He Didn’t Watch the Super Bowl

He didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night. Didn’t know much about who was playing, didn’t care either. He thought it was a mighty thing to be tapped into the zeitgeist, an even mightier thing to be tapped out of it. It was freeing, really, to just not give a shit.

He could have paid attention to any number of the news stories, the broadcasts, the articles online — it wouldn’t take long to get up to speed, to know what was happening. And yet there was no desire to, no pressing need. It just didn’t matter.

There was a basketball game earlier in the day. The Knicks played the Denver Nuggets. The Knicks lost — a losing streak, in fact; five games straight — which lead to their coach getting fired. He watched the basketball game, for he thought basketball was God’s sport.

He wasn’t living under a rock. Knew people were excited about the Super Bowl, could sense the anticipation in the streets. The people, they were fired up. In stores, party trays were for sale, snack packs, things to serve guests. Football is far more about eating than athletics.

That much was true, for to watch the Super Bowl, to gather with other people and experience it together, it was a social thing. But he never found excitement in that kind of socializing. Maybe for boxing or basketball, but never for football. And absolutely never for baseball.

Outside, the air was cold. And deep beneath the cavernous towers that crowd New York’s skyline, all was empty. An entire city had decamped to its nearest TV set. There was something important going on. A contest, this one versus that one, so many stories beyond the game itself, but ultimately just that — a game.

No matter who won or lost, it would be, like so many things, just a moment of glory. A triumph that would last only but so long. For tomorrow would come and life would go on, and through the game, spectators could know victory or loss; in the end though, nothing would really change. Except for the winners and losers themselves.

Fists would be pumped, cheers would be shouted and things would be eaten. Chicken wings, mostly. When it was over, the final score would be tallied. There would be excitement and disappointment, more news stories and more conversation. An ongoing cycle of what? — he did not really know. All meaningless, he felt. A way to fill space, to cure the emptiness, to find some joy, any joy, in an utterly joyless life.

Instead, on that dark empty street he walked. Silently, alone — watching, as the people with the other people watched the other people play their silly games against the other people, and saw them have their silly fun and their silly victories and their silly losses. And he thought, gee, this is all so silly.

He looked away from the people, pulled his jacket collar up around his neck and shrugged.

Then, he kept on walking.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.