Friday, January 30, 2009

Confession Is Good For The Soul.

I have something to admit. And I'm man enough to admit it to the tens of people who read my blog. ::Cue ominous music::

I am apparently an UnAmerican Scheißekopf.

Just what do I mean by this. Well, my sin is so grievous that during WWII, it probably would have gotten me shot. "Really"?, you ask. Yup! Take, for example, this scene which could have been written for practically any war movie between 1942 and 1949:

Ext Forest - Night

A small outpost of soldiers huddles in their foxhole nervously listening for any noises on their perimiter. Chippy, the young kid from Omaha is cowering in the bottom of the hole cupping a cigarette while Boots McGee, the grizzled vet from Trenton, NJ remains attentive.

A twig, sounding like a rifle shot, breaks nearby.

"Halt! Who goes there?"

Chippy snuffs his butt and shrinks even further into their hole if that's possible.

Nathan (from the perimeter)
"Private Gendzier. Don't shoot. Sarge Joiner sent us out on patrol. We're coming in. Don't shoot!"


"Mango Pudding"

Boots (whispering to Chippy)
"That's the password alright. But somethin' don't seem right."
(aloud to Nathan)
"OK, who's the mayor of NYC?"


Chippy (practically crying)
"Anybody could know that one. Give him another."

Boots (shouting)
"Fine. Who won the battle of Brandywine?"

"The British. They took Philadelphia on September 26, 1777 and held it until June 1778."

"That doesn't prove anything. Give him a tough one."

Boots (clearly annoyed)
"Where was the Lewis & Clark expedition when they reached the Pacific?"

Nathan (growing desperate)
"They built Ft. Clatsop on the southern bank of the Columbia River and wintered over at what is now Astoria, Oregon. They thought they'd live off of Pacific Salmon but discovered that the salmon only return to the river to spawn in the Summer months and were therefore disappointed."

Boots (to Chippy)
"He seems to know his stuff. I'm gonna let him pass."

Chippy (suddenly courageous leaps up in the foxhole and shouts)
"Who won the 1939 World Series?"


Chippy and Boots open fire and wipe out Nathan and his 4 man patrol.

Yup. The truth is, I don't much care about sports. Until a day or two ago, I didn't know that the Super Bowl was being played this weekend. Until I Googled it, I didn't know which two teams would be playing. It's entirely possible that I'll forget that detail some time later today. The fact is, this All-American event that unites us all (separately) in front of the biggest screens we can find with massive quantities of food and beer doesn't register on my scale of things worth caring about.

I was made keenly aware of this personal deficiency as a young child. Growing up in Jacksonville, Fl, there were two major football events each year. There was the Gator Bowl Game each year, but this was edged out, in my family, by the perennial battle that was the Florida-Georgia Game. This was played in Jacksonville because the Gator Bowl was the biggest stadium around and it was (sort of) mid-way between the two colleges. This game was THE EVENT and my family got tickets every year. My most distinct memories are of sitting in the very last row and clutching the chain link fence which was the only thing standing between me and the certain death of falling what seemed to me to be 500 stories to the parking lot below. I don't know if it was this irrational fear or the fact that the players were just a bunch of ants scurrying aimlessly on the field, but somehow, I just never caught the football bug. (Note: a lot of little kids are distracted by all of the wonderful treats available at sporting events until the game finally catches their attention, but since we kept kosher, we made do with brown-bagging our treats. I could have had the same treats in front of the TV at home, so this expedition just seemed completely pointless to me.)

Hockey was unknown in Florida, so I had no exposure to it. Anything to do with snow or ice were utterly foreign to me. Basketball never hooked me. I always wondered why, since everything seemed to happen at the end of the game, they didn't just play two-minute games and let us get on with our lives.

