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Philip Seymour Hoffman Missed the Super Bowl & So Did I

Philip Seymour Hoffman Missed the Super Bowl & So Did I
February 02
20:26 2014

ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Los Angeles

Philip Seymour Hoffman missed the Super Bowl, and so did I. That’s about the only thing we had in common.

Missing the Super Bowl is almost a sin in our society, and in a few years it’ll be cause for serious social castigation. If you aren’t working, passed out drunk, or dead, you simply shouldn’t miss the biggest game of the year. It’s a sure sign something isn’t right in your head. You may be insane. And you certainly don’t represent modern America.

Philip Seymour Hoffman died in his boxer shorts. He and I have that in common, partially. I don’t wear boxer shorts, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who strips down and relaxes at home. We probably also both wear belts with our jeans. And our hair has a similar tussled quality when it gets messed up by the wind.

I’m not, however, into having a needle sticking out of my arm, especially outside of the doctor’s office. I’m not into opiates. Whether that means heroin or the Super Bowl or the constant grind of American sports and statistics worship. I will try to deal with my own pain and longing without distraction or illusion.

I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is excused for missing the Super Bowl. But the rest of us have no good excuses on our hands. Even the president took time away from his busy life pretending to reform the worldwide NSA surveillance grid to watch the Broncos and the Seahawks. The impenetrable defense. The unstoppable offense. The fresh pigskin. Oh, and the goddamn commercials that promote endless consumerism and individual emptiness, while washing it down with beer and cranking up the hollowed dreams of sex with women who are easily out of most men’s leagues.

Hoffman, on the other hand, might have watched the big game, if he hadn’t died on his bathroom floor today. I find his death disgraceful. I truly enjoyed watching Hoffman on screen. He’s one of the few actors I respected. He was a master at his craft. He had a huge bank account. Worldwide fame. Endless work offers. He could have had all the friends he wanted. He could have bought his own island and lived there when he was finished with acting and the business. What was he longing for in that syringe? I don’t know. But he’s dead now and that’s just the way it is.

Did any Hoffman fans have trouble straddling their grief for the untimely deceased actor while wanting to whoop and holler at their TV screens during the Super Bowl? Did everybody take advantage of this yearly, and culturally defining moment in America?

I sure did. I was glad to be out and missing the action. I took advantage of the wide open Los Angeles streets. The clear aisles of the hardware and grocery stores, where I picked up a few necessary items. It was beautiful. I had misty eyes. LA is far more attractive without the people. Or at least it is when the barbarians are locked in their living rooms, blowing farts into their couch cushions and rocking back and forth like tomcats in heat without any viable outlet for their extra energy.

At least that’s how I see it.

“You’re missing the big game to buy a few packs of shims?” a tall Latino clerk asked me when I stopped into a local hardware store not far from where the famed journalist Michael Hastings had his new Mercedes car blown up last summer.

What game? I asked.

He guffawed and slapped his gut. “What game?” he asked. “The biggest game of the year! The league’s best defense versus the league’s most powerful offense?” he said.

I wasn’t sure what he was getting at. I’m not into soccer, I said. But I appreciate a solid strategy for success.

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” he said. “Why don’t you take my shift so I can go home and watch the game and eat me some nachos.” He really scoffed at the word soccer. “It’s the NFL,” he corrected me.

Oh yes! I said. I’ve heard about that one. It’s the Donkeys versus the Sea Vultures. Big stuff, boy, going on tonight. I’d forgotten all about it!

“You are outta your mind,” he said.

My friendly sales associate was helpful, and I left the store pleased.

I drove to the local grocery store and found a handful of pleasant people pushing their carts through the aisles. All of us were missing the Super Bowl, but nobody seemed anxious about it. When I purchased my items, the cashier, who was between 250-300 pounds, held up the chocolate chip cookie mix I’d purchased. She clung to the bag with her dark pink claw nails and said, “I want some cookies.”

They’re very good, I said. In fact, it’s hard to get a bad one.

“Can’t go wrong with the chocolate chip,” she said. She bagged my items carefully and handed the brown bag to me. “I’d like to figure out,” she said, looking me in the eyes, “the history of chocolate chip cookies. Who thought of it? How did it happen? Did somebody one day just happen to put all them ingredients together and find they had a winning combination on their hands?”

It’s miraculous, I said.

“Well, they ain’t better than sex,” she said.

Then you haven’t been baking them right, I told her.

The customers behind me shifted. Somebody let out a long breath. You could feel the anxiety brewing. “I’m going to call my daughter the first chance I get and have her get on the computer and research who invented chocolate chip cookies. I want to know where they came from,” she said. “And who gets credit for it. Nothing better than kickin’ back at night with a plate stacked with them.”

I wish a guy could juice them up and shoot them straight into his veins, I said. Get them into the bloodstream faster. Why waste time chewing them? There’s too much chewing in life. Too much time spent working our jaws. If we could just get to the point right away.

“Not me,” she said. “I like to juice them up in my mouth and swish around the cookie goodness front and back.”

Then you spit it out, right? In a cup? Like that new Beverly Hills diet? It’s healthier that way, I said.

“Hell no!” she said. “I swallow it all.” She pointed at me and looked at the others in the line. “This guy’s crazy! He’s out his mind.”

It’s because I’m missing the Super Bowl, I said. It’s driving me nuts. All that action going on without me. Some of us couldn’t watch the game today, for one reason or another.

“I had to work,” she said, “but I don’t know any other good reasons than that.”

That makes sense, I said.

“I know I’m talking sense,” she said.

When I got home I checked into the origins of chocolate chip cookies. It’s nothing you need to know. Ruth Graves Wakefield is responsible. Meanwhile, the top competing news headlines were that Philip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle sticking out of his arm, and the Seahawks ‘shellacked’ the Broncos.

[photo by A. Smith]

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2 Comments

  1. Joanna
    Joanna February 02, 21:15

    Hoffman was a brilliant actor and his death is nothing short of tragic. A violent sporting game has nearly replaced Thanksgiving as our national holiday–also tragic. When you get to the top of your craft or your game, success doesn’t deliver. All pleasure and striving are mere substitutes for real joy. The human soul is built for something far greater than fame, applause, honor, health, wealth, Super Bowl victories or academy awards. We inject ourselves with real or self-made opiates only to discover that there is no experience that truly satisfies this side of heaven. Perhaps we need to turn our hearts and minds to things not of this world so we can taste real joy filled to the brim.

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