Sunday, February 19, 2012

Barney My Brother

I have to admit, I feel a bit like Barney Fife these days. Barney, from TV's classic sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, was only able to carry one bullet in his pocket "in case of an emergency." Restricted by Sheriff Andy Taylor due to his overzealous ways, Deputy Fife couldn't be trusted to have a loaded gun.

Relating to Fife's situation isn't difficult these days. As a journalism major, it's always been my duty to point out misspellings and grammatical errors in the written work of others. I can be a bit of a snob that way. So, a particular event that happened to me this past week really knocked me down about six pegs.

My eldest daughter's school was having a fundraiser where you send a handwritten Valentine's Day note to your children. My wife suggested that we each do one for our kindergartner. I crafted a beautiful message to my youngest that surely would stir the emotions of anyone who read it.

On Valentine's night, my wife made me aware of just what kind of emotions my note would stir -- ridicule. "Here," she said. "Read the note."


"Just read it."

So, I read it...

"Dear Meghan - Your the coolest kindergartner I know. Have a great Valentine's Day! Love Dad"

Holy crap. I used "your" instead of "you're."

"How embarrassing." My wife has this very natural way of making me feel like a real turd.

"Well, Meghan won't know the difference."

"Yes, but copies of these were posted at the school." Really? She had to tell me that?

At that moment, everything I thought I knew about myself suddenly was in doubt. Now, I was just like all those "other people" I've chastised for being lazy and stupid. "That's what they get. Text-ebonics is ruining this country. Our kids are never going to know how to professionally communicate when they get out into the world and have a real job. They're doomed, doomed I say."

I searched for a response. Should I just return my journalism degree now?

My oldest came into the kitchen where were having this discussion and asked what we were talking about. I showed here the note.

"Oh yeah", she started. "Emily saw that and was making fun of it and telling everyone at school today."


There was only one solution to my dilemma. "Can I still get into the school?" I asked my wife.

"I think so. Why?"

I didn't answer. I was on a mission. The doors were still open. I found the bulletin board where the Valentine's notes were displayed. Luckily, the note I wrote to Meghan was one of the first I saw. I took a pen out and proceeded to correct my mistake. It didn't take long, but I was more than satisfied with the result.

It now read: "Dear Emily: Your the coolest 8th grader I no. Have a grate Valentine's Day. Love, Dad."

Now, give me back my bullet Sheriff Taylor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Most Super Super Bowl Party Host...

The other night at the city recreation center, I ran into a friend of mine who also happens to be the person who hosted the Super Bowl party I attended (and blogged about) this year. He was visibly upset. At first, I thought it had something to do with the fact that he had witnessed something seen less often than a yeti in Texas -- me working out. Well, I wasn't actually working out. I was preparing to work out. Preparing to work out is almost as taxing as the actual workout. Sometimes I win by convincing myself that I'm too sick or too tired to put myself through such physical torture. Sometimes I lose when the small amount of common sense I still have left swims its way to the top of my stream of consciousness. Last night went into the loss column.

But my friend Ron was angry about something much more important than seeing me self-induce a heart attack on the treadmill. I should have prefaced all of this by saying Ron has lost like 40 pounds in the last few months. He's in very good shape and he happened to be wearing a tank top during this particular verbal confrontation which helped accentuate his new-found upper arm muscles. Hey, if you're going to go through all the effort of working out and eating right and taking all those illegal steroids and human growth hormone, you may as well let people see the results. How many woman do you know with fresh boob jobs that hide behind a ski parka or baggy sweatshirt? See. You can't blame him.

As soon as he saw me, his testosterone kicked into high gear. "Hey, I read your blog. What the hell?"

This wasn't the reader reaction I was looking for, but at least he read it. "What are you talking about?" I asked.

"You didn't even talk about the host of the Super Bowl party."

"You're right", I agreed. "I apologiz. I'll edit it tonight and mention what a great job your wife did with it."

I hadn't used up my daily allowance of sarcasm, so I felt the need to unload whatever was left in the tank on him.

"Listen", I tried to calm him by using a soothing manner of speaking. "I did have a whole section about you during the rough draft stage." Two lies in one sentence. First, I didn't right a think about him. Second, there's never a rough draft stage -- it's like live television, I type it and hit send. Who has time to edit?

"Go ahead, I'm listening." Great, buying signals.

At this very moment I decided to adopt a new policy as it relates to my blog. If anyone sees me at the rec center and wants to talk about PierogiLogic, I'll give you free mention in the next article. Keep in mind I have trouble with facts and keeping them straight. I embellish and flat out make stuff up quite a bit so what I write may not be completely accurate. You've been warned. Finding me at the rec center will not be hard, if I'm there. The "if I'm there" part is the key. But, if I'm there, it'll be like playing a fairly obvious version of "Where's Waldo." I'm not too tough to spot.