I will admit that baseball caught on with me when I was at college in Boston. I remain a Red Sox fan, but a really lazy one. I don't follow box scores on any regular basis and if the Red Sox get into post-season play, I have to re-acquaint myself with who is on the team that year. Sorry. Most of the fun is in vilifying the Yankees, not rabidly following the daily achievements of my team. It's mostly a Shadenfreude thing.

So, anyway, on Sunday, when many of you are living and dying by the clock, glued to your big-screen and lustilly cheering or groaning each gain of three yards, I'll be watching something that Netflix lovingly popped into my mailbox. I will keep up the tradition of mass-consumption, however. Not having Chicken wings, chips, pretzels, dip, crudite, hot dogs, and every other snack we can get our hands on would definitely get me a reservation on the next flight to Gitmo. I know it's getting closed down, but why take chances.

Oh, BTW. For a few years, I did regret missing the commercials but I still couldn't bring myself to watch the whole game (much less the awesometacularly lame half-time show), just to see the entertaining bits during time-outs. Now I can console myself with just watching the good bits on YouTube.

Don't shoot! Mango Pudding!


mattw said...

I'm in pretty much the same boat. If I happen to be home and the Bears are playing and there's nothing else going on, then I'll watch.

I'll probably have the game on Sunday night, but I don't know how much attention I'll be paying to it.

And where the hell is the second part of the bunny story? Don't make me take away your mango pudding!

John the Scientist said...

I'm not a big sports fan, and I don't know or quote statistics, but I've been a Stillers fan since the days of Mean Joe Green, and living there 7 years only enhanced my loyalty.

Go Stillers! Beat the Cards like a rented mule!

::waves Terrible Towel::

Eric said...

Sports... sports....



Oh, wait! Sports! You mean like Pyramid! Or Quiddich! Yeah, okay, sports are pretty awesome, I guess.

::pushes the bridge of his glasses back up his nose::

John the Scientist said...

Eric, don't make me scratch your back with a rusty hacksaw. :p

mattw said...

I just noticed in your Scoutle box that is a related blog. Bwahahahahaha!

Janiece said...

Nathan, I'm right there with you, including a fondness for Mango Pudding.

I didn't even know Arizona had a football team until SmartMan told me who was playing in the Super Bowl.

My participation in the event will consist of making the Hawesome Chili and corn bread.

Some dude stuck in the Midwest said...

"..but since we kept kosher, we made do with brown-bagging our treats.."

What? no Nathan's or Hebrew Nationals? That's just UnAmerican! Chili Fries are kosher, corndogs maybe kosher.

The only reason I don't root fro Steelers is that I can't pronounce Rothlesberger. I get all Steve Martin-y in Pink Panther...

Hlam-bugger.. Um-buger... Ham-blurger..

Tania said...

I go to Super Bowl parties to socialize. I really don't care about the game.

I will be cheering on the Steeler for my friend Rob. Because he's been a Steelers fan since their heyday in the 70s when we were wee sprouts. Terry Bradshaw! Mean Joe Green! Lynn Swan!

Nathan said...


I'm not sure I'll be keeping the Scoutle thing going. I've gotten next to zero hits from it and I've found exactly zero additional blogs I want to follow from it. Not such a great record so far.


The words "kosher", "Nathan's" and "Hebrew National" were unknown Yankee words when I was growing up in North Florida. Maybe even foreign enough to get you kicked out of the state.

Random Michelle K said...

I'm going to watch, and then if past is prelude, I'll get distracted by the Internet and lose track of what's happening.

Perhaps I should just plan to do laundry and leave it at that.

MWT said...

Right there with you on the total and utter ignorance of when the Superbowl is. I figured out it was on Sunday last night, only because of other people's Facebook status updates.

If anything ought to be a national holiday though, it probably should be Superbowl Sunday. Back when I worked at the takeout, the strip mall was deader than dead by 6pm. We could've closed and not missed out on any business whatsoever.

Back where I grew up (Indiana), the big thing was (college) basketball, not football. I marginally got into it, but on less of a level than you are with the Red Sox.

