Epiphany 33


Tonight is the Super Bowl.  For those living outside the United States of America, it will be just another evening.  For those in the USA, it will be the fiftieth broadcast of the final professional football of the year, the deciding game to determine which team is the “best”.


What is “super” about this game are the advertising costs.  This year a thirty second advertisement/commercial will cost five million dollars to air.  Add to that the production costs and you have a very nice sizable budget for helping develop a new type of gran or enough food for an entire school class.


Back by popular requests is my annual Super Bowl Sunday blog post.  This year I have taken the approach of balance.  I do not resent the game nor the telecast.  I simply wonder about the balance of cost versus reason.  It bespeaks of a balance we should also attempt to achieve in our own living.


A teacher once told her children that they could use profanity, just as long as they wrote an essay about the word or words before using it.  “You should know your vocabulary,” she stated.  “Write about the word’s etymology or history, where it came from, and why it is considered to be profane.”  Needless to say, her children waited until they had their own abodes before expanding their language skills to include cursing.


Eighteen years later, the same teacher, now retired, was watching a television movie with one of her children when a cell phone advertisement appeared.  “That is so silly,” remarked the child.  “Why?” queried the mother.  “James Earl Jones has a voice like black velvet or maybe rich ebony silk.  Malcolm McDowell could read the menu at McDonald’s and make it sound like Shakespeare.  I loved it.”  “Were you listening?” continued the child.  “They were talking like teenagers!”  The mother had to admit she really was too enthralled with the actors to even notice what company they were representing.


A few weeks passed and again the two were watching a program on television.  Suddenly the same advertisement appeared and this time the mother paid strict attention.  “Oh, how cute!” she exclaimed.  “Rather like a modern-day Dr. Seuss.  Totes McGrotes!”  The child disdainfully glared at the mother and then offered a piece of cake.  “Thank you, dear,” said the mother.  “This is …Totes McGrotes!”  She reached for another bite when the plate was snatched out of her hand.  “You may not use that type of vocabulary, young lady,” admonished the child, “until you have written an essay on what it means, where it came from, and then maybe you will understand why it is so silly!” 


The circle of life is complete!  With the curiosity that characterizes most teachers, the parent did indeed study the new wordings.  She learned that Totes McGrotes meant “totally the best”, also spelled McGoats, having originated in a 2009 movie starring Paul Rudd.  Totes Adorbs was someone who was totally adorable and Totes Presh was used to describe something totally precious.  A gossip Internet columnist claimed “amazeballs” to be his own but actually fashion blogger Spiridakis used it several years earlier as an updated form of pig-Latin. 


This weekend we will witness why parents are urged to know what their children are saying and to what music they are listening and singing.  On any given Sunday approximately 450,000 sermons are given.  They are not be promoting something to make your life easier or make you look better.  They discuss living fuller, feeling better about yourself, the sacrifice of One who always thinks you are Totes McGrotes, regardless of what you do. 


If costing the same as a Super Bowl ad, those sermons, based upon a twenty minute homily, would value $159,999,999.60.  One man paid for the lessons in those sermons with his life.  Because he thought we were Totes Presh.  Without having to run a single yard, this one man scored the ultimate winning goal for each of us, thereby making us Totes Adorbs, and exchanging his life for ours.  Amazeballs!


What if we listened to those 450,000 sermons as intently as we will those thirty-second advertisements? What if a person’s life of faith was as widely followed as the World Cup games?  What if each church received an audience of the 164.1 million that watched Super Bowl XLVII in 2013?   There are usually thirty minutes of advertisements during a regular Super Bowl.  If we substituted those advertisements for a sermon and the churches got paid, each church would receive, based on the current pricing, $239,999,999.40.  Of course, churches are not prepared for a total audience of 164.1 million but perhaps for an annual budget of almost $240 million, they could expand. 


Tonight the game of football will be about balance – balance between offense and defense.  Tomorrow we will all go about our daily living, encountering obstacles and needing to make important decisions.  We will face our own game of life with its call for offensive moves and defensive plays.  Hopefully, we will all go to bed winners, having made the world a little bit better for our having played the day.


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