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Right about now, you should have your plans locked down for the Super Bowl, choosing from the four options you have on how to spend the big day.
a. You can attend the actual game.
b. You can watch in a bar with a bunch of strangers.
c. You can catch it by yourself.
d. You can go to (or host) a Super Bowl party.
I’ve tried all four.
Technically, I went to Super Bowl XXI (Giants 39, Broncos 20).
When I lived in California, that year’s Super Bowl was held in Pasadena, about six hours from where I lived.
Five of us headed to Pasadena, with but two tickets in hand. We decided that the married couple among us would go to the game.
Chiefly, we came to that decision based on the fact that the husband’s father had given the tickets to him, not to us.
The plan was for the rest of us was to pick up some tickets from scalpers.
We found some purveyors of passes, but we were aghast to discover that these scoundrels wanted $150 per ticket. (Keep in mind that this was 1987, and $150 was a king’s ransom back then.)
We figured to hang out in the parking lot, revisiting the issue at halftime. After all, these scalpers, so we thought, would be giving the ducats away at that point.
We were right if you consider “giving away” the equivalent of “They’re still $150, Pal. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.”
With these fiends unwilling to budge, and with me living on Army pay, I ended up with the odd experience of watching the Super Bowl on a nine-inch portable TV while a nearby crowd of 101,000 people provided the background noise.
I’ve also watched the big game in a bar with a bunch of strangers.
Without going into too much detail here, it was a pretty pathetic experience.
My faith tells me that there is such a place as Purgatory. My experience tells me that such a place could be found in Manhattan, Kansas, at a joint called the Dugout, on January 22, 1989 (Super Bowl XXIII: 49ers 20, Bengals 16).
I’ve also watched the Super Bowl by myself.
There were only two real benefits to such an experience.
First, there was no need for any pretense of decorum.
That is, the civil use of napkins and silverware pretty much became moot.
Second, when your team loses the Super Bowl on a missed field goal at the end of the game, there are no witnesses to your rolling on the floor whilst ripping pillows apart with your teeth.
Not that I did that, of course (Super Bowl XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19--Rip, rip).
Finally, there is the party option.
I’ve attended Super Bowl parties and I’ve hosted them.
As a side note, the quality of these parties changes as one transitions from bachelorhood to marital life.
As a single man, my Super Bowl party set-ups consisted primarily of a keg of beer, some plastic cups, chicken wings, bratwursts, chili, hot dogs, hamburgers, knockwurst, smoked sausage and a block of cheese.
As a married man, the drink lineup now consists of bottled beer and some soft drinks. The rest of the fare pretty much remains the same.
Attending a Super Bowl party is OK, for the most part.
The good part is, your level of effort is minimal. You might bring something along for the buffet table, and you can pretty easily escape before being pressed into clean-up duty.
The down side, though, is you have little input into the menu. Therefore, you are at the mercy of whatever cruel vegan or vegetarian happens to be running things.
Have you ever had a tofu dog? Great Caesar’s ghost, man. It is not to be wished upon anyone.
The second drawback is that you risk not having a primo viewing location.
The smart player shows up early and jockeys himself into the best seat in the house.
Nature, the duration of the game and the availability of liquid refreshment, however, conspire to force the crafty guest into a bathroom break.
That’s when some other guest will exploit your urgency by nabbing the vacant seat.
There is no such thing as calling “gypsies” on your Super Bowl perch, unless you happen to be lord of the manor.
And have the royal garb.
The wife provided such finery when she made a regal cape for yours truly. She crafted the garment from a bunch of those purple velvet satchels that contain bottles of Crown Royal. We have a friend who worked at an ABC store, who provided them (the bags, not the bottles, alas) to us.
That cape marked my royal perch whenever we had a Super Bowl party.
Now, that’s a wife who can make you feel like a king.