Monday, February 06, 2006

Stupor Bowl Funday

Intellectually I know I should be a snot about the Super Bowl, but I’m not! I have some weird transgressive gene that allows me to appreciate large, crass, commercialistic, violent, morally vacant events, as long as they have a certain “spirit” to them.

MZA and Nick have treated me as sort of a pariah for these fascinations and Nick was this disdainful petit intellectual last year—he was only missing the beret and a haughty sneer—when he told me that the Super Bowl was STUPID and he certainly was not going to watch it.

Well, the American cheeseball machine has prevailed and this year both MZA and Nick were interested in the game. Ian was too, except he thought the Redskins were playing and he kept singing a really loud, bastardized version of “Hail to the Redskins.” Daisy was game and adorable about it all. Like, oh! My family seems to be excited about something, therefore I am too!

MZA offered to make his triumphant cinnamon beef with noodles (from Cooking Light) for dinner but I, in my American Velveeta Wisdom knew that This Would Not Do. So I did the only right thing and hotfooted it up to Safeway for Pillsbury crescent rolls, Li’l Franks, tortilla chips and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.

I came home and dumped the Li’l Franks into a sieve, to drain that disgusting hot dog juice off of them, and opened the crescent rolls and said, “Hey Nick! You want to learn how to make pigs in a blanket?” “Yeah!” And I put everything on the counter and he set about making them and did a bang up job. We baked them and they were SO GOOD! Nothing like a little puff dough and cow entrails to make a day festive.

I also bought a “Family Size” Stouffer’s lasagna AND I made garlic bread. As penance I made a wee salad of fresh baby lettuces too.

I set the bambini up downstairs with “Toy Story” and Nick, MZA and I watched the kickoff and were planted in our places for the game. We SCREAMED and clapped and said, “OH NO!” all together. Nick said, “Oh, that was a bad sack!” Wherein I got to display my incredible football acumen (that I learned from my friend Eve, who is extremely knowledgeable about football) and explained that it was not, in fact, a “sack,” but just a “tackle.” You want to be seriously scared when I am explaining football to you.

MZA is a natural and very gifted athlete who could give a shit about watching televised sports (reason #812 to love him madly). He is from Uzbekistan where soccer reigns supreme, and he doesn’t even like watching that on TV. But we were rapt. Then the Rolling Stones came on and I thought I was going to DIE! When they broke into “Satisfaction” we ALL got up and shook our tailfeathers, Ian did a dramatic bass player knee-dive and played some air guitar, Nick bopped around on the couch and I made a raving dork of myself. We all pumped our hands into the air and strutted like Mick.

This morning my colleague said to me, “Why don’t they get younger acts? They need to make room for new talent.” AS IF! Only the greatest rock band of all time. Hmph.

I got out the TV tables and we watched until the very end. Nick said, “I know it’s totally corny, but I want to watch the post game ceremony.” AND WE DID TOO! And Nick’s favorite player won MVP. After it was all over Nick* leaned over to kiss me goodnight and to thank me—because he got to stay up late and bake snacks and everything. I wondered if I should regret that I hadn’t coddled his effete rejection of these kinds of lardass pointless pastimes, but then I felt OK about it. He had learned a fundamental tenet of what makes America great (in a way): We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and when we do, it’s over a football game.

*Nick is 8 and he is a “good boy” but that doesn’t really cover it. He is such a complex mixture of things—he is fun, outgoing, polite, responsible, and deep.

We let him stay up for the Super Bowl, but he had to take a test today to qualify him for a special program he wants to do—one of the mommies recommended it to me. So I was getting ready this morning and I peeked into his room and he was already putting on his uniform, in the dark, quietly, so he wouldn’t wake up Ian. He doesn’t make a big deal of anything, he doesn’t drag his feet, he’s 8 years old and he gets ready on his own and gets his breakfast. He didn’t complain about the test or get nervous—he was just game, with it, all there.

We drove to Bethesda, parked. We were coming down the steps of the parking garage and he said, “St. Elmo?” And I said, “Yes, it’s the name of the street. Do you know who Saint Elmo is?” And he said, “I believe he is famous for fire—a green fire.” I can assure you, his Mama had to turn to our good friend Google to verify that and, as is often the case, he was right. St. Elmo’s fire is a blue or green aura caused by an electrically charged atmosphere.

We walked to the place. We waited in a waiting room and then a crisp little Asian man came out, took his form and said to me that he would be finished in 60 minutes. I looked at him, as we went through the door, and I said, “OK, I’ll be back in about an hour to pick you up. Good luck Sweetie!” And the Asian man kind of laughed.

I came to pick him up and he was just sitting in the waiting room and he looked up brightly and showed me a magazine and he said, “I’m reading a really interesting article on U2!” I said, “How did it go?” And he said, “Good.” We went back to the street and walked to my office and he said, “It was actually really fun!” And he told me about it and about how he thought he had done. He is confident, but not arrogant.

I brought him to my office and introduced him to a few of my colleagues. My boss said, “Do you have a brother?” And he said, “I have a brother and a sister.” And she asked him if he did his homework every day and he said yes and she said, “You’re so good! What motivates you to be so good?” And he said, “I don’t want my brother and sister to surpass me.”

I dropped him off at school and, ever since he was little boy, he has always run to school—he used to run with MZA toward his daycare place--so today he ran toward the school, rang the doorbell and was buzzed in.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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