Michael J Nelson: Ready, or Not? (for football)

Posted by Peter

Michael J Nelson (of Mystery Science Theater fame
Hank Williams Jr. seems so earnest and enthusiastic, as though he really wants all my rowdy friends to come over tonight, after, and only after, I get ready for some football. But because I live in stoic Minnesota, it's tough for me to even find rowdy friends. Oh, on a good day, I suppose my friend Tom qualifies as rowdy; one time his ripple chip fell into his Mr. Pibb and he fished it out and ate it anyway. Tom's insane! The rest of my friends are far more cautious and staid.

And it's tough to even fake rowdiness when your team stinks. This year, the Vikings have so far played not so much like Vikings as they have, say, Minoans. Nothing against the Minoans: I'm sure they had a fine civilization, as ancient civilizations go. It's just that they're not renowned for their fierceness. Great clay pots. Just kind of a wimpy people.

So what can you do? Not getting ready for some football just isn't an option. I can't imagine how hurt Hank, Jr. would be if I had to lie and say, "I'm sorry, Mister Williams Junior. Maybe it's the weather, or maybe I'm just logy from eating that big brunch--but I'm really not ready for some football." His large brimmed hat would sag with disappointment.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways fans with losing teams can get ready for some football, and encourage their rowdy friends to come over and prepare themselves for some as well! To start, try getting everyone ready for some foosball. It's a very similar game, except in football the men are larger and have arms, but otherwise it's hard to tell them apart. Foosball is a good warm-up, because it's about 1/18th scale, so it takes eighteen times less effort to get ready for it.

You might also try warming up your guests by hiring a clown. But instead of a traditional orange-haired happy clown named Coco or Tinkles, hire one of those sad European clowns with the tattered clothes and the three-day growth. Five minutes of his European sad-clownery and your guests will be ready for anything else, you name it: knitting, Adam Sandler movies, painting your house. Even if your team racks up negative yards and loses triple digits to nothing, everyone will prefer that to watching Shambles pretend to eat his own shoe.

Getting people rowdy is relatively easy. The most obvious ploy, and one I've used dozens of times, is to repeatedly poke them in the chest while saying, "Does this bug you? Am I bugging you?" If that doesn't work, raise their taxes, or steal their Coke out of the lunchroom refrigerator. If all of this fails, you'll have to covertly slip in a videotape of an old game that your team won handily and pretend it's today's game. If anyone notices that Fred Biletnikoff is in at wide receiver and that they're showing cigarette ads--and they haven't been legal since 1971--then just point out how ridiculous the stupid sad European clown looks and go get more cheese dip as a distraction.

If you pull all this off, when Hanks asks, you and your guests can say enthusiastically and without hesitation, "Yes, we are for the most part ready for some football, I suppose."

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