Like many a family, my wife, my son, and I have our annual Super Bowl traditions. Your family’s traditions may involve alcohol, catering, betting, snacking, TV commercial reviews, party invitations, and sports. Ours, not really. On Super Bowl Sunday, every restaurant in town without a TV in its dining area is deserted from 6 p.m. to at least 10 p.m. We take advantage and go seclude ourselves someplace nice. usually having the whole joint to ourselves. Last year we tried a new Asian place down the road that was entirely deserted except for the waitstaff, who just didn’t get us and didn’t seem in the mood to cook or serve to their full potential. This year we returned to Bynum’s Steakhouse, our refuge from Super Bowl XLV two years ago. Much more acceptable.
Also part of our family tradition: catching a few minutes of Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s idea of Big Game counterprogramming. If you’re not entertained by the sight of muscular millionaires pounding on each other for a few seconds at a time in between montages of really expensive TV commercials, then perhaps you might prefer the sight of animals frolicking in a fuzzy play area while an unseen announcer and a referee impersonator provide fake context saturated with horrible puns and nearly as much product placement as the real Big Game.
However, one dissenting member of our household is not a Puppy Bowl fan:
Our dog Lucky doesn’t appreciate these large, cuddly strangers attempting to invade his turf through the magic portal in our living room. Once they capture his attention, he drops all other activities and chores (sleeping, sniffing for crumbs, napping, begging for supper, snoozing, etc.), runs up to the TV, whines and bats at the screen with his tiny, ineffective paw.
Lucky doesn’t understand why his defensive tactics fail to send the intruders running away in fear.
Lucky imagines himself our household’s answer to Homeland Security. This breach of our borders cannot be allowed to pass without immediate action. And yet, everything he tries fails. They don’t respond to his caterwauling. His batting is useless against them. They ignore him and show no respect for his authority. They disappear and reappear at their leisure. Even more mystifying, when he peeks around the back of the magic window, they’re not hiding there, either. Their sinister comings and goings frighten and confuse him.
Then there was Puppy Bowl IX’s Kitty Halftime Show. This invasion was even more repugnant to his speciesist sensibilities.
Other dogs were one thing, but cats? No. What effronteries they perpetrated, with their cavorting and their swiping at yarn and their crawling on their fluffy cat trees. Thus he stood on guard and ensured none dared enter through the portal.
THEY SHALL NOT PASS.
Eventually we turned the channel and allowed his frazzled nerves some time to recuperate. For us, this is usually all the Super Bowl Sunday excitement we need.