I’m not brave enough to subject myself to Mitch Albom’s “The five people you meet in heaven,” but I heard enough Albom keister kissing when his emotionally strangling book came out years ago to know the general plot line. Dude dies, meets five people, and they tell him something about his life that he wouldn’t have known otherwise. The heart is left to ache, weep, and whimper.
The Super Bowl and your Super Bowl party–whether you’re hosting or attending–is no time for weeping, but there is one similarity between the people living in Albom’s imagined heaven, and the strange inhabitants of Earth that you’ll discover at your Super Bowl party.
You’ll learn something from them, because they all have a message for you. Yes, buried somewhere deep beneath the layers of macho manliness is an intellectual experience on Super Bowl Sunday. I kid you not, my fellow pigskin prognosticators, and I challenge you to take even a few brief seconds to have a ghostly, out-of-body experience as the beings around you laugh, chortle, and yell at a box with flickering light.
When your mind briefly leaves the body and the eyes take a fleeting break from the television, you’ll see things you could have never seen otherwise, things that can’t be unseen.
You’ll see people, and for three hours they’ll hardly be people. They’ll be caricatures of people you once knew.
You need at least a week to prepare for this experience, so here are the 10 people you’ll likely meet on Super Bowl Sunday, and how to manage them.
Feel free to add others you’ve encountered in your past Super Bowl travels.
1. The constant phone talker/texter/messenger/general vacuum for all normal human interaction
Cause: Present everywhere in our daily lives, the negative effects of this creature are far more damaging when the need for sustained concentration is high. These people suffer from both supreme boredom, and the inability to fake an interest in a subject they don’t care about.
Solution: Cell phone jamming devices are impractical for one night, and cumbersome. So build a sound-proof bubble specifically for this person, and carve out a peep hole. If this contraption is structured properly you will not hear the gleeful screams of the constant texter when they learn that Jane is going on a second date with Johnny.
Remember when cell phones first came out and they were just giant boxes? Those were the good ol’ days. Now human interaction is a lost art.
2. The double dipper
Cause: Greed, and a total disregard for basic hygiene.
Solution: Early in the evening closely monitor the movement of each hand as it travels from the chip bag, to the dip, to the mouth, and back again. Identify those who skip the most important step in the chip dip cycle: re-chipping. When the double dipper is identified, be discrete, and slowly secure a separate dip for both yourself, and the other single dippers. The double dipper will then be successfully isolated.
Those who live a gluttonous life are doomed to a lonely existence, and they will also be restricted to just one flavor of dip.
3. The table circler
Cause: Similar to the double dipper, greed is at play here, but sheer bottomless hunger is the primary motivator.
Solution: There is no counter attack for the circler once the night is underway. Their act is subconscious, and once the circular pattern begins it will not stop until the entire food supply has been drained. The presence of the circler must be anticipated with pre-game research and preparation, and the table should be positioned in a manner that makes circling impossible.
This is most commonly done with a wall, which isn’t ideal because then the evening’s eats are not in a central location. Assign a threat level to your circler during your research, weigh your options, and proceed carefully.
4. The guy who brings homemade salsa and thinks it’s really good
Cause: Inflated self-esteem, and far too many hours watching Guy Fieri lick spoons on the Food Network.
Solution: Consume heaping helpings of the non-mouth scaring salsa on the table prior to trying the rogue salsa. The taste of the devil’s paste that dances down your throat should be minimized, and no one’s feelings will be hurt.
5. The Reaction Mirror
Cause: This person lacks football knowledge, and likely sports knowledge in general. Their actions aren’t necessarily motivated by a desire to fit in–instead they want to share and participate in your excitement, but they just don’t know how. So when there’s yelling in the room of any kind, the Reaction Mirror will also yell, usually loudly, dramatically, and with far more animation that what’s required.
Arms will flail, feet will kick, and drinks will be spilled.
Solution: Don’t fight the Reaction Mirror, embrace them for your amusement. When there’s a first quarter incompletion on a three-yard checkdown, jump and run to the other side of the room. They will follow.
6. The Agitator
Cause: This person is a casual football fan, and often even less than casual. But to become more engaged in the game, they need to pick a team, and they intentionally side with the team that the majority of the room is not supporting, and they do this loudly in an attempt to annoy the most passionate and die-hard fans in attendance.
Solution: Repeatedly remind The Agitator of their lack of team knowledge, and ask them to name players on their team of choice. This will likely fail, since The Agitator is the most difficult Super Bowl species to combat because they are proud of their little knowledge. Their lack of knowledge is a power source, and they feed off of your annoyance.
A deep Zen place is the only true solution, especially if your team is losing.
7. The chronic prop bettor
Cause: The general impulse to gamble, and the belief that the outcome of every conceivable event has a monetary value.
Solution: There isn’t one, because none is needed. Typically the chronic prop bettor is fun and engaging, and their inventive wagering creates ways to keep others focused solely on football, which can help to contain the table circler, and possibly the double dipper. This makes the prop bettor far more friend than foe.
8. The quiet but eerily tense game watcher
Cause: Bottled and volatile emotion that could erupt at any moment.
Solution: The opposite of The Agitator, this person needs silence, and therefore they have no desire to be in this party atmosphere. But they are, and they’re dangerous. Don’t touch them.
9. The TV yeller
Cause: The TV yeller is another antithesis, this time to the intense game watcher above. Driven by adrenaline, they often use terms like “we” and “they” to address the two opposing teams. They may also be wearing shoulder pads.
Solution: Put them in the bubble with the chronic texter.
10. The guy who clearly researched random stats before the game
Cause: A desire to demonstrate superior knowledge that doesn’t exist. This person also wants to use that fake knowledge to impress a specific section of the room, usually the Reaction Mirrors who are often but not always female. When those two interact, false knowledge spreads and multiplies.
Solution: Ask them to explain the Cover 2.