My Super Bowl Tradition: Psyching Up for the Carpenter Bowl
By Anthony Buccino
Invoking his 40 years of woodwork, windows and framing, I channeled a sliver of Dad's ingenuity and got that door open. "Cancel the 9-1-1 call, Honey," I called, "I'm out!"
During one Super Bowl I spent the evening changing the door knobs on all the doors in our old house. "That," my daughter has said for 25 years, "is why none of them close."
Who needs football to prove manliness? Men build stuff, use saws, hammers, nails, screwdrivers and pound nails. Me, I don't use those electrical gadgets you find in the box stores these days. I use the hand-tools Dad left behind 33 years ago. The ones with his initials burned into the handles. He was a carpenter and had a lot more practice, but I can still hit my left thumb pretty good.
Neither of us was much into watching football on TV. He preferred to sleep through war movies. His love was pedigree homing pigeons. I don't bet money on football. I won $10 on a football ticket in 1971, but Big John lost my ticket and I'm still waiting for Roger Ross to pay me. (He's hiding out in Hawaii.)
All those big super-charged football players are best used to run after each other and knock each other down. Spare the testosterone. Memory tells me that the high school rough kids' exuberance was corralled into wrestling and football. Better they should run in the mud, muck, ice and bone-chilling rain, snow and cold.
These days, my wife will call me in to see a super commercial as she flips from the game to her shopping channels. Or challenge me to choose the cutest puppy in the dog bowl while our old Lab lies nearby comatose, snoring through gray jowls. That is about as close as I get to any kind of bowl.
Like many I'll catch some commercial highlights in previews or post game. When I think of the money spent on ads for a football game, it's unthinkable. Some places have a soup-er bowl where they collect cash and food for soup kitchens. How many hungry folks could eat for the cost of a one-minute commercial?
The Super Bowl is coming to my neighborhood in a few years and all I think about is the traffic and how hard it would be to get to work if I'm working a real job by then. I would not bother to schnorr a free ticket to that game, it's not my style. Instead, I'll fix something around the house that has been awaiting repair. It's probably on the Honey-Do chit list right now.
When it came to those door knobs, I knew how it needed to be done. I had the tools, the hardware and the shims. They just wouldn't line up like they should have.
In the third quarter, the door jammed closed. I was locked in the spare bedroom. Contemplating climbing out the window onto the garage roof, dropping to the pavement and then trying to open the door from the hallway, yeah, that's when I wished Dad was by my side.
Invoking his forty years of woodwork, windows and framing, I channeled a sliver of his ingenuity and got that door open from inside. "Cancel the 9-1-1 call, Honey," I called down the stairs, "I'm out!"
Maybe we'll just leave these doors open, for circulation.
First published at The Write Side of 50 as My Super Bowl Sunday “Channel”: Dad.
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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.
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