[Map courtesy infoplease]
It’s Sunday evening, and I was going to write about how thankful I am. After all, I’m all about the Thanksgiving this month. However, as I waited for this antediluvian computer to warm up, I glanced over at what MY WIFE was watching on television. And there I saw a reason to believe that nothing we do has any meaning and we may as well lie down and die now before we suffer further indignities.
My Big Friggin’ Wedding was on the tube. Near as I could tell, it was a show about the ungrateful and ignorant preparing to be married to the shallow and cruel. I think it all took place in New Jersey, a piece of real estate I can’t see anyone willingly admitting to being from these days. Jersey has always been a somewhat easy place to poke fun at – what other place with that many oil refineries would call itself The Garden State without even a hint of irony? – but, between this show and Jersey Shore, it has now gone from being the slightly slow cousin of states to being intentionally stupid and seemingly proud of it. I thought Wife Swap was the absolute nadir of television programming until I saw this hideous excuse for entertainment. My Big Friggin’ Wedding makes Wife Swap look like NOVA.
Disclaimer: I know a few intelligent folks from New Jersey. All of them, so far as I'm aware, no longer live there.
MY WIFE, showing her intelligence, decided to stop watching that disaster and, instead, make a phone call to her sister. I was asked what I’d like on the tube. Despite some evidence to the contrary, I’m something of a typical American male. I opted for football. She switched over to the Philadelphia – Indianapolis game, and then left the room.
As my eyes stopped bleeding, I noticed that one of the teams was wearing a uniform with which I wasn’t familiar. I recognized the Eagles, but these weren’t the Colts on the field with them. Oh, wait a minute! The announcer informed me that the Colts were wearing ‘throwback’ uniforms. That is to say, they were increasing the stock of merchandise they could sell to their fans via the expedient of wearing jerseys and helmets which they had never before worn in the entire history of the franchise during their time in Indianapolis thus giving pangs of nostalgia, not to mention nausea, to folks from Maryland. See, the Colts, as anyone with knowledge of football history knows, were originally from Baltimore. They were adored in Baltimore, and sold many tickets to their games. Therefore, they did the obvious and moved to Indianapolis.
The NFL is funny that way. Cities with perfectly respectable and profitable franchises lose them because some other city offers the ownership a new stadium and legions of formerly unclothed suckers… excuse me, that would be fans… to whom they can sell merchandise. The citizens of Baltimore were all wearing Colts shirts, some of them even in the design of the throwback uniforms the Indianapolis Colts were wearing in Philadelphia only yesterday, so obviously they needed to move to someplace where there were, in the football sense, previously-naked people.
Want to feel utterly ashamed to call yourself a football fan? Here are the teams that have changed cities since the inception of the league:
The Boston Redskins moved to Washington. The Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles. The Chicago Cardinals moved to Saint Louis. The Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City. The Los Angeles Chargers moved to San Diego. The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis. The Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee. The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams, formerly from Cleveland, moved to Saint Louis, while the Saint Louis Cardinals, formerly from Chicago, moved to Arizona. The Los Angeles Raiders decided they liked it better in Oakland, so they moved back. The Cleveland Browns, a beloved franchise like the Baltimore Colts, moved to, interestingly enough, Baltimore. The citizens of Baltimore, knowing well the heartbreak of losing their own beloved franchise, said a figurative "Screw You" to Cleveland and welcomed the Browns with open arms. The NFL, seeing that owners had decided that Houston and Cleveland were both horrible places to be, opened new franchises in Houston and Cleveland. And, of course, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets have been playing their home games in New Jersey for decades, but they're too ashamed to admit it.
I think there may be one or two I’m forgetting about, but you get the idea. Football fans are insane and will stand there being kicked in the gonads for as long as you wish to continue doing so, provided you give them the opportunity to buy many different shirts.
Another thing that happened today was that I found out I can no longer eat raisin bran.
I was watching the New England Patriots (formerly the Boston Patriots, but they moved to Foxboro and annexed five other states in the process) play the Cleveland Browns (the new ones, not the old ones currently residing in Baltimore) and I decided to have a snack. I poured myself a big bowl of raisin bran, deluged it with milk and sugar, and brought it into the living room to enjoy with the game. I took a big spoonful of it into my mouth and realized, as I was chewing on it, that I was in serious pain. It was as though I had decided to chow down on a mouthful of razor blades.
Pain is not what one expects when eating a sweet and tasty breakfast cereal one has enjoyed since childhood. So, thinking that perhaps I was victim of some sort of singular sensory oddity, I scooped another huge spoonful into my mouth. Same thing. I was in immediate searing pain as I chomped down on the flakes. Then I realized what was happening. As I chewed and made the crispy flakes into smaller bits of crispiness, they were getting up under my new denture and cutting my gums to ribbons.
All of which might make you wonder why I’m happy. Well, I’ll tell you.
First off, I have teeth. Thus far, raisin bran is the only thing I’ve been unable to enjoy since getting my dentures. If it were, say, 87 B. C., rather than 2010 A.D., I’d be stuck eating gruel the rest of my life. I’d also probably be living in a tree and painting myself blue, but that’s beside the point. In addition, I’m married to a woman who doesn’t resemble, even in the least, a resident of New Jersey. And the Colts lost. That, in itself, is usually enough to make me happy. The rest is just gravy, which has never cut my gums to ribbons, thank you. Also, when I awoke at 9 o’clock on Sunday, I realized that it was the weekend to set our clocks back an hour, so I then set them back to 8 o’clock and became an hour younger than I had been just seconds before.
Life is good. All you have to do is look at things in the right way.
Soon, with more better stuff.