February 6, 2005 - Updated: July 1, 12:09 a.m.
Here at the IN Life section, we believe in a philosophy of no child left behind. And we want to do our part to help the Spokane area maintain its family-friendly reputation. So today, on America’s unofficial national holiday, we present “A Kids’ Guide to Super Bowl Parties.” Sure, some hosts think it is fine to banish children to the basement to watch videos and play games during the football fest. But young people are curious by nature. They will want to observe the grown-ups’ revelry. Trouble is, they probably won’t understand everything they see. So here are some answers to questions kids are sure to have. (Adults should stop reading now.)
I. “Does anyone actually care about either of these teams?” No, but that’s not the point.
II. “What’s the point then?” To momentarily take our minds off our lives of quiet desperation.
III. “Why is that one woman rolling her eyes?” She’s sitting next to someone who actually believes “I’m more interested in the commercials than the game” is an original observation.
IV. “Why is that man across the room rolling his eyes, too?” He’s trapped listening to someone who apparently assumes she is the only person who ever saw the dipping-etiquette scene in a famous episode of “Seinfeld.”
V. “What are those funny-smelling things on platters with toothpicks stuck in them?” Those are called hors d’oeuvres.
VI. “What is that man sticking down behind a sofa cushion when he thinks no one is looking?” Those are called hors d’oeuvres.
VII. “Why is that person yelling at the TV even though neither team has done much of anything yet?” That sad little man wants everyone to think he is a big-time gambler. And one of his 45 bets on the game called for the first field goal to take place with exactly 11:24 left in the first quarter.
VIII. “How come some people are staying in the kitchen the whole time?” Those people are talented gossips who firmly believe that the kitchen is always the best place to hear the truly juicy stuff at any party.
IX. “Why is that man who sounds like he has the flu coughing on the pizza?” Good question.
X. “Why are those men acting so weird around that woman with the line going down her front?” That “line” is what’s known as cleavage. It sometimes makes daddies act silly.
XI. “Why does that one man look all around to see who is standing near him before he says what he’s going to say?” It’s because he’s about to say something interesting.
XII. “How come people keep examining the front of their own shirts and blouses?” They’re checking to see how bad the stain is from when they dropped a glop of melted cheese on themselves two minutes after arriving at the party.
XIII. “Why do those five people on that long couch keep fidgeting and shifting positions?” Personal space in social settings is a game of inches.
XIV. “What does ‘Beating the spread’ mean?” It refers to successfully fending off the hostess when she offers a snack that looks like “CSI” evidence.
XV. “Who is that one man who is being so loud, even though everyone around him is grimacing?” That man is the Life of the Party. He will not be invited back next year.
XVI. “What’s with the guy glowering on the sofa?” He wants everyone to know he is a serious football fan who doesn’t approve of people treating the National Football League as something less than a religion.
XVII. “Why is Mommy smiling at Daddy in that way that usually means she’s not feeling very smiley inside?” She’s not happy that he’s having his 14th beer and it’s not even halftime yet.
XVIII. “How come half the people at the party appear to be in pain?” The other half, the people doing the talking, had the hummus.
XIX. “Why did people get mad when that one man administered the Heimlich maneuver on that woman?” She wasn’t really choking, and that wasn’t really the Heimlich maneuver.
XX. “Are the people who are making fun of the losing coach all football experts?” No, they are something else.
XXI. “What is networking?” It’s something people do when they view social occasions as opportunities for career advancement.
XXII. “Why is that man yelling ‘Bitter Beer Face!’ and then looking like he needs to go to the bathroom?” Someone laughed when he did that 10 years ago, and so he’s just kept doing it.
XXIII. “Why does that woman talking to that man keep touching her hair?” She’s either adjusting a barrette or signaling her sexual availability.
XXIV. “Why is that one man talking about Zags basketball at party celebrating a football game?” Chances are, he is incapable of talking about anything else.
XXV. “Why does that one woman look so sad?” She just emerged from the bathroom and now realizes she has spent the last hour with a major hunk of spinach dip wedged between two front teeth.
XXVI. “What’s a nacho injury?” It’s what can happen when you bite down on a pointy corner of a chip. But sometimes you’ve gotta play hurt.
XXVII. “Why is Mommy smiling that way at Daddy again?” She overheard him talking about a young woman who just arrived at the party when he said, “Man, I wouldn’t mind if she had a wardrobe malfunction.”
XXVIII. “Would anyone notice if I changed the channel?” Probably not right away.
XXIX. “Who is the most valuable player?” That would be the designated driver.
XXX. “Why is that one man having a hard time breathing?” He has been holding in his gut the whole time he has been talking to the host’s nanny.
XXXI. “How come that man over by the bar never looks at the face of the woman he’s talking to?” (See X.)
XXXII. “Why were those people arguing about the Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones during halftime?” Because some of them failed to comprehend that without the Beatles there wouldn’t have been any Rolling Stones.
XXXIII. “What exactly does ‘casual elegance’ mean on a party invitation?” Around here, it means jeans and sweatshirts.
XXXIV. “How come there’s nothing in the medicine cabinet?” The hosts would prefer that the people in the kitchen talk about the furnishings and the view.
XXXV. “What’s up with the woman offering the long critiques of each and every commercial?” She really wants to direct.
XXXVI. “Why does that one man keep muttering about how it’s no wonder that many in other parts of the world hate us?” It could be argued that the 18-hour Super Bowl telecast does not showcase America’s thoughtful, sensitive side.
XXXVII. “Why is Mommy talking to that lawyer about Daddy?” She’s about to signal the two-minute warning. (A minute ago, Daddy watched the host’s nanny bend over to pick up a bar towel and loudly said, “I wouldn’t mind seeing a video replay of THAT.”)
XXXVIII. “Why is that one woman coming downstairs to check on us kids every 20 seconds?” She is what’s known as a Performance Parent. Spokane has a lot of them.
XXXIX. “What would it be like if it could be Super Bowl season all year long?” Don’t ask.