My Other Side


January 10, 2011

I understand the whole Clark Kent/Superman thing. I mean I totally “get” it.

The whole idea of an alter-ego, a secret identity, the whole thought of being a different person with just a change of clothing and a pair of glasses....yeah, that’s pretty cool. As a Steelers fan, I can relate to that.

You see, six days a week I’m a mild-mannered workaholic. I spend too much time at my place of employment and not enough time at home so that I can catch the Joneses and pay the bills. For six days, I am either behind my desk muttering curses at the incompetence and general “weirdness” of my coworkers, or I am at home forcing a fake smile on my face as I finish another one of the endless tasks on the Honey-do list from hell.

But on game day, it all changes.

On game day I assume my alter-ego. Just like Clark Kent, I disregard my street clothes and don a super-identity. I am no longer Joe Workaholic....I am SUPERFAN!....or STEELERSMAN!....or SAMMICH-EATING-MAN....or something else cheesy but entirely appropriate. On game days I can feel the metamorphosis as the clock hands get closer and closer to game time. I can feel the build up of excitement and anxiety, and I can feel the physical change as the stress of another work week slides off of me.

Like so many fans across the country, my super-identity feeds off the escapism of the gridiron. For several hours I don’t think about anything else except zone blitzes, man-to-man coverage schemes, and wide receiver slant routes. For just a while, I am free of the stress and competitiveness of the free market system. I am blissfully unaware of anything that isn’t either on the field or on my snack plate. I judge time, not by breaks or a lunch hour, but by quarters and halftime.

I am lucky enough to a have a sidekick…uh…wife, who not only supports my stress-fighting alter-ego, but feeds it…literally, with the best sub-sandwiches known to man. (I am pretty sure that her super power is of the culinary variety while mine is more “supine”). The best way that I can describe our dynamic-duo relationship is to compare it to that of the sometimes inept Green Hornet and his extraordinary martial arts partner, Kato. For those keeping score: inept=me....extraordinary=NOT me.

I have two children who I think might be working for the enemy. An evil super villain dead set on sending them to strip me of my powers (and money), by forcing me back to reality. They are focused on ruining my game day “woo-shaw” by reminding me how uncool I am, and by claiming that I am way too white to do a victory dance. Evil, EVIL children.

But I am resilient, and with the help of my sidekick....sorry, ”wife," I persevere. Clad in the Black and Gold, I support my Steelers with all the vigor of a 40-something hero suffering from lower back pain and the indigestion of one too many sammiches. I grow stronger with every victory and I feel the kryptonite-like weakness that comes with a loss.

I maintain that identity until the final whistle blows and secures another victory, then like any good superhero, I dance. And I dance quite well for a white guy, thank you. Then I stand in the middle of my living room in all my Steelers glory, bathing in the light of six Lombardi trophies and the full knowledge that my supine powers are, at least partially, the reason they exist.

I stand before my television and beat my chest, thanking the Almighty that I am not a fan of the lowly Bengals. I lift my hands to the heavens and express my gratitude that I don’t live in Cleveland. Then, with all my super-might, I ask for vengeance and justice against those cheating Patriots*.

Then, and only then, I resume my mild-mannered civilian status and start looking towards the responsibilities of another week. I discard the Black and Gold armor and resume the mantle of a common man. For six more days I’m just Joe, employee, husband, and to be honest, that’s not such a bad thing.

© 2011 Steelers Universe
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