I did not watch the Super Bowl because I am better than you. I have more willpower than you. I have a stronger moral compass. I have decided to forego watching the sport of football because of ethical concerns, and I did not waver from this decision. It is 9 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, and I have no idea who won. I am comfortable with this decision, if not more than a little smug.
Also, the 49ers are trash. That’s the main reason I stopped watching football. The 49ers are one of the worst teams in professional sports, a weekly sewage leak, and it turns out that Sundays are good for projects around the house. I’m not better than you. I’m a fraud who will come crawling back to football as soon as the 49ers are good again. I’m a fair weather fan, a fake, exactly the kind of sports consumer I’ve railed against for decades.
Still, ask me at a party about how I don’t watch football. Too late. I’ve already told you.
This lack of interest in football and the Super Bowl isn’t something we should waste, though. This is something we can exploit for science. Let’s say that one of these years, you decide to become as morally pure as me. You decide to cleanse your soul and renounce the gladiatorial barbarism. Or maybe you’re following a trash-ass team that smells like sulphur and orphans. Either way.
How should you spend your Super Bowl Sunday? How can you maximize your willingness to avoid the Big Game? How can you take advantage of these sheep glued to their electric picture-box? What should you do?
This is the only poem I’ve written in the last decade:
Costco on a Sunday Afternoon
Capitalism is sitting on my face
And I’ve forgotten the safe word
I typed that out on my phone with shaky hands because I was so disgusted with what I was in the middle of. It was Hieronymus Bosch painting a thousand writhing Milton Friedmans, and I vowed never to return to Costco on a weekend again.
The Man in Facepaint stood on a pile of 108-ounce Gatorade jugs. He took a Bowie knife and ran it from shoulder to shoulder, the blood cascading over his bare chest.
He took the ivory didgeridoo and blew. The notes were long and sustained, low and guttural.
They came. The teeming, forsaken masses came, climbing over each other, beating each other back with 46-packs of toilet paper. The Man in Facepaint smiled.
Screw that. But the working theory was that it shouldn’t be too bad on Super Bowl Sunday. The start of the Super Bowl should have been just before the busiest time of the week, according to Google.
Yeah, that’s about right. If my cat’s heart medicine were sold only at Costco on Sunday, I would sure save money on kitty litter. Because screw you, cat. Get your own medicine.
On Super Bowl Sunday, though, surely it’s like a loophole, right? Right?
Not really. Still packed as all hell. It’s almost certainly worse on a normal Sunday, but there were scores and hundreds who just didn’t give a single hot damn about the Patriots and Falcons. And keeping with the purest Costco tradition, they all truly believed that they were the only people on Earth. Why put a pallet of strawberries in your shopping cart when you can pull the cart into the middle of the aisle and angle it just so in order to block both directions? I can respect that.
I was hoping to talk with sad grown-ups in the TV section who were reduced to a Costco Super Bowl experience because the person running their household decided that warehouse bulk shopping couldn’t wait. But the TVs weren’t even turned to the Super Bowl. There was no one there. Except for the everyone who was there because, good lord, Costco on Sunday is a cosmic rash.
Compared to regular Sunday Costco, we have a 5/10 for Super Bowl Costco. If you’re even 5 percent interested in the Super Bowl, just watch the danged game instead of thinking you’re a step ahead of society. You’re really not a step ahead, you know. Costco is slightly better during the Super Bowl, but not so much that you need to make special plans.
Anyway, if you want to drink olive oil by the liter and wipe yourself a roll at a time, swing by my place. We’re set up for a while.
The Safeway of the Damned
You might not have a Safeway of the Damned. You might not have a Safeway at all. But feel free to substitute the unfathomably busy grocery store of your choice. I have a Safeway that’s within walking distance of my house. It takes a few seconds to get there by car. It should be the convenience of conveniences.
Yet, I still drive an extra five minutes to go to a different grocery story in another town because, good lord, that nearby Safeway is the Safeway of the Damned. So, so crowded, regardless of what time of day it is. People have a system there, allowing the thoroughfares between the registers and the aisles to remain clear while the lines spill back into the aisles, five or six carts deep. I have never, ever, ever seen a 15-items-or-fewer lane open in the Safeway of the Damned, even though the signs hang above, taunting you, while you wait a half-hour in line to buy nothing but the antacid that you desperately need.
I had three items to buy in the Safeway of the Damned: Milk, gum, and cereal. On a normal Sunday, that was at least a half-hour proposition.
Total time elapsed on Super Bowl Sunday: Six minutes.
Hot damn. Next year, I’ll buy a year’s worth of groceries at the same time. The ground turkey will probably keep just fine if I use enough salt. The unfathomably busy grocery store near you gets a 8/10 during the Super Bowl. It’s worth checking out.
You might not have an In-N-Out where you live. My condolences. The good thing about having an In-N-Out close is that you get to eat their delicious foodstuffs. I’m not a purist — I secretly think that Shake Shack is better — but it’s a nearly perfect representative of the inexpensive drive-thru genre. Your regional equivalent is stupid and boring.
The only problem is that everyone else wants In-N-Out, too. Always. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 a.m. or p.m. The line is always stretching deep into the parking lot. It’s exceptionally rare to reach the speaker where you place your order because there’s usually a worker roaming far beyond the speaker, taking orders, trying to catch up.
My mom calls it In And Eventually Out. You would like my mom. She makes jokes like me.
Anyway, this is what the line at In-N-Out looked like at 5:30 p.m., two hours after kickoff.
That picture is the beginning of a Resident Evil game. Pure desolation. I wasn’t even hungry, but I went through and ordered fries and a Coke, just because I could. Next year, I just might order a hamburger, then drive around and eat it while placing an order for another one. Because why not just get the freshest, warmest hamburgers possible, and keep going through the empty drive-thru to achieve that goal?
Getting a good ol’ trendy burger is good for a 10/10 during the Super Bowl. Next year, we’re piling the family into the car and getting a bushel of Double Doubles. I might just get back in line after every individual French fry. I can’t relay just how exciting this is.
This is the best part about ignoring the Super Bowl. Other than the moral superiority, which is off the charts.
Next year, I’ll have plans. IKEA? Disneyland? Both, perhaps on the same day? Please leave some possible suggestions in the comments, if you would. Until then, please note that Costco is always dumb-busy, the busiest grocery stores are doing better, and In-N-Out is a ghost town.
All this information seemed very important at the time, and I hope you can use it next year, when you are as pure of heart and mind as I am. Because I didn’t even watch the Super Bowl. Look at me! Didn’t even watch it.