Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

Pirates and Packers

I decided to take a break from worrying about whether the American economy is heading for a hot place in a hand basket, so I went to a football game. Not just any football game -- an NFL (Not For Low-incomers) game. An NFL event is a reassuring example of the strength of our capitalist system. You get to invest extraordinary amounts of your personal capital in things like tickets, hot dogs and soft drinks while having the pleasure of watching hefty, well-paid men run around chasing a piece of pigskin. And the NFL realizes a handsome profit in the bargain. It's a win-win situation all around.

Despite the fact I wouldn't know a touchdown from a hoedown, I wanted to be part of this patriotic process. So I begged my family to let me come along. Because I brought a book to the last professional sporting event I attended (a hockey game) and embarrassed my children, I was forced to undergo an airport-style security screening before we left home. The paperback I'd hidden under my shirt was confiscated, and so I arrived at the game betting on being bored.

But surprisingly, there was plenty to capture my attention. The first thing I noticed was that many fans were sporting large yellow pieces of synthetic cheese on their heads. I had an up-close encounter with one of these chunks of cheese when its bearer bent over to pick up something, and the cheese knocked over the soft drink for which I’d just paid more than the average day’s wage in some Third World countries. I was a little upset, but the cheese head was charmingly apologetic, and it’s hard to be churlish with cheese. So I got another drink and took my seat just as the game began.

I was sitting among fans of the home team. Unlike the visiting team, which is named after men who once packed meat into little cans, the home team was named after a group of plundering pirates called buccaneers. This seemed to me like a good omen for the home team. Pirates could surely beat Packers. I was joined in this belief by many Buccaneer fans, especially the ones directly behind me who showed their support by combining loud, pirate-like bellows (Aargh!) with beer-propelled belches worthy of the most fearsome buccaneer. Because the stadium is thoughtfully crammed with more seats than one would think possible, I could actually feel these belches on the back of my neck. I could smell them too. That made it even more special.

And it didn’t much matter that I don’t understand the first thing about football. The fans behind me provided a running commentary on the mental and physical capacity of each player (“You’re an idiot!” or “My grandma can run faster than that!”) and on the quality of the coaching (“You’d better be fired after this game!”). Even the performance of the referees was analyzed (“Are you kidding me?!”). These guys really helped me grasp the finer points of the game.

During breaks in the action on the field, the beer boys would discuss, in their outside voices, the various attributes of the Buccaneer cheerleaders. In keeping with the team theme, the cheerleaders wore outfits that looked just like pirate eye patches – except that pirate patches cover more skin. My fellow fans rated each cheerleader on whether she was “hot” or merely lukewarm, and debated which ones should be given the privilege of dating the manly men behind me. I felt sorry for the ladies who were denied such an honor.

In the end, the Buccaneers did indeed beat the Packers. The Bucs fans happily went home singing yo-ho songs, and even the cheese heads didn’t seem too upset. Maybe that’s because cheese does for them what chocolate does for me – makes everything better. I was amazed to realize that I had a great time. I didn’t even miss my book.

~ Jackie Papandrew ~
© 2008, All Rights Reserved

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]

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