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The Super Bowl Is for Restraint
Or you could ignore it entirely!
You may not know this, because everything’s all topsy-shitty and hard to keep track of these days, but it turns out the Super Bowl is on Sunday. I understand how a body could be caught unawares and not just because it’s already hard enough to orient ourselves to the calendar during the pandemic, and this is before it becomes near impossible in mid-March, when we start writing the date as “2 March 18” and British people think we’re saying “March 2, 2018,” but we really mean “March 18, the second fucking time through.”
So there’s the usual boring what is calendar? factor, which is compounded by people increasingly turning to alternative news sources—you could, for example, be on an all-advertising media diet, in which case you’d be forgiven for not knowing they were even holding a Super Bowl this year and thinking instead that it had finally been supplanted by the Big Game. Lucky thing your pal Will went to magazine reading school and used to write for a sports blog and is therefore perfectly positioned to report that the Super Bowl and the Big Game are in fact alternative terms for the same damn thing, the former being favored by normal people and the latter deployed for some cowardly reason by the good and other folks paid to promote Twisted Mike’s Nacho Cheese Flavor Hard Seltzer (Ultra) in conjunction with America’s favorite brain-trauma reality show.
My own personal sports head can get pretty meaty, but I always respect and often envy people who just don’t care about strangers playing games on TV. They must get so many jigsaw puzzles done, and I think that’s great. The only time I roll my eyes is when the “sportsball” people take great pride in not knowing how many touchdowns it takes to win a baseball game. Ignorance is often fine—there are so many THINGS out there, no one can keep track of them all—but rarely confers moral or even cultural high ground. This is why I no longer brag about my utter cluelessness regarding different types of cryptocurrencies and french fries. There is necessary refuge in selective ignorance, but that’s not the same as virtue.
I take no pleasure in reporting that I learned who in the toilet Morgan Wallen is only after his music was taken off all 400 Cumulus Media radio stations earlier this week when he was caught saying the n-word on tape. He’s by some measure—presumably either hat or cattle—the biggest new country guy since Garth Brooks! I should have known who he was. But if I can’t take pride in the cultural blind spot, I can still take pleasure in not having wasted time learning to sing along to songs that are now banned from the radio. Good riddance, Morgo, and fuck you.
Since I’ve never been a big country music fan or any size bachelorette, Nashville hadn’t appealed to me until a couple years ago when they invented the startling concept of making chicken spicy. So for that reason and because direct flights from Boston are cheap, Em and I finally got around to going last Christmas, when we guessed there’d be relatively fewer of those 10-headed party bikes that look designed to inspire the specific nightmare of “what if the Boston Dynamics murder robots puked .31 BAC blood on you after they ran you over?” Anyhow, we had two blasts, and we’ll go back. Nashville is objectively cool, plus I like to think I can have fun anywhere that has three or more bars within walking distance of bed. You ever been to Greenfield, Mass., population 17,456? Start at the Victoria, then have lunch at the People’s Pint, and then head back to the Vic. (Greenfield has a handful of other bars, too, but those two are the only three I’ve ever needed.)
I wish I’d traveled more in my youth and the pre-plague part of my middle age. One place I have been is London, which is in New Hampshire of course but also England, the country where they brew Coniston Bluebird Bitter. There are days when I claim this is my favorite beer, because it’s a perfectly moderate treat: 4.2% ABV (the export version, that is; it’s 3.6% at home), $5 or $6 for a 500ml bottle, and a bit tricky but not impossible to find fresh. It’s bottle-conditioned, which I guess is supposed to make it taste caskish but I gotta confess, I’m not one of those REAL ALE! freaks. It’s very pale yet pretty, and it tastes mostly like bread, with a nice and light dead-leaf aroma and a bit of lemony bitterness. Look how nice the bottle is:
Today’s other recommendation is that you enjoy the Super Bowl in the discomfort of your own home and in the sole company of whoever else happens to live there. My diaper still overfloweth at the thought of the adult babies who caused Covid spikes with irresponsible holiday gatherings but I’ve mostly kept quiet about it, because it was inevitable beforehand and bitching afterhand doesn’t fix anything. Plus, shoot, you gotta see your family eventually or else why bother living, maybe. But this is just some fuckin TV show. Try to watch it without massively endangering public health. I know it’s being played in Tampa and by Tampa, and anyone who’s ever listened to a Hold Steady song knows that superspreading is kind of the whole point of the place, but we need to do better just this once. I miss bars.