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Gimme a smile: Super Bowl Sunday

Posted: February 3, 2013 - 1:00am

Time for the Super Bowl party. Everything is ready — the living room is tidied up, the ping-pong table is set up in the garage for football-phobes, and the snack bowls are overflowing. I just hope I’ll be able to turn the TV on when the time comes.

You need a degree just to turn on the TV anymore. College deans must be having a field day. The hottest new major is Remote Controls, with a specialty in Television. You can’t choose a more practical field than that. Check the course catalog—Controlling Your Remote So It Won’t Control You is a perennial favorite, and Advanced Channel Surfing always fills up quickly. Times have changed.

When I was a kid, you just walked across the room, pulled out the power knob and twirled it to choose the one out of four channels that you wanted to watch on your black and white set. One fluid movement, and you were good to go. Of course, you also had to twiddle the rabbit ears, moving them to the precise position needed to achieve reception, and then deputize your little brother to hold them perfectly still throughout your entire show. But at least you knew how to turn on the television. Today, it takes me two remotes just to turn on the TV—one to work the power, and another to change the channel. I can see I’ll need a refresher course in Channel Changing 101 before Super Bowl Sunday.

Now what are the chances that those two remotes are going to be waiting for me in the remote basket when I need them? Sad to say, I really do have a remote basket, and it has five remotes in it. I had to label each one: TV, Blu-ray, VCR and TV Channels. Why the TV remote can’t change the TV channels is a mystery to me, but it can’t. The fifth one is the Universal Remote that we bought in the hopes of simplifying our remote situation. We couldn’t figure out how to turn it on.

Once I’ve finally managed to turn on the TV, I can turn my attention to the second most important part of the Super Bowl experience — the snacks. For some reason, the Super Bowl prompts the creation and consumption of the widest variety of snacks on the calendar menu. Nutritional guidelines get left in the end zone, and deep fried, salted and super-sugary snacks take the field. Maybe we’re all trying to beef ourselves up to the size of our favorite linebacker? Let’s hear it for armchair quarterbacks!

In our house, the slider seems to be the snack of the year. Essentially a miniature burger, made small so you can consume lots of them, the slider comes in many varieties. We’ll be noshing on pulled pork sliders, rotisserie chicken sliders, and even Primanti sliders, featuring coleslaw and French fries sandwiched along with the desired meat inside a squishy white bun, à la the signature sandwich from Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh. Too bad the Steelers aren’t playing this year.

The other highlight of Super Bowl Sunday is the commercials, of course. Three-hundred-sixty-four days out of the year, people all across America abandon their TV sets during commercial breaks to visit the restroom, call their moms back for a quick conversation before the show starts up again, or fill up their snack bowls. But on Super Bowl Sunday, the snacks have to stay in the TV room and Mom will just have to wait until the final touchdown, because nobody’s going to risk missing the commercials. They’re the best part of the whole show. Remember the Darth Vader ad from two years ago? Classic! If you missed it, you can always look it up on YouTube — I know I have. I’ve watched that ad numerous times, and I still don’t know what product was being advertised — sad but true.

So enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. There should be lots of tasty snacks and clever commercials, assuming you can get the TV turned on okay. Oh, and you’ll also get to watch some football in between times. Go team! Pass the sliders.

• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother and aspiring author. She likes to look at the bright side of life.

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