He took a 20 and folded it. I said, "Why not use a single?" So Paul instead took a single dollar bill and lit it with his lighter. He then lit his cigar. And as he stood there with the bill on fire, I was surprised the flame hadn't burned more. I said, "You should put it out now. You can still use it." My mom would be so proud of me for saying that. When Paul blew out the flame, someone came over saying, "If 75 percent of the bill is intact, banks have to take it. You can still use that."
He handed it to me and said, "Here. It's a souvenir."
Another guy came over to the cooler we were standing at and said, "I'm taking another beer." Paul said, "Have a beer. Why not? They're free," which is a Belushi line from Animal House.
The Super Bowl party I went to two weeks later was in Philadelphia. (Hahaha -- just by writing that, my trip is now a tax write-off.)
Since the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, the entire town was excited. There were banners on every window and flags flying from car antennas. The strangest sight was from the window of the place I was staying. It was near a cemetery, and a funeral procession went by. As I brushed my teeth, watching the scene from the window, I wondered about the person who had passed away (and thinking about a friend from high school, Trish Ordoñez, who recently died from lung cancer). As the cars slowly passed by, with snow covering the ground and some of the headstones, I saw one car had an Eagles banner blowing in the breeze.
I remember sportscaster Ted Leitner often talking about how crazy the fans in Philly were. And Sports Illustrated recently reminded everyone that they once booed Santa Claus when he came to a December game.
After hearing countless locals talk about the "Wing Bowl," I had to ask what that was about. I was told it was a 13-year tradition in which people compete to see who can eat the most chicken wings. I figured I'd go check this event out, but when I got there, the police were arresting people. Some fans were fighting in the parking lot, complaining about not being let in. One police officer said, "There were 500 people lined up at 3:00 in the morning. This is crazy. We ended up turning away thousands of people before the event even started. Just to watch people eat."
One cop was injured and taken away by ambulance. I told another person who was mad he didn't make it in how I read on the airplane about a man who ate four 32-ounce jars of mayonnaise to win a contest. He said, "That's gross."
I agreed but found it just as gross when I saw the highlights of this event on the news. A giant fat guy with dirty blond hair tied with a tiny Asian woman named Sonia "Black Widow" Thomas. She won last year. They each ate 157 wings in the allotted time, so they had a two-minute "overtime." The guy ate 5 more wings to win a car and dethrone the champ.
My friend who lives in Philly suggested we go to a sports bar. That sounded great. A few of the places he called were charging $100 a person. We finally found a big place called Jillian's. They only charged $45 a person. And when we got there, this huge arcade/pool hall/burger joint was filled. A person at the door was telling fans, "You can pay $10, but that means you are standing and don't have a table." They were gladly paying.
I wondered why they didn't just watch the game at home or at another party. Every street seemed to have a party going on. As we drove through residential areas, we were amazed by all the Eagles decorations. One family was even out front holding signs as cars drove by.
When we went down one road, near a park, a deer ran out onto the road. My friend slammed on his brakes, and we stopped inches from the deer, which just stood there looking at us. Just then, another deer slammed into my side of the car. I jumped, looked over, and saw its face against the window as it then ran around the car.
There were green jerseys everywhere. One guy told me, "We were going to have a party, but my wife said it would be too much trouble. We would've made green Jell-O shots. I call those 'lime disease treats.' And I would've tried to talk my wife into recreating that scene from Monday Night Football where Terrell Owens is in the locker room and that chick dropped the towel. She'd never go for that, though." His wife just kept punching his arm, telling him to shut up. She finally said, "Why you makin' a fool of yourself to this reporter guy?"
Just like the previous party, women were trying to keep their men from giving me valuable quotes.
The energy of the room was amazing. I've been to rock concerts that weren't as loud. Unfortunately, when the Eagles lost, the place got quiet. Some people shouted things at the screen, as if the players and coaches could hear them. Others threw crumpled-up papers.
We walked outside and saw 30 police officers. Nobody could figure out what they were doing. Sometimes you hear of teams winning and everyone riots. The officers didn't seem to be having any problems.
After all, this wasn't the Wing Bowl.
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.