From the desk of friendly neighborhood paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney of Des Moines, Iowa.
Super Bowl celebration in my house as a boy usually involved my dad and me stretched out on the basement furniture with bowls of popcorn on our bellies and a fizzy Pepsi on ice on coasters atop the end table.
Time passed and things change, as they do, and many years have passed since Dad and I watched the championship game together. The pandemic prevented us from gathering this year.
I work most Sundays. I called home to ask who my dad picked to root for on my lunch break. We pick opposite teams during most championships unless one of our favorite teams is playing.
My dad picked the Kansas City Chiefs. I rooted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We promised to text during the game.
My dad defines soft-spoken. His quiet belies his thoughtfulness — he can drop a wisdom bomb like few I’ve known — but his absence of gregariousness hides a wicked sense of humor.
The following is a partial transcript of texts during the big game.
On a missed touchdown that slid through a receiver’s hands and hit him in the helmet:
DAD: Almost a touchdown be he couldn’t catch it with his face.
On breaks in the action:
ME: I didn’t understand any of the last three commercials.
DAD: That’s probably a good thing.
On CBS Sports self-promotion:
DAD: I cannot wait for the halftime reporting.
On the Coors Light “shortage” commercial:
DAD: Nothing like watching a good truck wreck.
On a Tom Brady touchdown pass:
DAD: Nice throw by twinkle toes.
On a shoe commercial about 2020 and soft soles:
ME: Hey, did you hear last year sucked? I’m glad these commercials are here to remind me.
DAD: With the right shoes, this year will be like walking on clouds.
On a call against the Chiefs:
DAD: The fix is in.
On a commercial about working out with paint cans, broomsticks and rubber bands:
DAD: I had weights like that as a kid.
On Kansas City’s anemic offense and bright yellow shoes:
DAD: They would score more without bananas on their feet.
On hearing about Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ toe injury one too many times:
DAD: Take a time out and get a replacement toe.
On a commercial for a new melon-flavored Mountain Dew in a pink hue:
DAD: Pepto-flavored Mountain Dew?
As the game becomes out of reach for the Chiefs:
DAD: (Mahomes) has never lost by double digits? Is that another toe reference?
On a commercial that references the center of the 48 contiguous United States:
DAD: We went to see the center of the country. Lebanon, Kansas. 2018 (He texts three pictures he took of the site on one of their trips.)
I slept through big portions of the ballgame. I remember Tom Brady and Tampa Bay won.
But I mostly remember texts from my dad — and the thought that the jokes would’ve been much funnier in person.
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