It could be the success of small market teams, or Lindsay Lohan, or Crest toothpaste, or jobs for IU graduates.
So the phone pings and like the Pavlovian dog I’ve become, I drool, grope for the phone, and see a message from Heavy Ed.
“How ‘bout them Bengals.”
I write back. “WTF you aren’t a sports fan.”
“UR” pops up immediately.
I call. “Do you have the Covid blues or something? You could call and say ‘what’s up, man’? That’s a human thing to do. People talked before email and messaging. Maybe you don’t remember.”
I hear Ed harrumph. “Maybe you don’t like, get it, dude. ROTFL.”
He pauses. “I’m not a sports hater. You have a picture of me hanging from a light pole on Kirkwood when the Hoosiers won the NCAAs in ’76.”
Pause on my end. “I loved that picture. But I haven’t seen it in years. It’s probably in a pile of stuff that meant a lot to me and it’s either gone or competing with other piles of stuff that meant a lot to me.”
“It helps to move around,” Ed said. “You don’t accumulate a lot of shit.”
I said something like, “Tell me something I don’t know, and I’d rather not have slept on people’s floors like you did during those years you bounced around out West.”
“The road goes on forever but the party never ends,” Ed said.
“Robert Earl Keen song. Great Joe Ely version, by the way, with David Grissom, who played with, like, everybody in Bloomington, including Mellencamp’s great bands, before he moved to Austin. Remember him in Frank Haney’s band, Astrosurf? Guitar monster.”
“The good ol’ days, man.”
We talked some more about the local music scene before I brought us back to the Super Bowl reference that started the conversation.
“Do you actually care about the Super Bowl or was that your way of, like, elbowing me at the bar and starting a conversation?”
I’m not sure if Ed was a bit pissed that I’m calling him out for being, egads, in need of social contact in the era of Covid, or actually being thoughtful.
“I’m no football guy,” Ed said, “for the most part. But sociologically speaking …”
“I’m the kind of dude who roots for the underdog,” Ed said, before I said, “I understand why you’d feel that way.”
He ignored me. “And Cincinnati is like Indianapolis, and Los Angeles is like Los Angeles. A big, sprawling mass of disconnected communities with no soul.”
I told him I agreed, although I’ll always resent Cincinnati for vowing to forever veto any Indianapolis bid for a Major League Baseball team. And I grew up loving the Dodgers, with their legacy of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Roy Campanella and then Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale … “
“And Ruth Lyons leading the crowd in singing ‘Rally ‘Round the Reds’ on the Crosley broadcasting shows we got up here,” Ed mocked. You’ve old me more than once that the Ruth Lyons boosterism made you puke, even as a kid.”
“I didn’t dislike Ruth Lyons,” I clarified. “But I did like Paul Dixon, the Mayor of Kneesville. He was kinda pre-Letterman.”
“So you’re rooting for Cincinnati? I need a reason to root for somebody,” Ed said. “That’s like, a big part of sports to me. If I can’t root for somebody then I need to root against somebody. I need a dog in that fight, dude.”
Same for me, I said. I might like the sport, well-played, period. But it’s more fun to have a rooting interest.
Procter & Gamble developed Crest toothpaste with Indiana University chemistry people and conducted local clinical trials. They’re based in Cincinnati and they are the largest employer of graduates of IU-Bloomington. The. Largest. Employer.
So let’s give a shout-out for the Kelley School of Business and those high-paying jobs.”
“Hey, the Tide is on their side,” Ed said. “They have a lot to Gain. They have a Bounty of products. And their commercials are so Charmin.”
“Obviously, this has Dawned on you previously,” I said, genuinely impressed that Ed could reference Procter & Gamble brands.
“Here’s one for you,” I said. “The Super Bowl commercials are a big deal, as you know. So I just watched a trailer of a commercial starring Lindsay Lohan, and it makes me like her.”
“She was a messed up … ” Ed said.
“I know! I couldn’t stand her and maybe she’s grown up and learned from her mistakes and is trying to revive her career. I believe in second chances. In concept, at the very least.”
“Great, man,” Ed said. “Even if I don’t give two shits about the football game, I can root for Lindsay Lohan at halftime.”
“You’ve played on the same team,” I said. “I’ve seen you stoned and sloppy drunk … ”
Ed hung up.
“The whole city will be a biergarten if they win,” I said to the phone.🐝