One thing that’s kind of cool about blogging is that WordPress provides us with a little map on our statistics page that shows where our readers are checking in from. Probably 90 percent or more of my readers come from right here in the U.S. of A, but once in awhile I’ll get the thrill of seeing that someone from the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland or Ukraine has pulled up something I’ve written before discarding it into his or her digital trashcan. It’s exciting knowing that Roamin’ Gnomials has gone international and that I’m now scorned on more than one continent.
It is to those few foreign readers that this post is addressed, because it’s just possible that in far-flung cities like London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Kiev, readers are unaware of that thing which Americans can’t escape: the Super Bowl!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Super Bowl, and I want to share some of my conclusions. But first, you might ask, what is the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is the championship game for American professional football. It will be played tomorrow, and it has become a sort of unofficial American holiday. For most of us it’s a holiday about four things: Food, Hate, Music and Commercials. I’ll take them one at a time:
The National Football League is comprised of 32 teams, and by the time the Super Bowl rolls around, fans of 30 of those teams are royally pissed off that their team has been eliminated. For a lot of people then, the Super Bowl means rooting for the team we hate the least.
Tomorrow’s Super Bowl is particularly illustrative of that conundrum, because on one side you have the Seattle Seahawks with their egotistical coach and annoying fans, while on the other side is the New England Patriots with their cheating coach and equally annoying fans. It’s really a no-win situation for me, but it comes down to deciding what I hate more, egotism or cheating. I’ll be rooting for Seattle tomorrow.
A legitimate question you may be asking is, “Why watch at all if you’ll hate the outcome no matter what?”
Well, that’s complicated, but it boils down to the holiday aspect of the game. Everyone celebrates the Super Bowl, and that even includes a lot of football haters who are ecstatic because they know that once this game is over, there won’t be any more football ruining their weekends for a long time. The Super Bowl can be one big hateful party, and that brings me to the second thing …
Unlike the holidays of Thanksgiving or Christmas where healthy foods are eaten, the Super Bowl holiday is all about seeing how much unhealthy food and drink we can stuff into our gullets while hating the players who are kicking and throwing an inflated hog bladder on our television screens (it’s important to note that many Americans would dispute that part about the hog bladder actually being inflated).
Often we Americans will use social media to trade menus on Super Bowl Sunday, seeing if we can top one another as we race headlong toward a hateful, artery-hardening death. Here at my house, we have an unhealthy tradition that I’ve tried to keep very simple. My Super Bowl menu always consists of at least three things: Queso, Cocktail Weenies and Beer.
Here are my recipes. Now some will argue that these recipes would be so much better if I’d just use this instead of that, but I don’t care because on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s trashy simplicity that I crave, not gourmet food. So just you see for yourself if these recipes aren’t trashy and simple:
Super Bowl Chili con Queso
One artery-hardening block of Velveeta cheese
Two cans of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chile
Dash of milk
Chop up the horrific cheese loaf into a slow-cooker. Add a dash of milk to prevent scorching. Pour in the cans of Ro-Tel (if you can’t find this can of salvation for a displaced Texan, a jar of salsa will do) and heat it on low until it’s nice and melty. Spoon atop tortilla chips.
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Dump the weenies into a pot. Pour the barbecue sauce on top, and add a little water. Heat that mess up and eat it plain or over rice.
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I always buy quality beer for the Super Bowl. My rule of thumb is that when you’ve got a lot of hating to do, don’t cheap out on the beer. I’ll be starting out with an Oomegang Tripel Perfection, then filling in around the edges with some Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. Those two brews should be enough to keep me happy while still nursing the hot hate that I feel for both the Patriots and the Seahawks.
I’m lumping these two things together because they’re really the only two reasons why a lot of Americans who hate football will still watch the Super Bowl. Companies spend tons of money airing their best and wittiest television commercials for what they know will be a huge audience. Over the years, a lot of Super Bowl ads have become quite famous, and they can be a lot of fun.
During what is known as halftime — the midpoint of the game — big-name acts perform at the Super Bowl, and a lot of people who don’t care about the game will tune in just to see the halftime show. This year it’s Katy Perry, and I’ll admit that I’m such a luddite that I don’t know who Katy Perry is, and would much prefer a show by the Doobie Brothers.
So there you have it, an explanation of what the Super Bowl is all about in America: food, music, commercials and hate … and not necessarily in that order.
Finally, many thanks to my mermaid friend for tipping me off and providing me with yet another reason why I’ll be rooting for the Seahawks tomorrow — they’re the only team with a gnome: