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          One of my fondest memories with my friends is when we had a Super Bowl party. There's just something magical about that time of year where all the crazed males go to one doomed persons house (Nate was the unlucky one for the sacrifice, this year), eat a healthy diet of chips (with some protein filled dip, too) and flat root beer. We all got there, with much cheerful yelling and rushing to the TV. But first, before we started, we did an inventory check.

          "Okay, here we go. You got the chips?"


          "Moldy dip left over from Thanksgiving?"


          "Flat Root beer?"


          "Flat Dr. Pepper for backup?"




          "Nature's Hoover Vacuum. Drop anything, and you will never see it again."

          "Gotcha. Check."

          And we were set. We all sat down in front of the TV with a screen the size of an ant's speeding ticket, with only a few of us being sucked down into the bad spots in the couch, never to be seen again.

          "Al? Where'd ya go?"

          The game was supposed to start at 3:00, so there was much aggravated yelling when the game started thirteen seconds late. But it finally showed the stadium, packed with people who had better seats than we did. The camera ran past the cheerleaders for a second, instantly getting every guy in the room up on their feet cheering. Somebody finally mentioned that we should wait until the game started to get excited, and we took that to thought (we also fed him to the couch for spoiling our fun).

          Then, the starting lineup charged out on the field, running over cheerleaders, cameramen and coaches from both teams.

          "Oops! Sorry, coach."

          Some friends and I bet on which player would trip when he came charging out onto the field, enthusiastically pumping his fists. None fell, much to our disappointment. I lost about five bucks.

          After about 17 years, the rest of the team came out (This is a gross exaggeration of the time we waited. The true time was 14 years.) and then the second team ran out (there went another five bucks). When the teams were finally finished, a bunch of fireworks exploded from the top of the stadium, and all the teams charged back into the locker rooms. Nate said that he saw a number of fans in the seats near the fireworks catch fire and run screaming around in circles until they either were doused by soda thrown by other fans or fell off the stadium's edge. I didn't believe him.

          "Hey! Jim! Would you look at what fell on our car!"

          "Well, hell! Don't just stand there! Strap it down! Make a nice hood ornament!"

          Then it went to a commercial break, so everyone mellowed out for a moment, talking idly. At this moment, Nate's Dad came in and asked if Nate was getting the commercials.

          "The commercials?" I asked, turning around. "Oh! You're taping the game!"

          His dad shook his head. "No. Forget the game, I just want the commercials."

          I stared blankly at him, mumbling very quietly: "Not...sense...making..." Thankfully, before I got a hernia, a friend explained.

          "Well, y'see, this time of the year, when the Super Bowl goes on, that's the time when the people make the most expensive commercials and show 'em," he said while chewing on a chip the size of Kansas. "So, here's where they have the best commercials and it's kinda smart to tape 'em all. Save 'em and watch 'em later. Um, pass the dip."

          In some bizarre, twisted way, this actually made sense.

          "Don't you remember the ones last year? The Budweiser frogs, now they have the Budweiser lizards, who hate the frogs. They're probably gonna show a couple of those. And there was that one car commercial where all those birds were flying in a flight squadron like bomber planes, trying to poop on this one car. Remember that?"

          Believe it or not, I did. The birds kept flying after the car, with thousands of white splats hitting the road, stop signs, dogs, everything except the car. I am deathly afraid that when I am 80 years old, lying on my deathbed, I will have a flashback to that commercial. I won’t be able to remember my kids’ names, but I will remember that commercial in perfect detail.

          This conversation was cut short, because it went back to the game. We all cheered as the two teams lined up for the kickoff. And . . . the ball was in the air! We all watched the first kick of the Super Bowl, land right into the arms of a runner, who took two steps and was creamed. We cheered again. This was good, brutal, American football!

          So, the game progressed, with the dogs running and hiding when we started yelling at one play after another, then going for some more dip. The dogs only came back because of the food. I think they were evolving, because at one point, two dogs stood guard while another made off with the food. It would have been amazing if we hadn't been so focused on the game.

          We constantly yelled helpful advice to the players, such as: "Oh, come on, you loser! You call that a pass?" and "You're supposed to CATCH the ball, idiot!" It was really a pity they couldn't hear us. After all, a true sports fan is a guy who'll yell at not seeing an open wide receiver 30 yards away, go into the parking lot and not be able to find his own car.

