Gametime decisions

It’s a big night for the hometown. My beloved Bengals are hosting the evil Pittsburgh Steelers tonight on Monday Night Football. Look, kids, national television! Here’s a chance for everyone’s favorite heartburn-inducing NFL club to prove that they aren’t as disappointing as the current win-loss record might indicate while showing off the city and all the fancy stuff going on around here.

I have to admit that the way the team has been playing lately, though, doesn’t give one much hope. The Steelers love to come to Paul Brown Stadium and wave those stupid yellow towels. My hope is that the professionals that I believe* are on that team somewhere will show up and make a game of it. If not, and the Bengals embarrass us early, MNF analyst Jon Gruden will be talking about Skyline Chili before halftime. At that point, the city will collectively mutter something unpleasant, wave a hand at the TV dismissively, and call it a night.

I’m in for the duration, of course, because I’m a Bengals fan**, for better or worse. I’ve taken the lumps and still can’t bring myself to call “uncle”. Somehow, there’s always enough carrot (e.g. last season) to make me bear out the stick (the 1990’s). So the question for me isn’t will I’ll sit through the whole thing, regardless of whether I want to weep with joy or stab my eyes out with a beer bottle by the end of the game. The real question is, go out or stay in?

In the corner of our family room sits a large, shiny HD television that was acquired a few years ago for more shillings than the Puddinette thought ought to be spent on anything short of a cash-bearing tree. She referred to it as my “life gift” at the time, implying that it was the last present she’d be giving me for the remainder of my mortal days.

Luckily, she was kidding.

So I have this sweet 56-inch TV at home, a fridge full of seasonal beer, and a comfy chair. One so comfy, in fact, that it often lulls me into an early sleep, unexpectedly. And that’s totally because of the chair, mind you, and certainly not the fact that I’m Middle-Aged Man.

Anyway, should I stay in and enjoy this rare Cincinnati Bengals-edition of Monday Night Football in the comfort of my own home where the beer is cheap and I can curse all I want at the TV, or should I participate in the typical male bonding ritual of gathering at a bar with buddies to cheer victory and/or commiserate defeat together? On the one hand, there’s draft beer and camaraderie. On the other, there’s sitting in your own living room, barefoot and in sleep pants, getting a crystal-clear view of your own TV and not coming home covered in ode de ash-tray.

Obviously, with pros and cons like that, there can be only one conclusion: I’m definitely going to the bar.

The tipping point, as with most decisions, comes down to chicken wings. Getting good chicken wings at home is just not worth the effort, unless, that is, you’re planning to make a gross of them.

I think we can all agree I don’t need a gross of Buffalo wings. My stomach lining concurs.

So, then, meet me at the bar; I’ll totally save you a stool.

Pud’n

*I also believe in Vampires, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, so maybe what I believe shouldn’t be relied upon too heavily.

**See: foolish optimism, masochistic

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