This baby. Seven weeks old now and extended sleep seems to be of no interest to him. When he squawks -- which is every five minutes -- a beautiful woman feeds him milk in one of the more desirable dispensers you'll ever find. He smiles appreciatively, and the breast milk dribbles down his chin and into his terrycloth shirt. It's no wonder he never sleeps. Would you?
"I'll take him out for a while," I say.
"If I could just get an hour of sleep," my wife says.
"We'll give you three," I say.
And so begins our Super Bowl Sunday, so ripe with promise. First we head to the car wash, then on to the park, before the church crowd arrives. Then to the supermarket to buy drinks for a party later. And to the coffee shop.
In two of the places we stop, we run across very pregnant women in black dresses. Pure black. Dark as a senator's soul. Only in L.A. do pregnant women choose colors that make them look thinner.
"How old?" one of the women asks.
"Forty-six," I say.
"I meant your baby," she says.
"Seven weeks," I say.
"Your first?" she asks.
Sure, lady. I'm older than fire itself. I predate human thought. Yet she sweetly asks if this baby is my first.
"Yes," I say.
Finally, home we go, where we find a mom reading a travel piece on Capri. Poor woman. She dreams of Italian resorts while living with a man fascinated by box scores and car washes.
"Where'd you go?" she asks.
"Everywhere," I say.
"Is the baby OK?" she asks.
"He's hungry and constipated," I tell her, "all at the same time."
She cradles him in her arms and brings her lips to his ear.
"That's life, little guy," she says.
Like most holidays, the Super Bowl is 90% preparation and 10% pleasure. We ice the beer. Order pizza. Decorate the tree. You don't have a Super Bowl tree? Get in the spirit.
Then on we go for a little touch football, dads against sons. In football, raw talent nearly always triumphs. Except in this case.
"How do the fathers always win?" my buddy Eisen asks.
"We're not that good," Rhymer insists.
"Actually, we stink," I say.
"But we always win," Eisen says.
By the second quarter, the dads are beating the teenagers, 52-6. Between plays, we bask in the sun and discuss current events.
"Serena or Venus?"
"No question, Serena," Eisen says.
"The teenage witch?" says Donnelly.
"That's someone else," I say.
I'm the only guy who prefers Venus over Serena. I stick with my pick, despite the general feeling that Serena is the more attractive.
"What about their old man?" asks Bill.
"That wasn't an option," I say.
Then on to the party we go. Last week, one of the boys had agreed to host a Super Bowl party without first asking his mom.
"I'll kill him," his mother said when I called.
"No problem," I said. "We can have it in Bob's garage."
"No, we're glad to have it," she said.
So now I'm in a cane chair watching the game with a dozen buddies scooping dip and chili as if digging a trench, all of them C-shaped on the couch. In watching them, I discover that there is a no-man's land when guys eat. It exists between the point where a guy sees the food and the point where the food actually reaches his mouth. In between, anything can happen. Apparently, it's why God gave us laps.
"This is pretty entertaining," I say.
"What?" Miller asks.
"Watching these idiots eat," I say.
"Yes!" everyone screams at the TV.
Till now, the game has been as bland as the city in which it is being held. San Diego, one of those midsized towns where the locals brake before changing lanes and the biggest celebrity is the local anchorwoman. Good schools. Plenty of parking. Bland as a banana.
"Yes!" the boys shout between mouthfuls of glop.
On TV, there is an ad for a TV show featuring women in skimpy attire.
"This is the best commercial yet," says one of the boys.
In other Super Bowl action, the game itself is a blowout, as most Super Bowls are. Somebody won, but I'm not sure who. When we left, the orange team was up by 20.