If you were surprised by the big TV ratings for past Sunday's Super Bowl game, let me introduce you to one of the surprising fans: me. I barely know the rules of the game, but I am a total sucker for anything political, poignant, or scandalous about big league sports.
Then we had a dude named Tank who got to play with a special court order cause he can't stop stocking weapons of mass destruction in his apartment. Plus everyone's still talking about how the NFL essentially uses their players to be concussion dolls until they turn into brain-deformed "retirees" who off themselves rather than endure life in a deranged stupor.
Finally, there was Chicago itself. I was rooting for the Bears, as I will root for any team that hasn't had a win in decades. As I explained to my daughter, when the 49ers first won in the 80s, San Francisco exploded into a lubricated sea of love. I've never seen anything like it again until Gavin Newsom rang the bells for gay marriage on Valentines Day.
The day Dwight Caught Joe, that very moment, I was sitting in a flat on Potrero Hill, the bedrock of the city, and you could hear a roar that came up from Market Street on one side and Hunter's Point on the other. It shook the window glass.
I walked out into the street, and it was as if EVERYONE walked out on cue. You could kiss ANYONE. I got on the MUNI bus just to ride the hottest parties. You heard about how the whole nation of Denmark is on a permanent high because of a big game they finally won fifteen years ago? Such is the disposition of the underdog who finally gets a break.
I don't have cable service, or even a television in the house, but we remembered we had a miniature set in the garage, so we dragged it out of hibernation. We biked to Radio Shack to pick up an eight dollar antenna.
Thank god for the Salinas CBS signal, one of the few stations we could receive. If you're a native English speaker, you're presumed to have cable. But if Spanish is your first language, all the Telemundo-style stations are beaming loud and clear with nothing but a VHF bunny ears propped on the table.
I find that if you haven't watched TV with your lover in a long time, it's... sexy. Surreal. We had to sit in each other's laps to view the tiny screen. Super Bowl Sex was in the air. We practiced our wardrobe malfunctions.
When it comes to anything happening on the field, I'm a screamer. "Shut him the fuck down!" I kept wailing at the Bears defense. I could sack Peyton Manning with the side of my clit; what was their excuse?
Then we had the Bears QB problem child, Rex Grossman. I knew the local press had picked him apart like dime bag, but I was wiling to give him a fair shake. Until that moment, in the second half, when he was sacked twice in— what was it?— two minutes? Throwing passes up in the sky like it was Balloon Day at the Big Game?
The camera showed us a close-up of Rex walking back to the sidelines, and holy shit— "He's got a pouty face!" I screamed that too. Biggest professional day of his life, and he's sulking. My heart sank.
Back in the holy days, when the 49ers were losing, but still had six minutes left, you would raise your glass and sigh, "Oh darling, let's ENJOY Joe Montana scoring two touchdowns now, shall we? Let's go for a little drive! —All the time in the world!"
This, however, was your garden-variety soaking. I started using my laptop to tune into Indianapolis live barroom coverage so I could at least enjoy the sounds of the Rock Bottom getting their binky on. Even the priests were sashaying in Colts vestments.
One question though: Peyton Manning is obviously talented and conventionally good-looking, but he has zero sex appeal. What is the problem? This whole Bowl was short on that kind of charisma; I had to provide all the tingles myself.
The special note to my teeny tiny Super Bowl party was the food.
I know how to make a chili for people who hate chili. —A chili for vegetarians that the meat-lovers will demand for seconds. —A chili you can make in minutes but will make everything believe you toiled for hours. You can cook it as picanté as you like, but I know how to take all the heat out of it, and still make people feel rambunctious. And... my guacamole is the best.
It's good for any winter day you wanna feel like a winner!