The stories are true: Pittsburgh's famous three rivers have started running black and gold, replacing their usual hue of brownish-blue. The entire city has caught Steeler Fever, and, despite the ubiquitous UPMC, there is no vaccine in sight.
All this craziness over the Steelers going to the Super Bowl this year makes me think back to January 2004, when I was living in France and missed perhaps the biggest Super Bowl uproar ever: I missed the whole of America not-quite-witnessing Janet Jackson's nipple. That's ok, because there are plenty of real nipples floating around the French media...just pick up a 3 Suisses catalog or tune in to a bath soap commercial. Maxim in France is no different than Playboy...it's a wonder the two are able to coexist in the newsstands.
...but I digress. France is a nice respite from sports talk. I never had to listen to anyone talking about touchdowns, boneheaded refs or their weird sports superstitions. Even during soccer conversations, I was able to stop the gabbers right in their tracks when I'd announce that the only thing I know about French soccer is that Bernard Tapie tried to fix the World Cup one year.
I'm getting sick of the talk already...actually, I've been sick of it since we won the first playoff game. People seem to think that the entire fate of our city is irreversably linked to the success or failure of the Steelers: when they lose, our city is terrible: horrible at retaining young people, lousy tax structure, too many bad neighborhoods, numbskull politicians...the list goes on. But when the Steelers win, suddenly everyone is SO proud to be from Western PA: There's so much to do here! Look at all we have to boast about! We have George Romero! And Donnie Iris! And Andy Warhol! And great sammiches! And we have a great regional accent, yinz guys n'at!
And I'm not exaggerating the exclamation points, here, folks. I just want us to win the Super Bowl so everyone will just SHUT UP. I'm always proud to be from Pittsburgh, whether the Stillers are good or lousy...the city itself has more "fair-weather fans" than the Seattle Seahawks. Sheesh.
Photo: A friend of mine posing with the indispensable Terrible Towel. Yes, we were scathingly drunk at the time.