Bumptious: Watching the Super Bowl with the uninformed

Super Bowl Sunday. It’s gorgeous. I blew off church, homework, the gnawing feeling in my stomach reminding me of last night’s events and my own better judgment to sit with my friends on a couch for several hours inhaling what used to be potatoes before they were smothered in artery-clogging, bubbling, boiling oil; drowning myself in carbonated, non-alcoholic (it was, after all, “the day after”) beverages; and letting my eyes wander on a glass screen taking in the most gorgeous display of brute force in advertising of the entire year. Ahhh, a good day to be an American.

Truly, is there anything more American than getting fat and watching people who aren’t fat tackling each other, and, further, every few minutes, being entertained with the lovely figure of a blond singer chanting in a semi-reverent way to a beverage? Is there anything more American than observing Terry Bradshaw belting out his rendition of a great Beatles song with a British knight in a manner reminiscent of Tom Cruise screaming along to “Free Falling” in Jerry Maguire? Again, show me anything more American than John Madden scribbling all over the football field until it resembles that famous Monet piece, “Pretty Yellow Lilies When I’m Drunk.” Okay, you’ll probably show me that Irish band’s incredible halftime show, and you’re probably right — that was awesome.

So, realizing that yes, I am an American, and thus noting my obligations, I climbed down two flights of stairs and planted myself on a worn, smelly couch in front of a television supplied with stolen cable and watched the game.

I failed to mention earlier the most necessary of American obligations: whenever watching the Super Bowl, the American football fan is to be accompanied by at least one uninformed and completely ignorant viewer. Not to discriminate by gender, but these people can often be found amongst the fairer sex. So, having acquired this necessary accompaniment, twenty or so of us decided to watch the game. At least we thought we were.

I had begun my thinking process at six o’clock, after having returned from Bistro Night at Dodd, and had worked my way onto the couch by 6:20, prescribed kickoff time. Thirty-seven hours and 22 minutes later, including the parts where global time was suspended for commercial breaks, the ball was finally kicked off. Several minutes after kickoff, one of the enlightened football fans entered, having been delayed by a growing fever that would eventually become pneumonia. Opening the door, she tore off her sixteen layers of outerwear to reveal, in its royal blue glory, a New York Giants jersey. As this had been the first sign that we might get to watch football tonight, another girl – we’ll call her “the princess” – became very excited. Jumping up and down, she excitedly asked, “Who are the Giants? Are they a football team? But they’re not playing!” Immediately confused, she sat down on the floor and examined the carpet. This was a sign of things to come.

The most exciting thing for most of these people was the first commercial break. The Giants fan and I had leaned forward to watch the kickoff, the cameras flashing and John Madden drawing pictures in the corners of the screen. But when the Britney Spears Pepsi commercial came on, the rest in attendance jumped up and down and rushed the television screen to get a better glimpse of this historic event. By the way, that commercial sucked. When we returned to the game, the princess had a new comment regarding the football players. She commented that Marshall Faulk was out of shape, and that he had too much fat. Emphasizing this point when Faulk took off on a short run, the princess jumped up and exclaimed, “Jiggle, jiggle, my butt is loose!”

From this point until halftime, the most exciting thing for my viewing companions was the most recent edition of Cosmo. One article warned of the threat of non-consensual sex during sleep. This discussion eventually irked one person who was actually concerned with the tightly-knotted football game and with the Patriots’ shot at actually winning. Finally, this viewer burst, asking the girls discussing the article to please shut up about sexual encounters while napping.

The game finally started to interest my ADD-afflicted companions when the St. Louis Rams tied it up during the waning moments of the game. They put down the Cosmo, stopped reading the nutritional information on the potato chips they were eating and started noticing that something was happening during those “football breaks.” After John Madden had announced that this game might be the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, the princess, completely serious, asked, “Can they go into overtime?” I approved so much; she was beginning to question a man who was afraid to fly – who instead chooses to drive on the highway in a bus without seatbelts – found more fun in circling statistics than in talking about the game, and whose life ambition is to be the Dick Vitale of professional football (no offense, John, but if you’re aspiring to be that annoying ACC-shill, you’re done).

In the end, after the Patriots had won, the room was quieted, the chips were cleaned up and commercials began to be rerun. People dispersed, and “Malcolm in the Middle” quietly came on. Across the hall, the showing of “Playboy Playmates on Fear Factor” was drawing more attention than most of the football game had. As I was sitting there alone, reading for class, still feeling that gnawing shouldn’t-have-done-what-I-did-last-night feeling in my stomach, aggravated by acidic beverages and salty foods, another fan walked in, saying, “I still don’t get that FedEx commercial, just because he did that thing with his hand, his idea was better?”

Ahhh, the Super Bowl. It’s good to be an American.