Over the next week, you will be bombarded by features in women's magazines and on daytime talk shows on the theme of "Impress Your Man With Your Super Bowl Knowledge!"Â I saw one just the other day featuring a bottle-blonde--is "bimbo" too strong a word for the internet?--tossing a football in her hands as she spoke to some guy without a neck who used to play for the Canton Bulldogs.Â The palaver went something like this:
Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch
BIMBO:Â We're here with Chuck Brandnewjetski, former special teams coach of the Duluth Eskimos.Â How are you today Chuck?
NO-NECK:Â Okay, but I can't feel my left leg.
BIMBO:Â Chuck, how does an insecure woman impress her "significant other" on Super Bowl Sunday?
NO-NECK:Â Her significant other what?
Irina Slutskaya:Â HerÂ trademark "coquette" finish.
The question never asked is--why?Â Why do you have to impress your boyfriend/husband/date while watching the Super Bowl?Â Does he read articles in men's magazines during the Winter Olympics to bone up on the difference between a salchow and a toe-loop?Â Does he know Irina Slutskaya from Dick Button?Â I didn't think so.
I know it's a man's world--James Brown said so--but that's no reason for an intelligent woman to kowtow to the gods of male supremacy by pretending to be interested in somethingÂ she's not.Â Do you think all-purpose cultural critic/intellectual Susan Sontag discussed a punter's "hang time" while dipping a Cool Ranch Dorito into the salsa at the Partisan Review's Super Bowl Party?Â I don't think so.
Sontag:Â "Watch the Super Bowl?Â I'd rather be dead in a ditch."
Still, you don't want to getÂ a reputation for being aloof or stand-offish by not joining in the fun at a Super Bowl party.Â What you need is verbal "gamesmanship", aÂ conversationalÂ technique perfected by humorist Stephen Potter as a means of countering, and perhaps even fending off, the sort of gilt-edged bores that communal football-watching attracts like Drosophila melanogasterÂ (the common fruit fly) to a bunch of bananas.
Fruit fly.Â You can tell it's a male by the little foam "We're #1" on right wing.
When confronted by the sort of self-absorbed monomaniac who assumes you're interested in his worldly travels and drones on about the beauties of Upper Volta until your eyes glaze over, Potter suggested using the bore's momentum against him, as with jiu-jitsu.Â "Upper Volta, quite right, beautiful country," you interject thoughtfully. "But only in the south."Â After a few of these counterpunches, your interlocutor wanders off muttering to himself, questioning the very foundations of his self-esteem.
With Super Bowl gamesmanship, the important thing is not what just happened on the field or the plasma TV screen, it's what didn't happen.Â If the Colts' Pierre Garcon catches a pass and is immediately tackled, some knucklehead former high schoolÂ linebacker may say "Oh, man--they read that one right!"Â (Note that each word is only one syllable, for ease of pronunciation.)Â Now's your chance to jump in with "Would have been a perfect situation for a halfback option pass--remember Prentice Gautt?"
Prentice Gautt, former Cardinals halfback
As with a wide receiver, it is essential that you run your route precisely after making this out-of-the-blue comment.Â Establish eye contact with the knucklehead, smile, then cut right to les cruditees arrayed around the dip.Â Believe me, he doesn't know who Prentice Gautt is, and he won't follow you to a plateÂ of vegetables.
Les cruditees:Â A football-free seam in the defense.
There are several "story lines" to this year's Super Bowl that will be rehashed ad nauseam until the last second ticks off the clock.Â To giveÂ but twoÂ examples, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning isÂ poised to amass more career commercial minutes than Dan Marino, Victor Kiam and Kathie Lee Gifford combined this year, and he could very well establish a record that will never be broken by halftime.Â Expect protests from Mothers Against Peyton Manning Commercials, a non-profit advocacy group whose research reveals that the average American child will watch 246 hours of Manning brothers commercials before leaving the maternity ward.
"The Colts call timeout while Manning applies makeup for his next commercial."
On the other side of the ball, the Saints have been a crummy team throughout their history andÂ New Orleans fans responded to the team's chronic ineptitude with characteristic wit,Â preserving their anonymity byÂ wearing grocery bags over their heads, a practice that has since been imitated around the country by fans of other inept franchises.
When some nimmy-not brings this up on the daft assumption that you were not aware of it, freeze him in his tracks by saying "I'm just thankful they chose paper over plastic."