          Then we all laughed at the moronic players who were sitting on the sidelines and finally noticed the camera that had been aimed at them for hours. Whenever a player does this, they always just talked about how they had "Felt the Vibe" on that last play, and knew what to do. "God had come down and shown them the way" and they caught the pass and made a touchdown. Throughout all of it, the cameraman never put in any sound while he was filming, so you just saw a sweaty player sitting there yapping away to the deaf ears of the camera.

          And another thing I'd like to see happen just once. If someone wins the game, makes a good catch or wins an award, they always thank god. God helped them out. God told them what to do. Just once I'd like to see somebody say: "Yeah, we were ahead, until Jesus made me fumble!"

          At halftime we all took a break and thundered to the kitchen, raiding the refrigerator and cupboards for anything edible. Someone made the discovery of a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper in the refrigerator, that we had not know about since (gasp) the starting of the game. With a rallying cry of "CAFFEINE!", we hurled ourselves at the soda, completely squashing the poor boy. Oh, well. No one I knew.

          Nate's sister called from downstairs that dinner was ready and we all froze, soda spilling from our cups, froth dribbling from our mouths. With cheers and yells, we leaped off the ten foot balcony to the downstairs, barely even spilling our sodas. We rumbled towards the couch, to reclaim what was ours (at least until the end of the game) and flopped down on it, flattening two dogs and a goose.

          The game resumed. It started heating up, with turnovers occurring as often as Mr. Rogers says "boys and girls", helmets getting jarred loose, and players flying in all directions. It came down to the fourth quarter, and by this time, we were all sitting riveted to our seats and could not have been removed by any means of force (crowbar, backhoe, King Kong, Barny, etc.). It was tied, and our team was on defense, desperately trying to keep the opponent from scoring. We knocked them away a number of times, until it was 2nd and Goal.

          Then, like slow motion, the play that meant the game occurred. The word "hike" was screamed by the hoarse quarterback, and the two lines of players the size of Bobo the Gorilla slammed into each other, grunting in exertion, and sweating profusely. The quarterback faded back, then handed off to the running back. The running back took a few steps forward, faked, then simply walked, untouched, through a gap the size of Milwaukee that suddenly opened up in our team's players. Our jaws hit the floor as the referee lifted his arms and signaled a touchdown. A second enemy player came up and they saluted each other, then ran about raising their arms in victory.

          Enter helpful comments.

          "Oh, come ON! What's going on?!? Did they pay off the players, or something?!?"

          "What was that?!? Looked like Moses parting the football players!"

          "And that salute?!? That's it, smack the guy in the face! Do our team a favor!"

          Amidst all the anguished yelling, Nate held up his arms. "Wait, guys! We still have a chance! We have...25 seconds left!"

          Immediately the screams of defeat were replaced by screams of hope and prayer. We had the ball! Things could get better! They didn't!

          We lost the ball, and the nasty other team ran around cheering as they let the last seconds on the clock run down. The whole enemy team ran around on the field, cheering, laughing, and kissing camera people. Our team sat dejectedly on the sidelines, watching in defeat. A few of them in the back were playing a game of tiddlywinks and I doubt they even knew the game was over.

          We all groaned and lay about, protesting at the top of our lungs. The couch claimed a few more, and the dogs ate the last of the bean dip, and started making little burping and farting noises off in the corner. Nate's mom finally came up and herded us all up like grumbling sheep out the door. Nate and I went to the door last and watched as they all gave three cheers for the great guy who let us use his house for our party of destruction. We watched as they stumbled off, attempting to get home, but making it as far as the bushes before they fell unconscious or started throwing up. Funny, I never thought you could get drunk on too much soda. Who knows? Maybe they were sick from the bean dip.

          I left quickly as Nate's mother yelled from inside and there was the sound of dogs barfing. Nate waved to me quickly and I walked casually down his driveway and back home, dodging and stepping around the occasional figure lying in the bushes hiccupping. I sincerely hoped Nate's dad didn't back the car over the bodies lying sprawled in his driveway the next morning.


          "Dammit! What the hell was that?"

          I smiled and walked off into the darkness. Ahhh, America. Any country with a sport like football can’t be all bad.

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