Aretha Franklin thought there should have been more Motown artists performing at this year's Super Bowl in Detroit, but I think it was fitting that the Rolling Stones played the halftime show -- the band and the games were better in the '60s and '70s, yet both still sell out stadiums. However, any non-fan can say he saw Mick and Keith; ask a non-football fan to name the game's two quarterbacks (both with names so long, they barely fit on the back of their jerseys). The popularity of the Super Bowl party makes my job easier. I got several invitations this year, including one from a Seahawks fan who was going to have a Seattle theme, with Starbucks coffee and salmon. Another invitation was to the "Parker Nut Farm," which is what the Parkers call their house during a party.
The Parkers' invite promised "beer, lunch, beer, snacks, a jumper and craft activities for the kids, and beer." It stated that adults wouldn't be allowed on the jumper if more than three beers were consumed...due to last year's incident.
It wasn't the jumper at fault at the Parkers' this year; it was a guy throwing rubber balls at the kids. We laughed as the kids toppled over from the force, until one of them ended up with a bloody nose. I got to do the old joke with him as he cried. "How many fingers do I have?" I was holding up six, and he answered six. I then said, "Nope. I've got ten. I was only holding up six." The other kids laughed. He looked as if he wanted to give me a bloody nose.
The amount of food at this party was impressive. Outside, shrimp was set up, along with bags of chips and pretzels and all kinds of dips. Another table was covered with candy, including chocolates and huge Pixy Stix in plastic. Julie Parker commented on how insane I looked with a cigar in one hand and a huge Pixy in the other. Another lady and I discussed how much better the plastic Pixies were than the old paper ones, which used to get wet, making it difficult to get the flavored sugar out. Ah, the little things in life.
Gabby Parker is a fifth grader who was proud to show me belts she has from tae kwon do. She told me that she would be testing for her black belt in a few weeks. Her older sister has two belts. I asked, "Does that mean you can kick her butt?" Gabby laughed but knew better than to answer.
Inside, the food spread continued. One table looked like Thanksgiving. I helped myself to turkey and mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. Another table was set up with more traditional sporting event foods, like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.
I sat down with my food. (There was a TV outside and one inside, both with large crowds.) A guy named Ron had a white ZZ Top beard. He offered me a cigar. Ron used to be in the Navy, and I asked him if he was allowed to have facial hair back then. He told me he was until 1985, but then they made him shave it. "I cut it off and sent it to the Secretary of the Navy."
We talked about the Rolling Stones, and Ron told me he was at the Altamont concert when the Hell's Angels killed a fan. He had seen many concerts at the Fillmore in San Francisco, including Janis Joplin. When he was lighting my cigar, I asked him when he first saw people in crowds holding up lighters at concerts. "I think that started happening a lot after A Star is Born with Kris Kristofferson. They did that at the end of the movie."
This year's Super Bowl commercials were funny. One spot had a guy shaking a cow. Ron said, "That thing must be sedated. If it wasn't, it would kick the crap out of you. And their hooves are sharp." I asked how he knew this, and he said, "I was kicked by one before. I was milking them at my uncle's farm."
As we laughed at the commercials, one woman announced, "I'm recording the game at home. That way, I can fast forward and watch all the commercials again." An advertiser's dream.
I noticed a few hardcore fans arguing about the game. They were rooting for opposite teams, and I asked them how they became fans. One said, "I was a Steeler fan back when they had Lynn Swann in the Super Bowl against the Rams. I've been a fan all my life." The score was 0 to 0 near the end of the first quarter, and I asked them if they had any money on the game. They didn't.
I grabbed a plate of nachos and got ready for the second quarter. I noticed a dog kept walking by with his face to the ground, licking up the scraps of food that people were dropping. When the dog got too near a person who was trying to eat, Julie yelled at it to go, and it ran into its little house. It stayed there for the next half hour.
It was starting to get too cold for the patio, but I still had half of a huge cigar, and I couldn't smoke inside. I went around the side of the house and got the jacket out of my car. One person said, "You can't leave yet. The game is going to pick up in the second half."
And the game did get more exciting. Unfortunately the yelling and screaming was directed at the referees and their horrible calls. I had my money on Seattle with the points, and the questionable calls were bothering me a lot more than they normally would.
I watched as the Steelers QB landed on the one-yard line but was awarded a touchdown. Then Seattle scored a TD, but a bad call ruled it a dead play. Someone said, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Oh wait, Aretha already sang." We then got into a discussion as to why she and Aaron Neville sounded so bad singing the national anthem.