I have awesome manners. Some -- I won't say who, because I'm much too modest -- have even gone so far as to call me the most courteous person on the entire Sun-Times staff. But you don't earn a title like this without keeping current on the latest trends in mindfulness.
It should surprise no one that I've been invited to a soiree this Sunday -- a 'super' affair, if you will. I'm positive it will be very fancy and will prominently feature several delectable gourmet foods and a bevy of canned beverages made from choice hops and rare strains of near-extinct barley.
Being a legendary connoisseur of all things etiquette, all things party and all things legendary, I was happy to read a blog post today from one "Miss Conduct," which can be found on the Boston Globe's Web site
In today's post, aptly titled "Super Bowl Etiquette," Miss Conduct gives a run-down of how one should behave at a gathering not unlike the one I'll be attending come Sunday.
I think -- as a man who is acutely aware that football is a sport -- that I may be able add to some of Miss Conduct's already insightful suggestions on game-day behavior.
"Ask a few questions to assess someone's level of knowledge/fandom before you start opining, venting, explaining, or whatever. It's a terribly embarrassing feeling to realize you've just condescended to someone who knows, in fact, more than you do."
Totally agree. Here's a few questions that you can use to assess someone's level of football knowledge to avoid the horrible embarrassment Miss Conduct describes.
1. What are your thoughts on the cover 2 defense, and have you seen the dog they have running around this joint? It's adorable! Where is that thing?
2. I hear that Ben Roethlisberger almost joined the clergy after graduating from Middle School. Where did you get that bruschetta? That looks delicious! You know, it's so hard to find good basil in Chicago in the winter. I'm talking good basil. Sure, you can find that packaged stuff, but c'mon. You know?
3. One time, I saw Kurt Warner at a Kohl's in Chesterfield, Missouri. Who's your favorite character on "Lost?" That's funny ... mine's Sawyer too!
4. So ... football ... how many people in your graduating high school class?
Miss Conduct continues:
"Given the Patriots' unfortunate year, a little what-if kibbitzing is appropriate at a local party. But don't let imagining the game that could have been get in the way of enjoying the game that is."
Remember, Miss Conduct is speaking to a largely Bostonian audience so they're still proxy hurting from the injury to Tom Brady; not to mention last year's crushing loss to the Giants in Super Bowl 42. But let us not forget it was only two years ago that our own Chicago Bears were playing on this same world stage. If you feel you need to talk about the Bears during your Super Bowl party, I suggest the following phrases be introduced into casual conversation:
1. Kyle Orton is like the Ben Roethlisberger of our generation. What's that you say? Ben Roethlisberger is the Ben Roethlisberger of our generation? Well, that makes no sense.
2. I would be lying to you if I said I didn't cry today.
3. If the Bears were playing right now, I'd kiss each and every one of you on the lips. I'm telling you, I'd make moves, is all I'm saying. Including that adorable dog. Where is that thing?
4. Singing a song about the Bears is always acceptable. May I suggest:
One point on which I'd have to disagree with Miss Conduct is the following:
"Never say, 'It's only a game.'"
I suggest you say this exact phrase at only the most crucial point(s) of the game. This is kind of like posing the question to the entire party, "Who here do I not want to be friends with?" To which you receive an immediate and entirely accurate answer based on your fellow party-goers' reactions.
Perhaps most importantly, Miss Conduct urges the following:
"Enthusiasm is great, but don't yell so loud you scare the pets. If Fluffy still won't come out from under the sofa by Tuesday, you probably won't be invited back."
That's actually a great rule to follow in life. You can substitute virtually any verb phrase and modifier to create a truism based on its affect on the pets.
"Don't ______ so ______ that you scare the pets."
Especially that adorable dog. Where is that thing?