"I feel bad," I continued. "But somehow that entire section was removed. Since it's virtually impossible to deal with the little blog fairies who obviously messed with the article in the middle of the night and deleted all the extremely complimentary stuff about you, I'll dedicate and entire blog entry to just you."

Ron's threatening demeanor softened.

"So, you're going to tell everyone what a great host I was?"

"Not only that, but if you play your cards right, I may even tell them what a great job you did with the hardwood floors in the kitchen and foyer. I'm impressed."

For whatever reason, that didn't seem to matter to Ron. But, the thought of me at least mentioning what an amazing host he was caused him to ease the pressure from around my neck. The blood vessels in his neck and head weren't as bulgy either at this point.

"Hey, thanks," he said.

"No," I said. "Thank you."

So, here's my tribute to Ron, the world's greatest Super Bowl party host...

Ron, you're an awesome host. Thank you for inviting me and my family. We had a great time and hope to do it again next year. And, speaking of next year, can you please, please, please stash a couple of Super Bowl squares away for me and the kids? I'm feeling lucky. Also, please tell whoever made the amazing sausage sandwiches that I love them. I love the sausage sandwiches and I love the person who made them. And, by the way, that hardwood floor is killer.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Bowl Balancing Act...

So, a record number of people watched the Super Bowl last weekend -- 111 million to be exact. It's too bad that the technology used to determine this gaudy number can't tell the difference between those who were actually paying attention to the action on the field and those who just happened to be in the room during the telecast.

I've only been to a handful of Super Bowl parties in my lifetime. Though the truth is that I've only been invited to a handful of Super Bowl parties in my lifetime, I prefer to say that I chose not to attend as a way to make a personal statement against glam-football.

In my limited Super Bowl party experience, I've discovered that there are three distinct types of people you'll meet there. Since I know there are still those of you out there who don't get invited to Super Bowl parties, I thought I'd provide a bit of a primer into what to look for and how to deal with each of of the groups.

Here goes...

The Purists - These are the people who would prefer that the Super Bowl was played outdoors, in a foot of snow, with leather helmets and goal posts moved from the back of the endzone to the goal line. They don't care which teams are playing - the fact that is football is more than enough for them. They drink hard during the game action and go to the bathroom during commercial breaks. Don't bother them during live action and never question their ability to dissect a play or their take on playcalling or strategy.

The Squareheads - These people would show up to an International Cricket Championship party, as long as they could buy five or six squares from a game grid. Without the excitement of losing forty or fifty bucks, they would just as soon be at the dentist getting their molars capped. These are the men and women who question the strategy of kicking an extra point in the first quarter because one of the Super Bowl squares they purchased had the number six in it.

The Ad Spotters - These partygoers show no outward interest in the game while the game is going on. The talk. They eat. They turn their back to the action. Yet, at the very moment a commercial break begins, the Ad Spotter drops their plate and cup, closes their mouth and cranes their neck to get a premium and unfettered view of the Super Bowl ad now showing on the television. So intent is the ad spotter, you'd think they were actually appearing in the commercial. Spotters are quick to judge and offer an opinion about what they've just seen. As if Larry Tate were somewhere in the room looking for agency talent to help with a new campaign for next year's big game.

I clearly don't fall into any of the three categories I've just described. So, there must be a fourth group. I've had to stop writing to really think about this. It's a bit like looking for the missing link and then discovering that it's you. But, I think I've got it...

The Foodies - I love football, but I don't worry about whether the defense is running a cover 2 zone defense. I'm late for everything, so I'm sure how I feel about Super Bowl squares -- they're always gone before I get to the party. I used to be in the advertising industry, but frankly the Super Bowl ads have not lived up to the hype since about 1995. But dammit if I don't love party food. Wings. Pizza. Chips and salsa. Six versions of seven-layer Mexican dip. Sausage sandwiches. Cookies. Cake. It's a fat sports fan's heaven. Foodies like me are the heart and soul of any Super Bowl party. Plus, we're the most versatile of all partygoers. Just because I'm eating doesn't mean I can't watch the game, buy a square or comment on the commercials.

So, it's a miracle all four groups can get along so well. We all have different agendas, but rarely does a fight break out. It's kind of like an African nature preserve. Lions living with antelope in harmony because the lions are fed so well by humans they think of the antelope as friends, not dinner. Think of it as the Pridelands after Simba returned home.

The good news is that you have an entire year to get ready for your next (or your first) Super Bowl party. Heck you may even decide to break down and throw one of your own. If so, keep in mind the delicate balance that is the Super Bowl Circle of Life.