Winter of our couch content
By Eric Neel
Page 2 columnist

These are the days of gluttony and sloth. These are the days in which 28 bowl games in a fortnight feel like a fitting and just prelude to four weeks worth of NFL playoffs, the days in which you tell yourself working the toggle button on the remote is actually a kind of exercise.

You've been living on chips and jerky for days these days. The sun and fresh air have become little more than faint stories your momma once told you about a wide world of possibility where you could have been anything you wanted to be.

NFL fans
Don't worry -- you're not alone on the couch.
You watch enough football, you sink deep enough into the sagging foam of your couch, and you start to lose yourself a little. I can't remember the last time I moved, you think. There's a strange, mossy coating on my teeth … or is it on my brain? … or am I the strange, mossy coating, and if I am, what am I covering?, you wonder.

For two or three minutes at a time, you have the distinct feeling that you are just a pair of eyeballs, that you don't breathe so much as absorb, and that you only do so in time with the snaps, routes and tackles that come screaming off the screen and into your rods and cones.

It's a desperate sort of existential moment. You can't be sure who or what you are, you feel formless. And it shakes you up, and you think seriously about turning the television off, maybe spending some quality time with your family, maybe getting to the gym or working in the yard.

But then you think better of it. Nagging doubt and numb extremities be damned -- you know who you are. Sure you do. How do you know? Is it something your wife says? Is it one of your kids jumping on your lap? No. Is it a breeze that somehow sneaks through a crack in a window upstairs and makes its way, ever so gently, across the back of your neck? No. Is it the fact that you have to pee? No.

It's that sweet, big black box on the other side of the den. The television knows you. You see yourself in it.

Forget the so-called real world. You're too far gone from it now, and it's never really understood you anyway. Tune into the box, let the whistles and crashes on the field wash over you, lose yourself in the super-imposed first-down line. Most of all, key on the ads. They're meant for you. They're what's real now. They provide your shape and substance. You look at them, you live in them, and you think, yes, this is who you are, where you were meant to be. Things aren't fuzzy at all; they're very clear. You've got nothing to worry about. Every time there's a break in the game action, you're reminded, you know, you're the guy ...

… thinking about a beer right now. And now. And now. And, come to think of it, this moment kind of reminds you of yesterday, a fine day, a lazy afternoon, when you were thinking about a frosty one.

… who understands that there's a certain sort of in-the-moment immediacy -- it's a kind of empathy, really, a kind of caring -- that only comes with a big screen, and not the big screen you have now, but the other one, the high-def thing, the blur-the-lines-between-inside-and-out-and-between-me-and-you thing.

Kelly Holcomb
At this point in the weekend, Kelly Holcomb is probably cleaner than you.
And you're the guy who can appreciate a belly-button, and sidewinder action. And you're the guy who rejects the idea that there's a suggestive connection between that belly-button and, say, a bottle of beer, except, of course, that each of them is a lovesome thing.

And you are…

… unafraid to paint your face in team colors.

… proud of your belly.

… aware that the best way to get the girl is to almost, but never quite, deliver on her very low expectations for you.

And, by the way, you …

… could use another beer right about now.

… are fond of empty, winding roads.

… trust in the love of a good woman.

… are unencumbered by thinking twice about every little thing.

… like the look of the sun hitting a freshly-waxed car hood.

… have been trying to imitate the cowboy-cool voice of the guy on the Miller High Life ads for months now.

Kerry Collins
Even after blowing a 24-point lead, Kerry Collins knows who his friend is -- the pizza guy.
That's right. That's you.

You're the one …

… thinking maybe you should tell her what you've been thinking.

… thinking maybe she'll believe you.

… thinking maybe you should ask her if maybe she's always wanted to try a little something different, too.

And it's you …

… who's looking real good in a free fleece pullover.

… who gets a little pang, a little rumble, every time he sees someone bite into a burger.

… who could, if you wanted to, get serious, right now, about losing the weight.

…. who is cruising over some glacial moraine, looking to take a picture, set up camp and have a beer.

… who is testing the eat-nothing-but-deli-sandwiches-for-the-rest-of-your-life strategy. Albeit with beer, and a few chips, and a little jerky.

… who thinks a man is a fool to pass up a 99-cent deal, of any kind.

… who is confused, but strangely charmed by Morgan Fairchild's renaissance, and is wondering if Donna Mills is next, but is hoping maybe, if we're gonna go old-school, we could go Bo Derek instead.

And you're the man who would rather pay with plastic, because you like the way your name looks, embossed on the card, and because you're a sucker for that little hologram, and because, by god, it's the patriotic thing to do.

Bo Derek
Bo knows naughty.
And, for reasons you can't explain, you're the mug genuinely entertained by football players and their mothers pushing soup on subways.

And, just for the record, the very definition of you -- the meaning of your very name -- is the one who is not thinking about sex right now. No, really. Well, maybe just a little. I mean, when we say, "right now," what do we really mean? "Now" is a fluid concept, after all, and you try to stay in the "Now" because, you know, you don't want to live in the past -- a past, by the way, when you swear you were not thinking constantly about sex.

And you are the one who is putting money away, because your kids want to go to college, and you're gonna die some day.

And it is you who understands -- and a lot of people don't get this -- the value of a clean shave. And it is you who appreciates -- and almost nobody else gets this -- the contributions to shaving that have been made by the aerospace industry, and their promise of even cleaner, more anti-gravitational shaves in the future.

You're the guy who sends packages on time, makes good choices about billing collect calls, picks up three (maybe four) beers in one hand, looks disheveled but makes it look cute and kind of helpless, plays dumb like nobody's business (hell, is dumb, when the situation calls for it), takes his heart meds and anti-inflammatories, is a sucker for plush seats and a GPS system, and loses his ever-lovin' mind at the prospect of a touchdown for the home team.

See? You know who you are. Nothing to worry about. So you lost your way a little this weekend, felt like maybe you were overloading. No big deal. Take a deep breath. Leave the set on. You'll get hold of yourself again soon enough.

Eric Neel reviews is a regular columnist for Page 2. You can e-mail him at



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