The Day After the Super Bowl” Flu”

Monday represented one of the least productive work days of the year. According to numerous studies, an estimated 1.5 million people play hookey from work on this seemingly normal day each year. Certainly it is not the weather that is keeping people home from work or school, for like always, it is cold and windy. Swine flu panic? That was so 2009. So then what on earth has people cowering in their homes this mundane Monday?

Of course, the pandemic sweeping the country this day is none other than the infamous "Day After the Super Bowl" flu. Super Bowl Sunday is the one day a year that football and non-football fans alike tune-in to the same channel to watch the championship game. While their motivations are quite different; the football fans watch to cheer on their favorite team or, if their favorite team was eliminated, to boo the team that beat their favorite team, the one-day-a-year fans tune in to watch the new and hilarious commercials, the half-time show and perhaps, the chance to watch wardrobes malfunction.

Every time there is an excellent football game or a chance to catch a bit of pop culture legend, we, as people, have a natural urge to group together with food and plenty of drink to watch it unwind.

A six-foot sub? No, I don’t think that is too much. 50 wings? I don’t know, that might not be enough, let’s make it 100. I guess we should get another tub of nacho cheese. Even though the game did not start until 6:30, you would be hard-pressed to find a party that did not start at least a couple hours before the kickoff. Crack open a beer and watch the Ritz Cracker pre-game show followed by the Pizza Hut pre-game show, with an interruption-laden President Obama interview conducted by Fox’s own Bill O’Reilly thrown in between the two for good measure.

After Terry Bradshaw finished acting like an idiot for the Big Dipper Pizza from Pizza Hut, and celebrity chef Guy Fieri showed just how versatile the humble Ritz cracker can be, one may expect to hear some analysis about the upcoming game, an interview with a player or coach, or something relevant. Nope, an interview with Owen Wilson promoting his next movie. Everybody drink for every word Wilson pronounces with his ultra-nasally voice that I had thought was only an act he did for his less-than-stellar movies.

Everybody take a sip for each time a celebrity is asked who he or she wants to win the game and instead of picking a team, simply say that they want an exciting game, or that they predict the game will be close, or another gem of insight that certainly no one anywhere else has already said a thousand times before.

After that four-and-a-half-hour commercial is over, it is time for kickoff. By now the last remaining chicken wings are cold and the last remains of the gigantic sub sandwich stare feebly back at me. But that’s all right, the game is about to begin. In a few minutes, it is commercial time. Everybody drink for each commercial that features an attractive girl to sell the product. Kim Kardashian is selling Sketchers Shape-Ups? I’ll drink to that.

Drink again if there are animals in a commercial, twice if the animal is depicted in human clothing or performing human activities, which seems to be pretty much all of them. Look at those dogs driving the car; oh snap, the cat driving the other car cut them off. Is it one sip per species of animal? One must know the rules.

This vicious cycle repeats throughout the rest of the game. Care to bet who won the MVP of the game? The drama is quite reduced when the cameras are focused on Aaron Rodgers as they are talking about who will be awarded as MVP, a full ten minutes before the formal declaration is made. Maybe take bets for how much time will be devoted to the Super Bowl during Sportscenter following the game. Drink for how long you were off, which seemed to be all sixty minutes.

Considering all of this, it becomes stunningly clear why so many people check-out of work and school this Monday morning. The excuse to have a party on a Sunday night, no holds barred. Just remind me to skip the pre-game show next year. Maybe I’ll watch the Puppy Bowl instead.