Party Bowl

I’m pretty sure I was meant to live in another age; one of, say, a hundred and fifty years ago. The people of that time just seem to have had a better sense of reality. But I’m trapped in this age, so it is the one I must struggle to live with. One of my long-time buddies always invites me over to his place on Superbowl Sunday. With the exception of perhaps a couple of windsurfing adventures into lower Baja, I’ve watched maybe 17 Superbowls with him and a few other of his friends or former lovers. Yesterday I took time from my rather laid back retirement life style to watch the game between the 49ers and the Ravens. Football itself hasn’t changed much in the 17 years of bowl watching, but all the media and hype that surrounds, and at times smothers the game, constantly evolves into new forms of the digital reality that mainstream America is becoming.

I hear the bowl game regularly referred to as America’s biggest party. It is rather an odd party. Men out on the field making I can’t imagine how much money to beat up one another, while segues inserted rapid fire in between the ups and downs of the play show quirky people and impossible situations. One commercial shows men dressed in their wives’ clothing and whooping it up while the wife of the house is gone. I don’t know that I absorbed enough of the violence that was meant to wow me. I watched it, but didn’t get it. Others around me thought the best commercials were the ones I completely did not understand. I know I’d be more comfortable living in another age, but I saw no advertisement for how to get there, except for the one about buying a Dodge truck and becoming a farmer. That commercial, narrated by Paul Harvey, had a touch of warmth and Americana to it, but sadly, nobody I know farms any more. In California, much of the best farm land has been paved over, so that truck owners can drive around madly. How about an advertisement for underemployed young men who are angry enough with the American system of excessive nonsense that they go out and tear up the asphalt and plant broccoli, onions, carrots, and zucchini, leaving behind the bags of Doritos that the advertising executives try to shove down our throats.

Something about America’s biggest party doesn’t sit right with me, but I only have to watch it once a year. Then I am able to confirm some of my thoughts about why I feel so out of touch with this age. I did notice that the roads and stores around town really empty out on bowl Sunday. If America could keep the black leather and lace party going 365 days a year, the non-digital world might be quite delightful.

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