One man’s dilemma: how to top last year

I think maybe there were two lessons learned during Sunday’s Super Bowl. The first, you can’t count on commercials to be entertaining and the second is that once you do something really big, its hard to do it again.

On the first count, I don’t know when I have ever watched the big game and did not see a single commercial which produced a snortle or two on my part. I sat transfixed Sunday evening and as bad as the game was, the commercials were worse.

I don’t know if it was all an attempt to push an agenda or just the fact that all of the creative minds in the world have run out of good things to talk about, but I watched most of the commercials wondering what they were advertising and why. I actually found myself wanting to get back to the game because watching the Chiefs get hammered was actually more entertaining.

Now to the second count. I think before all is said and done, this batch of Chiefs will have a great deal of success. We will be talking about the run of this team for years to come. Not long ago, we would have taken a Super Bowl appearance and been happy to be there. But after the 2020 game when the Chiefs won the whole thing, anything less is simply disappointing. It’s hard to top when you’ve reached the top.

I am encountering a similar dilemma in my personallife. We are just a few days away from Valentine’s Day and I frankly don’t know what I am going to do to honor my lovely girlfriend, Leslie. There are so many things I could buy her, so many places I could take her, but I don’t know that anything can top last year. The 2020 edition was our first together. Being the romantic that I am, I gave her a single rose, a box of chocolates and a Chiefs’ Super Bowl hat. In return, she gave me a jigsaw puzzle with an ariel view of where we first met. It was so sweet, or least I thought so.

I finally took the puzzle out of the box a couple of weeks ago and thought I would get it done so I could surprise her when she came over for a visit. Two weeks, several late nights and many migraines later, the puzzle still sits in the middle of my dining room table about half finished. Its not from a lack of effort, it’s just the hardest doggone puzzle I have ever seen. It supposedly has a secret message included. I thought it was probably a message like “I love you” or “Where we met.” I now think it probably says, “This should keep you busy” or “This is my revenge jerk.”

Contrast that with my heartfelt gifts and I think we can all agree I win the holiday prize. But like I said, it is hard to top being on the top and that is the part of the Valentine’s Day story I haven’t shared. We decided to escape the cold last year and headed to Louisiana for Mardi Gras. In route, we stopped for a very special Valentine’s Day meal, one so touching Leslie still talks about it often. You see, we stopped and had dinner at Cracker Barrel just outside Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was the perfect kind of evening, a special meal of chicken and noodles with some collard greens and bean soup. It was so perfect Leslie didn’t even have to bother putting on the red dress she bought for Valentine’s Day, nor the red shoes. he was free to just be comfortable and herself.

I knew Cracker Barrel was a fine restaurant, but I never imagined it would be the hit with Leslie that it was. To this day, whoever we talk to or wherever we are, if the topic of Valentine’s Day comes up, Leslie says, “And you know where he took me? Cracker Barrel. I had a dress, I had shoes, but I didn’t get to wear them because we ate at Cracker Barrel.” Every time she tells the story I just want to tear up knowing the happiness I brought her.

Which leaves me with my dilemma: how do I top it this year? There is no trip to Louisiana. I don’t think Cracker Barrel would be the same if we weren’t someplace romantic like Fort Smith. I may just have to take the lesson learned by Chiefs and admit you can’t be perfect every time. I am sorry Leslie. I just don’t think Cracker Barrel will work this year. We will probably have to go someplace where you will have to dress up or something or maybe have to get new shoes. It won’t be because I love you any less, it just can’t be an Arkansas Cracker Barrel every year.

Here’s a great idea, celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bright red mask, or blue mask, or white mask, or whatever color you may like. Just wear it and help get this pandemic over.