Gluttony is the Only Winner



13810 135th Ave, Jamaica, NY

Neighborhood: Jamaica, Queens

Well, Super Bowl Sunday is done, or so they tell me.

I was oblivious to the hype and I had no idea that Super Bowl Sunday had arrived until Saturday night, when someone asked me where I was going to watch Super Bowl XL. I thought “XL” meant “Extra Large,” a size that, over the years, I have come to embrace. And I wouldn’t have known even one of the teams playing in Super Bowl XL if my friend Sister Rita, who lives in Pittsburgh, hadn’t signed her email “Go Steelers!” She told me that the “big game” was being played in Detroit, so I only assumed that the other team was from Detroit, the Tigers or the Pistons, the Edsels or some other “Mo Town” group.

It was my son Ian, the one who roots for the Yankees and bets on horse races, who informed me that the other team in the Super Bowl XL was from Washington.

“The Senators?” That was a team I remembered from my days when I collected bubble gum cards. “They were never good enough to win anything.” But he said it was the other Washington, the one out West somewhere, where it rains all the time and they have sightings of Sasquatch. “Not DC. Seattle,” he said.

“I didn’t know that Seattle had a football team,” I said, “just pine trees with space needles!”

Despite all the pressure to conform, to be a participant, instead of watching the extra large Super Bowl, I opted to sit there for as many hours watching the “Monk” marathon, reruns of a B-list TV comedy series. But I didn’t have to see a single commercial, Super Bowl XL or otherwise, thanks to TIVO. I was able to fast-forward through them all.

For my friend Gary, who is a “real sport” and the person I suspect of corrupting Ian and turning him to the Yankee dark side, Super Bowl Sunday, whatever the number, is an event beside which his wedding anniversary pales. He caters a party every year.

“The boys are coming over about 2 PM with the beer and tequila,” he announced. “I went to a new caterer who did it up big. Five varieties of chips and enough dip to float a boat. Cool Ranch, Post-Soviet Union Russian, and my own secret Onion Blue Cheese Surprise. Three hundred chicken wings imported from Buffalo because the Bills don’t need them.” Whoever they happen to be, I thought. He was trying to lure me there. “There are individual pizzas this year,” he said. “You can add your own toppings! Are you interested?”

But I wasn’t, and I didn’t – munch a chip, or mix a dip, or chip a tooth on bad take-out. Although I did manage to consume peanut butter, that new Smart Balance with Omega 3s, both smooth and chunky, that I ate directly from the jars with a spoon. So while Adrian Monk was solving murders, touching parking meters and straightening museum pictures, running through hand wipes, I did down several hot chocolates from the eight-variety flavor carton I won at the office Christmas party, from right out of the packets, without the necessity of adding milk.

Does that make me un-American? A fringe person? A candidate for being wiretapped? For having all my emails scrutinized and my personal Google searches logged and poured over, exposed for all to see? Does that make me suspect? Perhaps. Because I wear in public a sweatshirt that says “Hug A Poet” instead of “Dallas Cowboys” does that make me likely to be carted off in handcuffs like Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mom who lost her only son in Iraq? After all, besides not watching Super Bowl XL, I am opposed to one more American dying in Iraq! So am I now a prime contender for “rendition”? Am I likely to be yanked off the street into the back of an unmarked van by men in black and spirited off to some gray-market country and tortured?

It makes me wonder. And I hope the commotion I hear on the steps outside my apartment is from my neighbors celebrating the victory of their Super Bowl XL champions, and not the “Thought Police” coming to take me away!

Oy vey, when is baseball season going to start?

Go Mets!


Joseph E. Scalia, Author/Artist: FREAKs, Pearl and No Strings Attached; Scalia vs. the Universe: Watercolors From My Different Other Life

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