I did not talk to
the man with the sign that read SIX MONTHS TO LIVE, NEED TWO TICKETS, LAST
WISH. I thought...I don't know what I thought. I also did not talk to the man
with the sign that read WILL WORK FOR TICKET. Not funny. I did talk to the man
who was wearing a dress.
"I bought it
at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse, N.Y.," the man said. "I went in
there and told the lady I'd be trying on some dresses, if that was all right
with her. She said it was fine. Do you know what I found? I had to go to the
full-figure shop. I'm an 18½ in a woman's size."
That man's name
was Tom Mueller, and he said he worked for a volunteer literacy program in
Syracuse. His grand idea was a takeoff on the Wavy Lay's potato chip
commercial, featuring Buffalo Bill defensive end Bruce Smith, which was created
to dominate the airwaves during the NFL postseason. In the commercial, Smith
forces actor John Ratzenberger, formerly of Cheers, to wear a dress. Mueller
wore his dress, the $5.99 price tag still attached, and carried a sign that
read BRUCE MADE ME WEAR THIS.
Mueller had hoped
at first that someone from Frito-Lay would notice him and say something like,
"Hey, great idea, why don't you be our guest at the game?" That had not
worked. He had even called Frito-Lay headquarters, where he'd received
encouragement, but no ticket. He still wore the dress, a simple blue shift with
a white print, everywhere he went in Atlanta. He no longer thought that he was
going to be given a ticket, but had found that a dress is a fine conversation
starter when worn by a man.
though, saw me two days in a row," Mueller said outside the Georgia Dome on
Sunday as strangers stopped. to take his picture. "She told me that if I
was going to be wearing a dress every day, I'd better buy more than one. She
said if I wore the same dress two days in a row, people would talk, start
calling me a slut or something. She probably had a point."
"So what did
you think about the Super Bowl?" you ask. "Terrible about those sad
Buffalo Bills, huh? Poor Thurman Thomas. Poor Buffalo. Do you think the Dallas
Cowboys are a dynasty in the making? Do you think Emmitt Smith is the new Red
there so much for football," I say. "I was there for the other
stuff?" you ask.
I stood in the
lobby of the Hyatt Regency hotel, the media headquarters, and overheard a woman
finish a sentence with the phrase "...and then he put an entire cigarette
up his nose." I went to a party where a man asked what the white meat on
his plate might be and was told it was giraffe. He said it tasted like pork. I
walked the downtown streets of Atlanta, site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, and
stood in lines and then more lines. The streets seemed ready to burst. The
restaurants and taverns seemed ready to burst. The people, many of them, seemed
ready to burst. I saw one burst directly into a bag of souvenirs he had
purchased for the folks back home.
important thing about the Super Bowl is that it gets the people of Atlanta
thinking about the Olympic Games," Bob Brennan, press chief of the Atlanta
Olympic committee, said. "Until now, the Olympics have been sort of a vague
kind of thing. This is an idea of what the Olympics are going to be. There will
be 17 days of this."