Are we having fun yet? A few of us are.
As I write this, the CDC has just issued a new recommendation that the wearing of two masks will help protect against the more contagious variants of the coronavirus. So if you’re keeping score at home, this gives us one more item to add to our Official List of Twos: two shots (or “jabs” if you’re reading this in the UK), two impeachments, two stimulus checks, and now two masks. My mother’s constant scold about not being greedy is getting a severe testing right now.
Actually, my mother has been on my mind quite a bit since the weekend. I watched those street celebrations in Tampa after the Super Bowl and couldn’t help but think back to her unusual views on fried chicken eating. I know, I know: I’m writing crazy drivel again. Just please stay with me for a moment or two. Besides, other than going outside and wearing two masks, what else have you got going on at the moment?
Let’s go back in time for a bit.
I can still vividly remember those buckets of chicken being brought into our home like it was yesterday. My family didn’t really do takeout food very much in the sixties. It was pizza and that was pretty much it (Chinese food mostly didn’t make regular appearances until the following decade). But those buckets with the Colonel’s face? That was something extraordinary.
My mother’s approach to it was rather extraordinary too. Killjoy is also an appropriate word. Instead of just allowing us to dig in and rapturously enjoy this delicacy, Mom’s inner domestic guilt kicked into high gear. A semi-observant Jewish mother to her core, she instinctively knew this was setting a bad precedent. What next, barbecued ribs? Well yes actually. Her later post-menopausal years exposed the larder door wide open to foods forbidden by rabbinic councils. But with that first appearances of the Colonel Sanders bucket, Mom decided to play offense in the dirtiest of sneaky maneuvers.
“Try eating it by removing the crunchy outer coating. It’s much healthier.”
I remember just staring at her for a moment. Was she serious? Dad just brought in this amazing delicacy into the house, something for which I would sing the commercial jingle on the way to school in the mornings, and she’s suggesting we REMOVE the absolute best part of it? Does she realize that would ruin the whole ‘finger lickin’ good’ vibe? Is she officially nuts? And why is she sweating?
I pondered this for a few seconds. You never knew if there was a freshly baked cake or pie hidden that could be offered as a reward for good behavior. But no, I was having none of it. My best defensive move was to emulate Alex Karras, my own gridiron hero on the lowly Detroit Lions. I ate like a pig. There was no way I was going to follow some dietary health protocol with that bucket of fried chicken sitting on the table. Sorry, Ma, but no.
Which finally brings me back to those celebrants on the streets of Tampa last weekend. (See? That wasn’t so hard.)
I watched all of them with great interest. It appeared to my own eyes that some of those people are a bit agnostic in following safety protocols. With masks limply draped over many a chin, these were the folks to be christened the “good” revelers, bless their hearts. I suspect such chin drapers are people who will fully don a mask when visiting supermarkets or office waiting rooms. They just feel it unnecessary in moments of caution-tossed exhilaration.
We won’t even bother discussing the “bad” revelers here; we’re all as tired of them as they are of us.
But I really can’t blame any of those happy Buccaneer fans, “good” or “bad.” I just can’t. The decision to hold a Super Bowl was made by awfully Smart People in the NFL, the state of Florida, and the city of Tampa. For those who live and breathe the excitement professional football, it must come across as a bit of a false choice that one can watch the game but not properly revel in its outcome, especially if your favorite team wins. They wanted their finger lickin’ feel-good moment, and I honestly cannot blame them.
I’m really not surprised that Tampa football fans for the most part ignored public pleas from local health officials to follow covid protocols. You want me to eat better? Please don’t tempt me with fried food on my own kitchen table. Likewise, you want your city streets populated with socially distanced, mask-wearing people? Don’t hold a Super Bowl in your town. Or maybe anywhere until next year. Michelle Norris in the Washington Post put it best with her own coining of Covid-schmovid.
And what did your humble blogger do and eat on this past Super Bowl Sunday? I ignored the game. We had on the Puppy Bowl during the afternoon (disclosure: I think I only glanced at it once) and later binged on Scott & Bailey episodes all night. We had pizza and beer. Gorgeous named me MVP and I went to bed. Maskless.
Until next time…