We strode in, side by side. We bellied up to the bar off Division in Humboldt Park.
“Dead Guy,” my friend muttered.
“Daisy Cutter,” I piped up, chirping “Thank you!” to the bartender after I realized I didn’t say please.
Oh yeah. Men there to watch the football game.
I’ve written before on manliness and the sports tradition thereof, so I won’t bother you with cutesy jokes about Mr. Mxyzptlk and not knowing who Jay Cutler is. But once again, sports-illiterate I was pulled into an afternoon of booze, Bears and a Chicago experience.
And I liked it.
The scene was a Humboldt Park bar where, among the modern accoutrements of microbrews and a guy next to me who kept checking his phone, we dove into the fray to watch the Bears with malice aforethought destroy and dismantle the weak and feeble Detroit Lions.
If you’re up on the news, you see that didn’t so much happen.
The men, they yelled. They screamed and hollered and when the two old Superfan-style Chick-caw-goh guys left at the half, I was dismayed to find the weedy-stached hipster two guys over from me also knew what was going on.
There I was, alone in a bar with people who understood the football men.
There are shared experiences in the world. There are games and yelling about Cutler and yelling about defense and the guy John next to me who wore a nylon ’80s-style Bears windbreaker and had to cut out early to visit a friend in Rosemont.
“He ain’t got it! He ain’t got shit!” John kept yelling before that.
At a bar in Humboldt Park, drinking fancy-ass beers and yelling at the screen, with older Chick-caw-goh guys and John yelling he ain’t got shit and a hipster-stached fancy man who had a disturbingly good knowledge of the pigskin, we shared a moment. We shared a few hours.
We shared a game. We were strangers who came together as griping friends for a few moments of a half.
We would go our ways after. Some would scram. Some would stay. Some would drink too long and have to do their Monday blog post half in the bag.
But that thin, sheer moment of connection between strangers, that moment among the hooting and hollering and blaming Cutler for shit that wasn’t his doing, isn’t that the point?
The strangers become friends, if for no more than a half. We’ll never see each other again and that’s fine. Expert or novice, genius or fool, we all came together for one single, sterling, drunken moment.
And that’s fine by me. Go Bears.