This just in: Did you know there is some sort of very important football contest on your television right now? I may have almost forgotten, but luckily, 37 of my closest Facebook friends have reminded me. And by "closest," I mean geographically closest, because shockingly, the majority of friends NOT located in either Wisconsin or Minnesota haven't weighed in at all. Truth be told, I don't give half a damn about the outcome of this game. My Wisconsin roots tell me to be loyal to Green Bay, but my nearly twelve years in Minnesota make me wonder if I'm supposed to root for them now instead. (Wait a minute. TWELVE? Really?? How in the hell did THAT happen? Here's another "This just in" newsflash: I am OLD.) Neither my Wisconsin roots nor my Minnesota residency can override the fact that I have only a rudimentary understanding of the game, however, and therefore little interest in rooting for either side. I will say this, though: it looks awfully strange to see Brett Favre in purple. I know that at least, anyway.
And thus ends what is likely the first and just as likely the last time you will see me write about football on this blog. You're welcome.
You know who does care about football, though? My dad. I'm sure he is watching Monday Night Football intently this evening, and... Wait. Scratch that. No he's not. He is sitting on his couch with his feet up under the guise of watching the game, but is in fact dozing off with his head back and his mouth open, giant bowl of snacks to his right and giant insulated mug of soda to his left.
And when I say "giant," I do mean GIANT. When I was a kid, my standard-sized dad used to fill a standard-sized glass with Coke and bring it with him into the living room to watch TV. Somewhere around my high school years, he started using the jumbo plastic tumblers stashed in the back of my parents' cupboards, and when I came home for holidays in college, he had upgraded to a large insulated travel mug with a lid and handle. I thought that was perhaps the biggest soda vessel he could find, short of pouring an entire two-liter bottle into one of my mom's mixing bowls or an empty ice cream bucket, but lo, I was wrong. When I came home for Christmas last year, he had somehow, somewhere acquired an insulated travel mug that, were it alive, could have eaten three of his previous insulated travel mugs. I saw this travel mug on the bottom shelf of my parents' refrigerator, where they keep gallon containers of milk and orange juice, and it consumed the same amount of shelf real estate as those gallon containers. I don't know where one would even purchase a travel mug this large, but I suspect is in the same place where one would purchase giant sunglasses and other comically large accessories for parties and practical jokes. Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer offered lodging to a group of tiny Japanese businessmen, and they each slept in one of his bureau drawers? If Kramer ran out of drawers but had a travel mug like my father's, I'm pretty sure one of those tiny business men could have slept quite comfortably nestled inside that mug. I think you get my point. The mug is LARGE.
Please don't ask me why my father routinely needs immediate access to a full gallon of soda at a time. I cannot explain that any more than I can explain why he rolls his window down when he pulls his car into the garage, or why he spreads butter on donuts and cinnamon rolls, or why he has upwards of a thousand or more VHS tapes he will never watch again, or why he buys off-brand, nearly expired beef jerky and bagged snacks at the Dollar Store when already he has three full cupboards of uneaten snacks at home. Or why, as I mentioned last week, he brings his own spoon to restaurants. That's right: his own spoon. A few of you asked about that.
I don't have any solid answers about the spoon. Again, I think size has something to do with it. At some point, my father decided that the teaspoons in my parents' silverware set weren't large enough to use for soup or ice cream, so he started using the tablespoon-sized spoons in the next compartment of the drawer instead. That's reasonable enough; even in restaurants, they give you a larger spoon for soup than they do to stir your coffee. But when he decided the tablespoon wasn't large enough either, he upgraded to the serving spoons instead. And obviously once you are used to raising your soup to your mouth nearly a ladle-full at a time, you can't be expected to resort to the tiny soup spoons designed for mere mortals when you dine out, so my dad started carrying one of my mom's metal serving spoons in his jacket pocket at all times. Then he fell in love with all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, where he'd eat his hot & sour or wonton soup with one of those flat-bottomed, white ceramic spoons. And I guess he decided that a short-handled ceramic spoon would fit better in his pocket than a serving spoon, because now he carries one of those around instead. I'm pretty sure he found his at Goodwill or another thrift store he visits regularly and didn't just pocket one from the Chinese buffet, but obviously the man has some strange quirks; I can't guarantee petty theft isn't one of them.
So it turns out, I guess I can explain the spoon. But I still can't really explain it. I am an intensely logical person, so I want to understand why my aging parents do the very strange things they do, but I know that some things just aren't meant to be understood. I realize that no matter how baffled I am, I have to make peace with it, knowing that one of the great luxuries of growing old is to be able to indulge in your quirks and idiosyncrasies, to be able to thumb your nose at convention and do whatever you damn well please. Really, if we can't have that, there's almost no point in getting old. With that in mind, I could have a lot of fun trying to decide just what sort of crazy old lady I will one day be.
The game is over now, incidentally, and I guess I did have an opinion a little bit, because I was surprised to feel a teensy bit sad when the Packers didn't rally for a last-minute win in the end. So I guess that answers that question, in case there was any doubt. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl. Or maybe the gene that favors the Packers is a dominant one. Let's hope some of those other genes aren't.