7 FEB 11: Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
If I'm wrong about something, I don't mind being corrected about it. In fact, I want to know. The last few weeks have shown the new Columbus mayor will do that with amazing speed - sometimes within 24 hours.
But there are times when I don't want to be told something - on purpose. For years I've done occasional experiments to see how long I can go WITHOUT learning a major item of information. It's a test of whether I can escape the inundation of The Mass Media. It also shows whether I can live comfortably in an Amish community.
Sunday night was another of those experiments - and as I've done several times before, I avoided the Super Bowl. After all, most of the churches I've attended warn if the world is going in one direction, a good believer heads the other way. Maybe that explains some of the reactions I get when I don't shower for a couple of days.
To be honest, I seldom get invited to Super Bowl parties. I had to miss one in Columbus due to work commitments. And the one invitation I could accept occurred 30 years ago in suburban Kansas City. My radio station's sales manager invited all the employees to his home -- and I annoyed a few people by following my college training, and doing play-by-play aloud during the telecast.
(That party was the night I discovered how fanatical some people are about pro football. The host made sure no one missed a play by setting television sets in every room of the house - even the bathroom. Come to think of it, he didn't tune in the radio broadcast on a competing station.)
I've used Super Bowl Sunday nights for everything from special prayers to work on my income tax returns. I simply turned off the TV and radio for the night, and kept things quiet. This year I kept my radio on Columbus religious stations - where by the way, you never hear references to "hail Mary" plays.
Last February brought the most unusual interruption to my Sunday of Super Bowl silence. The phone rang as I worked on my income tax, and a blog reader started telling me how much he'd won by gambling on New Orleans to beat Indianapolis. I tried to stop him, but he didn't understand. But then again, I didn't understand how he could gamble while complaining to me of a lack of funds.
On a couple of occasions, I've been able to remain ignorant about the winner of the Super Bowl for days. It was easy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Turn off the sports reports, look away from newspaper racks, avoid Monday morning newscasts -- and the toughest part: turning up other things when co-workers start talking about the game.
But in 2011, dodging Super Bowl media hype is much tougher. You have to avoid all kinds of websites which put news headlines and photos on their home pages. I even have to cover part of the computer screen with my hand, when I call up e-mail accounts. It's truly never been more difficult to be dumb.
I've come up with creative explanations for why I avoid the Super Bowl. If someone blows a guilt cloud of ignorance in my direction, I respond I'm showing I'm NOT addicted to football. Why, I can stop watching it anytime I choose.
But it turns out I'm not the only one who's become a Super Bowl avoider. A few years ago, a woman brought up the game during a morning church devotional I attended - and very few people in the sanctuary raised their hands to admit they watched. Moments like this separate the "fun" from fundamentalism.
So how did things go Sunday night? I played a weekly championship tournament in online poker, where not one person mentioned the Super Bowl. And I avoided WTVM's late-night newscast, since they mentioned a Super Bowl charity party at The Loft at 6:00 p.m. All it takes is one drunk guy who picked the winning team....
So as you read this, I may have no idea who won the Super Bowl. But you may be in the dark about some of these weekend headlines:
+ Columbus Police reported a fight developed at the end of the Carver-Kendrick high school basketball game. Then an AK-47 gun was found in the back seat of someone's car in the parking lot. This suspect must have misunderstood what sort of "long-distance shooting" was planned inside the gym.
+ WLTZ went to Wild Bill's Party Shop and asked customers about a proposal to allow Sunday liquor sales in stores across Georgia. One customer said of complaints from ministers: "People are going to say what they're going to say, but we've gotta do what we've gotta do." Part of me wants to see this man's police record....
+ Leaders of Trees Columbus told WRBL about 25 percent of its trees were lost due to last year's drought. That's actually a little comforting - because it shows the expanded police force has prevented those trees from being stolen.
+ The Georgia Department of Revenue finally restored "direct deposit" tax refunds which were removed from bank accounts a few weeks ago. This is why I'm uncomfortable with direct deposit programs in general. People who give you money can take it away without notifying you - and before you know it, they have star billing in Southern Homes magazine.
+ Alabama Senator Richard Shelby made his annual visit to Phenix City, and talked about a constitutional amendment he's proposed to require a balanced federal budget. Where was this idea during the last 15 years, when Shelby kept adding pork-barrel projects and earmarks to spending bills?
+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Georgia football coach Mark Richt convinced Carver's Isaiah Crowell to commit by arranging an indoor practice session with NO running backs. They might have tried the same thing at Alabama -- only with female greeters wearing short skirts in the backfield.
+ ESPN reported rock star Jon Bon Jovi is being offered partial ownership of the Atlanta Falcons. Can't you see the 2011 team now - with half the players inspired to grow long hair, along the lines of Troy Polamalu?
+ Instant Message to the Pro Football Hall of Fame: I assume you'll be building an expanded area this spring - to make room for Deion Sanders's ego.
BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.89 a gallon at USA Mini-Mart on the 280 Bypass in Phenix City.... double-stack sandwiches for 99 cents at Wendy's.... and the people at today's public hearing on a Russell County landfill failing to agree on anything....
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