I tend to shun celebrations that don’t have at least some spiritual component, but I always make an exception for the Super Bowl. It’s a magical day, rife with camaraderie and new friends. Super Bowl parties are also, as any real fan will tell you, the absolute worst places to watch a football game.
In my experience, most of those who go to Super Bowl parties have no interest in the game itself. They are interested only in catching up on their friends’ spring break plans, or in whispering: "Pssst, how old was your husband when he started taking Viagra?"
For the record, I was 19 . . . almost 20.
OK, back to the game, which hardly involves the game at all.
First, most people are primarily interested in the grub, and will cause such a fuss over some stupid guacamole recipe, you’d think it cured cold sores or was a healthier alternative to scotch (trust me, it’s not).
Next, everyone will gather around the TV for only two things:
1) To watch the national anthem.
2) To catch the first commercial.
Now, the national anthem is a glorious song, but to my mind they haven’t changed the words in about 400 years and performers always sing it way too slowly. What you usually get with the anthem is some songbird who flitters up and down the scale, as if someone is tickling her. You could change a tire in the time it takes most singers to finish the anthem. You could cure cold sores.
Meanwhile, the first commercial — the one everybody waits for — will most likely be a total dud, though some people will laugh and clap anyway. Bob Dylan once said "you can fake an orgasm but you can’t fake laughter."
Well, he’s never met my wife’s friends.
As for the feast itself, there are really three kinds of eaters at a Super Bowl party.
The fractional eater. You may know fractional eaters from the office, where they’ll always eat half a doughnut and leave the rest. At a Super Bowl party, the fractional eater will take a quarter scoop of chili, or half a shrimp. Fractional eating is a vote against pleasure, a judgment call against a life well-lived. If I catch any fractional eaters Sunday, I will dip them in cocktail sauce and quaff them like an oyster.
The nervous eater. Nervous eaters get so distracted while eating that they don’t even realize what they’re eating, or that they’re eating at all. Admittedly, I can be a nervous eater. It’s most evident when I eat a chicken wing, complete with bone and napkin. Absorbed in a controversial replay, I once gulped down two of my own fingers, then went back for more.
The junkyard dog. This Super Bowl guest eats once a year — at your party — and consciously loads his plate till it sags in the middle, just like him. The food will be glopped together — a culinary goal-line pileup. At the last moment, a tiny tailback will fling himself up and over the entire plate. Score.
Fortunately, a Super Bowl party comes only once a year and lasts a mere 12-15 hours. Besides commercials, what you will mostly see is other guests’ butts as they stand between you and the TV, chatting away about what the refs are wearing, or the pretty green field.
One thing is clear on Super Bowl Sunday: As TV screens have gotten bigger, so have Americans’ butts.
Officially, it is now a tie. So no party this year. I want to watch the actual game.