My brain is fried. I can’t put two words together. Let me explain:
I’m a N.Y. football Giants fan. But I’m not like you. You were very happy the Giants won the Super Bowl and you had a few extra drinks and went to bed happy. I went bananas.
I disgraced myself at our Super Bowl party by screaming every few minutes, “They’re gonna lose … they’re gonna lose …” I was hysterical, with my knees pulled up against my chest on every play, drooling and cursing Perry Fewell, the Giants’ inept defensive coordinator. Quite a few women who watched the game with us went up to my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, at the end of the game and offered their condolences. I heard a few of them whisper, “How can you be married to that man?”
One woman, whom I’ve never heard utter a negative word about anyone, walked out of my house and looked back at me and mumbled to Judy, “You poor thing. He’s a f&$%ing Debbie Downer.”
What people didn’t understand is that 99 percent of fans love their team and always feel like they are going to win. Then there’s that 1 percent of us who are the real fans, who know better and who always think their team is going to lose.
My fears last Sunday started with the National Anthem. The Giants have a tight end named Travis Beckum, who I felt would be important this game. Beckum is brittle. I saw him singing along with the National Anthem and I feared he would try to hit a high note and give himself a hernia. As it was, two minutes into the game he was writhing on the ground and had to be carted off. The other real fans and I who make up the 1 percent knew it was going to happen.
I told no one at my party about my superstition. I noticed at one point in the second half when the score was 17 to 12 in favor of the Patriots that every time I took a sip of vodka the Giants stopped the Patriots. So from then on when the Patriots had the ball I took a sip of vodka before each play. That’s a lot of vodka.
Don’t laugh. The Patriots didn’t score another point after I applied the Vodka Jinx.
Let me tell you about that Brady Hail Mary pass in the last five seconds. You saw it replayed a couple of times on television; by now you’ve forgotten it. I still see it every few minutes. I walk down the street and the play is right before my eyes. The ball goes up. I start to panic.
Sometimes in my imagination the ball hits the ground, as it actually did. One, maybe two out of 10 times, the ball pops up in the air and Gronkowski dives and catches it. I hear the announcer scream, “The Patriots win! The Patriots win!”
I went to bed with my earphones in my radio listening to WFAN, hungry for anything I could hear about the Giants’ victory.
It was like being alone in an insane asylum. All I wanted to do was to listen to the call-ins about the game. Do you have any idea who calls a sports radio station about a football game in the middle of the night? Do you want to know who listens to WFAN at 4:30 in the morning? Drunks. There was Al from Staten Island, Sid from the Bronx, Paulie from Kings Highway …
Their voices were slurred. They just wanted to talk about the Giants. My favorite was Vinny from Mineola.
Vinny started, “Hello Jack. Dish ish Vinny from Mineola. Dish was the besssst er … er … football game ever. Jack, what do you know? I lisshen to you every ni ni ni night and jor a Washhhington Redssskinnns faan. Do you know why the ere r Giants … er … er … er …” [silence].
Jack the announcer came on and said, “Vinny? Vinny? Oh, we’re having some technical difficulties with Vinny’s call.”
Baloney. There weren’t any technical difficulties. Vinny had fallen asleep. Jack came on and said, “Let’s go to Mary in Bayonne.” Mary was drunker than Vinny and still I listened.
I had just one hour’s sleep last night. I had a nightmare that Brandon Jacobs was discussing his theory of relativity with me, and every time I looked confused he knocked me down. I woke up, went back to sleep and had the strangest dream of them all. Before I tell you let me assure you that I’m straight.
In this dream Eli Manning and I were living together as a couple in Indianapolis. We had decided to adopt a Chinese baby. I woke up with a start. That’s crazy. Besides, what would we call the kid? Victor, after Victor Cruz? Or maybe Mario, after Mario Manningham? Has there ever been a Chinese baby called Hakeem? Then I jumped out of bed.
I just may never sleep again.