I think that maybe I'm getting too old for this. I prowled around the fringes during Super Bowl Week, looking for trouble. The snarl was my standard form of greeting.
"You've just got to try to relax a little," The Flaming Redhead told me. Easy for her to say. She was tucked away, reviewing her Italian lessons all week ... yes, she's seriously studying the language of Casanova and Machiavelli ... while I was listening to our own language being butchered by every form of communication.
Relax! Has anyone ever taken it easy because someone said, "Take it easy?" Or stopped worrying, after being told, "Don't worry?"
So there I was, in a rat's maze of cubicles and circular bubble-warren's and more concentric circles than Dante's circles of hell, all of it called the Renaissance Center at the Marriott in Detroit...(I never did figure out how to get from Point A to Point B in that place.) There I was, badgering the NFL staff and the people affiliated with the Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee, whom I assumed had collaborated on putting up the signs that read 40th Anniversary.
"It's not the 40th anniversary," I tried to explain. "It's the 39th. It's the 40th game, not anniversary."
"Sir, we're trying to work here."
"Look, was Super Bowl I the first anniversary?"
"Sir, if you don't leave, we're going to have to call security."
They gave us a little poop sheet when we checked in, kind of a schedule of events. I found my No. 1 on the Definitely Won't Attend list. Campbell's Chunky Soup event with Donovan and Wilma McNabb. On second thought, I might be able to squeeze a one-liner out of it, something about this year's Souper Bowl. On third thought, better forget it.
Tuesday was picture and media day at Ford Field, a gridiron full of journalistic talent. Once, many years ago, when the throng was particularly dense, a TV lady with a mobile unit came over to me and asked, "What's the answer to all this?"
"Birth control," I said, and she shot me a castor-oil grimace, turned to her cameraman and yelled, "Kill that!" and stalked away.
If she would have let me finish, I'd have explained that most of these people shouldn't have been born in the first place, but I never got the chance.
I got into only two near-fights this time. I was talking to the Steelers' ninth DB, Tyrone Carter (why, I'll never know ... working on some kind of weird angle, I guess) and some geek in a long black coat asked him who had the best beard on the team, and he told him, and then he asked him for the worst, and he mentioned someone else, and then the guy said, "Not Ben Roethlisberger?" and threw back his head and burst into a huge wave of laughter.