My plans for the actual day this year? Well, it's Feb. 1 and we have a writeathon starting...

kimby said...

I don't follow football at all, unless you count the British version that Papa watches every Saturday THAT is Football.
Add me in with those that will not be watching the Superbowl, and No, I do not know nor care to know who is playing.
Now..Hockey...THAT is a whole different ball to speak!

Nathan said...

Just what the hell is wrong with you people. Don't tell me I've found such a homogeneous readership that not one of you is going to call me a pansy-assed Commie Pinko pervert for not caring about sports.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with all of this agreement.

kimby said...

But Nathan..
It's just football.

vince said...

Natah, you're a pansy-assed Commie Pinko pervert, but not for the reasons you think you are.

I am not a big sports fan, but I will be watching, while consuming mass quantities of things that taste good but are only marginally good for me along with some excellent cold beverages.

Random Michelle K said...

Like *I* am going to comment upon whether someone's activities are socially acceptable or not?

Jeff Hentosz said...

"... unknown Yankee words when I was growing up in North Florida."

Something just occurred to me for the first time--Nathan, do you speak with a southern accent? You've mentioned before that you grew up in northern Florida, but it just now dawned on me that's down thaya rat bah Jawja! I demand an audio podcast tomorrow!

Nathan said...

I'm not sure I know how to do audio. I'll look into it.

But I ditched the southern accent years ago. I've spent the last 3/5ths of my life wayyyyyy away from the South.

Jim Wright said...

I have a soup bowl, that's about as close to the super bowl as I'm likely to get.

No interest in professional sports, especially football. Baseball I can listen to, the noise reminds me of happy times on Sunday afternoon as a kid and my dad listening to the game on the radio while cutting the grass or working in the shop. Basketball, basketball seems like the single most worthless pastime in the world to me.

The sheer amount of money and effort that goes into professional sports, the salaries, the disputes over money and franchise, the idolizing of sports "heroes" - simply boggles my mind, and not in a good way.

But, Hebrew Nationals, yeah, now there's a hot dog.

Ilya said...

With you on the basketball thing, Nathan, but hockey is an awesome sport, one of the funnest to watch at the stadium, by the way.

Sport-watching, to me, is a "living vicariously" type of thing. I played a lot of sports as a kid, but was never physically strong enough to make a career at it (I dare to think that I still have pretty good soccer moves and an excellent right-foot shot). When I watch games, I tend to imagine myself on the field a lot...

Anyway, Go Yankees!

Random Michelle K said...

Ah, I'll have to disagree with the lot of you on basketball.

Mind you, I tend to prefer to *listen* to sports on the radio (i.e. I listen to the Mountaineer games on the radio) but if I'm going to watch a sport, I love the athleticism of basketball.

But but if you're going to watch a sport, it should be watched live, rather than on TV.

Steve Buchheit said...

Sorry, for TV sport viewing pleasure it can only be golf. Failing that the Eukanuba Dog Shows. And tomorrow more than likely the Puppy Bowl will be playing in the background of writing and surfing activity.

Wait a sec, the Cardinals are in Arizona now? When did that happen?

Nathan said...

Oh crap.

I forgot. I actually do like watching golf.

Anonymous said...

My sports fan husband probably thinks you're unamerican, with a lower case u. He's willing to forgive a lot because you still have that film nerd cool thing going on...

I only like watching the Olympics, sports like swimming, diving, track, skiing, speed skating, the kind of sports that normally don't ever see prime time. (NOT figure skating and synchro swimmers should go hook up with pro wrestlers and practice their non-sports where someone cares.)

I do enjoy a football, baseball, hockey or basketball game in person, but my feeling is that they're all three times longer than they really need to be for spectator viewing pleasure.

In 2015 the US Open comes to the Puget Sound. It'd be fun to crowd around the green and hush for the leaders as they breeze by.