The Stupid Bowl

Hanging out on the editorial “side” of our Dan’s Papers office can often get me in trouble.

While my position there requires that I interact with what I call the “strictly creative types” at Dan’s from time to time I find myself over there more than probably needed. I’m drawn by the intelligent and witty banter, the insightful views on local happenings and by the food. This includes the “swag” food that comes into the editors from time to time as well as whatever is spread out in the kitchen, which is also on that side of the building. A few of the creative-type women also tend to bake a lot so there’s always a good chance I’ll find some banana bread or apple pie.

During one such foray the “Big Game” happening this Sunday came up. I happened to mention that we don’t watch the game in my house and actually I call it “the stupid bowl.” We watch the Puppy Bowl and put the “big game” on picture-in-picture so my husband doesn’t feel completely… hummm left out? Ignored? Whatever it is that gives him that sour look on his face, until he’s caught up in the Puppy Bowl (that takes about 2 minutes–he’s a big dog lover). Of course a few of the sport-loving types in our editorial department made fun of me. OK, I’ll admit it, the Puppy Bowl can often be like the Yule Log; you watch it for a bit, think “how sweet,” then start itching to change the channel to something less monotonous. I’ve just never found football to be my answer to the problem of monotony.

After firmly declaring, despite all the jabs I was getting, that in my house we’d be tuning in only for half time to see Montauk resident Chad Smith perform with his band the Red Hot Chili Peppers and probably looking for a few of the commercials I started to head back to my desk. I almost made it out safely until our editorial director Eric tossed a red flag down or blew a whistle or whatever the appropriate football phrase would be for “stopped me in my tracks.”

“I think you need to do our Big Game Sunday guest blog about the Puppy Bowl ,Ellen” Eric called out as he stared innocently at his computer screen. Generally, Eric is one of my favorite people at Dan’s and being asked to write something for the web or the paper is always an honor but… well… I’ll be making cheese platters and onion dip and handing out doggie treats on Sunday I mused. “Fit it in if you can” was his response and we left it at that.

Big Game Sunday morning rolled around and after the requisite hour or so on Facebook and a big Sunday brunch my husband wanted to go to Radio Shack. The plan was to hook up stereo speakers to our new flat screen TV. We love the picture the TV offers but the speakers aren’t very good. We’ve been frustrated watching some DVDs recently and wanted to try and enhance the sound for the Puppy Bowl. I swear this has nothing to do with watching any kind of bootleg Nancy Atlas Fireside Session DVDs or the desire to hear Chad Smith’s January 3 performance from Bay Street Theatre more clearly. Absolutely not; that would just be SO wrong. We simply wanted to make sure we could hear the puppies panting and barking clearly during the Puppy Bowl.

The stereo hook-up was beyond our combined technical abilities so as I write this we are watching the Puppy Bowl with compromised audio. I’m still impressed for its 10th year they have tweeting parrots, keyboard playing kittens, and cheerleading penguins. It’s a menagerie of epic proportions.

Ironically just as we start getting into the doggie action, especially since a dog named Ginger (same name as our dog) has been making some of the best plays, our own Ginger gets restless. First she looks at me and barks, than she looks at my husband and barks. Clearly, I can’t help her, I’m working; I mean I have to watch the puppies so I can write this piece right? So her daddy takes her out. What’s the problem? She wants to play! I’m amazed–she saw all the dogs having fun playing on TV and wanted to do the same. She’s out there right now with my husband running around the yard.

I begin to wonder: Does this particular phenomenon happen with the human bowl? At the commercials are men and women so inspired by the game they’re out on the front lawn tossing a football around? I ask this sincerely as my only experience watching the Big Game has been sitting at bars, buying boxes, enjoying the company of friends and generally losing money and drinking too much. Nobody ever left the bar to toss a ball around on the sidewalk. I’m guessing it’s strictly a doggie thing, but I honestly don’t know.

My ignorance of things football and Big Game”extend so far I realize as I switch on the picture-in-picture that I have no idea what channel the game is on. I start with the “big boys” and find another animal show on NBC, something called Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals. Have the executives at all these other television stations come to the resounding conclusion that those of us who do NOT like football happen to love dogs? Is there some sad and eye opening Michael Vick push back connection here? I’m starting to get confused. The Budweiser Clydesdales are obviously a big hit with football fans as the annual commercials featuring those magnificent creatures are a big hit every year. Football watchers love horses but not dogs? Where do cats fit into all this? I’m beginning to remember why sitting at a bar drinking while all this was going on seemed like a good idea. Think I’ll go get my husband a beer and Ginger a milk bone and call it a day.

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