Every year I look forward to the Super Bowl, and every year it's like eating a TV dinner -- always looks better in the picture.
Nothing, not even Armageddon, could live up to the hoopla. The pregame show begins three weeks before kickoff, when neckless men begin dissecting the games, going backward week by week till they finally get to the beginning...
"Football dates back to the 1800s, when a soccer player decided, on a lark, to pick up the ball and run. Opponents tackled him to the ground, beat him silly, and gave birth to the sport we love today."
As much as I enjoy football -- well, the 12 minutes of actual play time -- maybe we're watching a little too closely...
The Patriots are more likely to score on odd weeks when Aries is in the seventh house. For further analysis, we go to Shirley MacLaine. Shirley?
And we gobble it up, gimme, gimme, gimme. We need the puffery, the sensation, some amazing, worldwide thing. And the footballogists always deliver.
"For breakfast Peyton eats Cheerios, which are made of rolled oats -- the same oats that the opposing coach farmed as a schoolboy in Idaho! A fateful match-up indeed."
Then come the interviews with players who can barely support their heads for elephantiasis of the ego. And though they struggle with basic inflections of the language, we listen with 300 microphones.
"How does it feel to be going to the big game?"
"For me to put it in words, you know, it's like, damn..."
Some of them praise the Lord for aiding their victory, and it's a little-known fact that most murders and train wrecks occur because God was helping others win football games.
I like to flip between pregame shows to hear from a cross section of experts: William Shatner, Eminem, Sideshow Bob. Brittney Spears even ventured an opinion. Turns out that she only knows about tight ends. So it goes.
You want spectacle? The Super Bowl delivers fighter planes and drill teams and fireworks and clowns and that deaf woman doing dance interpretation through the smoke. Spare no expense.
Somewhere in the distance a military unit is being pummeled by enemy fire...
"Where the hell are those fighter planes?"
"Sir, they're buzzing a football game, sir."
Finally, the ambassador of Zimbabwe tosses the official Super Bowl coin (Taco Bell is heads, Pepsi tails), the kicker boots the pigskin, and slowly we remember that football consists mostly of elphantiacal men untangling from three-yard runs. It's so predictable that we pee during the game so that we DON'T MISS COMMERCIALS.
Half of us don't even care who wins. We just want the blue team to score two safeties before the half, or the period, or whatever it is, so that our square wins the lottery. Before you know it, a field goal kicker is called away from his cigarette to decide the game and we are left to face the cold, harsh reality: Football will never fill our void.
It is a parade for which we wave our flags and shout like the cheerleaders who themselves aren't even watching the game! And as the last millionaire somersaults by, we realize that nothing has been accomplished. We're still fighting the same wars and dealing with pollution and giving airtime to Donald Trump.
Maybe if the losing team were to forfeit its salary or be kicked out of the country or give us all a back rub, then we wouldn't feel so dumb holding our beer can smudged in veggie dip.
It reminds me of Tom Robbins's "Skinny Legs and All," where an exotic dancer was to reveal the meaning of life through her "Dance of the Seven Veils"... on Super Bowl Sunday. Some men tried to run back and forth between the football game and the dance; others watched the dance as best they could, sweating from the conflict. And for me to put it in words, you know, it's like, damn.