February 8, 2012
I like to roll out of the sack early enough on Sunday mornings to catch the Wynton Marsalis piccolo-trumpet solo intro to the CBS Sunday Morning show. Hearing that cascading fanfare via my oftentimes-quirky entry-level television speakers always seems to provide a sense of retro comfort.
It’s like I’m listening to some old collector’s Thomas Edison-vintage cylinder recording. As one with sufficient tenure to recall the original Don Smithers scratchy-vinyl-sounding eight-foot baroque trumpet playback they once used, plus, of course, the subsequent Doc Severinsen contribution (performed on a singularly-crafted four-valve piccolo trumpet), sonic-wise, I yearn for the archaic.
It was no different on Super Bowl Sunday. While remaining undercover, so to speak, I mentally lined up my ducks for the day as I monitored the bedside clock. An entire six-pack of Pacifico in the icebox: check! Various snacks to put out on the coffee table as props to infer the hosting of a big-game gathering (as if anyone would put up with me during a Super Bowl broadcast): check! Two ducks were all I really had.
That being the case, I cranked the volume for my weekly fix of Wynton’s flowing brass fusillade. What wonderful tone! I inhaled, I snorted, I swooned, I drank it in! I was ready to rumble!
Did I mention that I’m not really a pro football fan? What with L.A. losing its NFL teams back in the day, it’s nothing more than sour grapes, actually. There are many intervening variables at play here. I would have loved to jump on the San Francisco 49er bandwagon this season, save for the fact that a bona-fide USC fan could never root for a Jim Harbaugh-coached team.
But this year, although I really didn’t have "a dog in this fight," as Michael Vick might say (and my son Smokey did say), and for no other reasons than I found the matchup somewhat interesting and wanted to see the commercials, I planned on watching the game more or less in its entirety.
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With the pre-game coverage blanketing various airwaves for a good 6-7-8 hours prior to actual kickoff, I opted for some Miles Davis and John Coltrane along with a couple of the usually highly suspect Sunday morning political gabfests to pass the time.
Although the only thing commentator George Will and I have in common is a non-budging belief system in baseball’s superiority to football, I enjoy being part of the demographic he so skillfully and insidiously assaults.
And George did little to let me down. Coming close to flat-out refusing to pick a winner of a football game, of all things, when pressed, he chose New England to lose, an outcome that he thought "would infuriate the most liberals." Ya gotta love him!
Adding to my longtime and well-deserved notoriety as the world’s slowest beer drinker, I purposely refrained, or rather, in the spirit of the coin flip, "deferred" from cracking one until only moments before the refs whistled the game underway. That was just after 4:00 p.m. At exactly 5:10 p.m., I exultantly texted Smokey that I "got one in me."
Obviously, I was on a roll! The second half hadn’t even started and I’d already consumed a whole beer. My brother McGee’s old record, whatever it was (a case or two?), might well be in jeopardy. More than likely, there was a bit of swagger as I made my way back to the fridge for another.
Normally, I would be quaffing a Negra Modelo, my Mexican brew of choice, in such an often-ritualized situation. But as I passed the "sixer" of Pacifico in the imported-beer aisle at the local liquor store, I recalled the glorious afternoon I had spent at its home brewery in Mazatlan directly following Super Bowl II (Green Bay 33, Oakland 14).
At exactly 8:37 p.m., a mere 3 hours and 27 minutes from the time I had disdainfully flipped the second bottle cap toward the trash bin and halfway through another episode of "Downton Abbey" on PBS (which I had opted for in lieu of the post-game show), I again texted Smokey. This one said only "2." I flaunt excess, therefore I am!
Although I had the meager finger food waving white flags by the time Orion’s nebula loomed overhead, I resigned myself to the fact that there wasn’t really enough time left in the weekend to make a return trip to the chilling beer cache. Two beers in a little over four-and-a-half hours. My self-esteem can live with that. As long as you don’t tell anybody!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for the past 40 years.