. I have stood in the street during Super Bowl parties playing catch with a football, even though I prefer playing with a Frisbee. I even agreed to go on a long bicycle ride in San Francisco and Marin to help celebrate his impending wedding though I was woefully out of shape.

The one thing I haven’t done lately, though, is that throwing and catching of the football. Scott and I haven’t watched a lot of regular season profession football together over the years, but we almost always congregated for the Super Bowl to dine on chili dogs and beer. Then last year we were faced with a lack of viewing options.

Both Scott and I were strictly antenna reception fellas, and when the digital revolution or the high def takeover or whatever you want to call it happened in mid-2009, our TVs went fuzzy. We both declined the offers to buy converter boxes or upgrade our television sets or subscribe to cable or satellite service. Come early 2010, we realized we couldn't watch the Super Bowl at either of our homes, and we ended up doing our own thing.

A year has gone by, and Scott and I still do not have TV viewing at home. Our wives and our children (even the rebellious teenagers) have been dragged along in this little neo-Luddite experiment, some willing, some not so much. Super Bowl XLV—as it is called because of their silly Roman nomenclature—will see Scott and me, for the second year in a row, watching it separately.

Like much of the country, we were always willing to celebrate the final game of the professional football season as some sort of national holiday. We watched the extensive (and mostly unnecessary) pregame shows, and we watched as much for the commercials as we did for the sporting contest (unless our nearly hometown 49ers were playing, in which case the heck with the commercials!), and we watched because it gave us a chance to consume copious amounts of chili dogs and beer.

Never mind the fact that sometimes the spectacle did not match the propaganda. A terrible Blues Brothers halftime show in 1997, games that were dull throughout or blowouts by early in the second half, missing the funniest commercials for a bathroom visit or a run to the fridge for another beer. And of course the infamous wardrobe malfunction in 2004.

After the annual celebration, we stumbled away, back to real life. In a stupor from too much food and drink, too much excitement, too much noise and light, too much football. It is horrible to think that we succumbed to the hype year after year, and yet I know if either of us had a TV right now that could show the game next Sunday we would be at his house or mine, sitting in front of the boob tube for hours.

‘Cause it’s the Stupor, I mean Super, Bowl. And it is what we do. Or at least it is what we used to do.

Go 49ers! What? They’re not playing this year?

Never mind.

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