There's a giant hoopla going on around here, something about football. People I know and love are inexplicably excited about it, so I've done a little research myself. If you, like me, are fairly unfamiliar with the whole thing, here's a primer.
There are 11 guys from Seattle, and 11 guys from Denver who really want the ball to be at their end of the field. There's only one ball, though, called a pigskin. It's not really made of bacon. Their end of the field is in New Jersey. Both of their ends are in NJ, but we'll get to that.
If I were the parent of these guys, I'd say, "Hmm, could you boys work something out using your words? Maybe the fellows in the blue shirts can have a turn with the ball at their end for a while, and then the other guys can have it? Here's an idea: you could do rock paper scissors to see who gets the first turn! Or maybe you could have a lemonade stand, and work together to earn some money to buy a second pigskin so that everyone can have it at their end at the same time! Because, my boys, one of you may need the other one's kidney one day! Live each day as if you will have to ask that favor any minute. In five minutes, it could be you saying, "Dude! I need a kidney! Help a brotha out!" And if you've been hurtling towards your brother, grabbing instead of using your words, he just might not be in that kidney-donating frame of mind."
But no one asked me.
So these grown men, they tussle over the ball, hurling their huge bodies into one another, causing concussions and permanent brain damage. Together, the eleven boys cost Paul Allen $135 million a year, which I guess makes it worth it to be one of the eleven, because in one season, each of the eleven boys makes more than most people will make in a lifetime of showing up steadily in their cubicles, trying to get along with the other humans, trying hard not to cause concussions, spiritual or otherwise.
If you have trouble envisioning what $135 million looks like, picture this: all those dollars in ones, end to end, would create a circle around all of the permits I've been involved in for the past 15 years, and then loop back around my many unfinished projects, by volume. (I added, "by volume" because that makes it sound scientific and legit.)
The more mysterious phenomenon, though, is the number 12. Let's review: there are 11 guys fighting eleven other guys over one ball. Although there seems to be a lot of money flying around, they don't do the obvious thing (buy another ball!) But here's where it gets interesting: everyone else in the region is the twelfth person. I know, confusing. But stick with me. There are a gazillion of the 12's and only eleven of the eleven. The eleven each get their own number, but the gazillion twelves all have the number 12, and all have matching blue jerseys that Paul Allen doesn't buy for them, they pay for these shirts themselves. The twelves are really loud. (I'm hiding under the bed with earmuffs on, so I don't know if that's true or not, but I read about it on the internet.)
All the people with the 12 are like one person, one giant person on the team, although they never actually get to touch the ball, and they don't get paid. (In fact, they pay, which sounds confusing but we'll save that for another time.) On the bright side, the twelve (which is actually a gazillion) don't get so many concussions. There is some risk of injury, though, because they do things like wear their matching blue shirts while they wave giant #12 flags from freeway overpasses. This is to draw attention to the fact that they really care about getting the ball to the proper end of the field. Wearing the blue jerseys helps. They care a lot, and I mean a lot about whether the eleven guys get to have the ball at their end of the field in New Jersey. They know it's their end because some high-fiving white guys said that's how it would be: "Blue, welcome to New Jersey. This is the end you guys care about. Red, you care about the other end." And then they do!
Anyway, all of the twelves have parties with little meatballs and Buffalo wings (wait, is buffalo named after the city or the animal? But I digress.) Meanwhile, me and my earmuffs and my lovely daughter are going for a walk in the sun.
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