Back when I lived in Ann Arbor, me and Bromolyte Big Todd had a Sunday afternoon tradition where after watching the Lions game together, win or lose, we would head over to Little Caesars and then stop at the Circle K gas station for some Polar Pops (Polar Pop, for the uninitiated, is a 32 ounce styrofoam barrel filled to the brim with a cool portion of fizzy maroon Dr. Pepper, selling for the unheard of bargain of 59 cents each. Todd, if you're reading this, you need to check out this coupon). As Big Todd drove us home from this postgame rite of passage, I would always sit with the pizza boxes on my lap, clutching them tightly no matter how much the steaming Hot n' Readys burned my thighs. Todd used to laugh at me, but I always warned him, "Listen man, if these things accidentally slide off the seat, I don't want you to go reaching for them and lose control of the car and crash into the median and break your arm." He would scoff at me. Come on ya' big dummy, that sort of thing would never happen.
When I first learned that pizza played a key role in Nate Burleson's car accident last night, I assumed that he must have made the classic mistake of eating more than 2 slices of Pizza Hut, caught a bad case of food poisoning, and unavoidably crashed his SUV while violently puking out the side window. Been there, done that, perfectly understandable. However, imagine my anguish when I found out that by simply having a cautious friend like me along for the ride, this whole thing would have never happened.
**A quick public service announcement to avoid making this rookie mistake**
If you must drive alone with pizza:
-Full Pie: Put a seatbelt on it.
-Single Slice: You just gotta eat that shit before you leave. You're either going to splatter cheese and sauce all over your shirt when you hit the breaks, or even in the best case scenario, your steering wheel is going to be all greasy and slippery by the time you're done eating. You're better than that.
Whenever a Lions player does something stupid enough to make the news, there's always a mixture of embarrassment and resentment toward that player that festers inside of me in the following days. However, in Nate Burleson's particular incident, I don't really feel that, because not only is he among my favorite DTL players, but this also just looks like a case of a good guy making a tiny mistake and just getting absurdly unlucky. How am I supposed to get angry about a rogue slice of za? The fact of the matter is, it certainly could have been something a whole lot worse. As Lions fans, can't we be thankful that at least he didn't crash because of doing something like changing clothes and shaving while watching porn on the in-dash DVD player or something? The poor guy was just trying to prevent the cheese and pepperoni from getting all stuck to the lid and leaving that weird and unappetizing visual of only crust and sauce that kind of resembles a fresh wound. It's not like Nate was being overtly reckless or stupid in his pizza rescue mission either. I mean, I remember when me and Big Mitchie used to pull some pretty idiotic practical jokes while cruising the streets of Harbor Springs back in the day. Like "the Ghost" trick, where I would steer the truck from the passenger seat while Big Mitchie ducked all the way under the windshield, making it look from the outside like there was just a passenger but then nobody driving the car. Now that was stupidity; Nate was just trying to grab a quick late-night slice. And finally, at least he didn't crash his car and break his arm because a stripper smashed a champagne bottle over his head. I would have a hard time justifying that one, but that stuff happens sometimes, believe me. It's bad PR.
Those who know me and the questionable content that passes for "humor" amongst my group of friends won't be surprised at all to hear that my phone quickly started filling up with pizza-related humor this afternoon as the Burleson story surfaced. Some things truly never change, and the top 3 things that keep us united still seem to be the Lions, pizzas, and ripping on whoever happened to make the most recent embarrassing mistake. I love Nate Burleson as much as anyone (in a 'I enjoy the way you play football' sort of way), but if he's going to be treated like one of the guys, I guess it's his turn to get ripped on. After all, me and Nitch once howled with laughter as our boy H took about 25 minutes to old-man hobble across an intersection on a torn ACL.
In October 2005, what started off as a typical Friday in my high school cafeteria quickly turned ugly when a pre-pubescent freshman named Ricky cried out in falsetto frustration from the front of the line,
"WHAD'DA FUGG?!? THERE'S NO MORE FUGGIN' PEETCHA!!"
I'm sure we all wish that there was no more fuggin' peetcha left at the Lions Monday Night Funny YouTube Video Watching Party yesterday evening, but like I said, I can't blame Nate or even get mad about this this one. It looks for all the world like he'll be spending the next few months chugging Polar Pops on the sideline, but then again that's not necessarily such a bad ending for what must have been a pretty scary situation. I'll be back in Michigan in late December and might even get over to Ford Field when the H-Bromos clinch their playoff berth against the Giants. If Nate wants to grab a few Hot n' Readys after the game to celebrate, I'll let him ride shotgun and protect the goods while I drive us to Circle K. Wishing him a speedy recovery.