The football scheduling gods have bestowed upon Northeast Ohioans a gloriously daunting, dauntingly glorious weekend of games. Saturday night, the Buckeyes visit USC in a nationally televised game with BCS championship implications, and the Browns take on those fuckwads from Pittspuke on Sunday Night Football. (Case and the University of Rochester tussle Saturday afternoon, but with so much else going on, I don't think anyone will notice.)
This means it's going to be a long weekend bowing down at the altars of football and excess. Here's a little guide to getting through it legally, safely, without being murdered by your significant other, and with maximum enjoyment.
If you're married or have a girlfriend who doesn't like football, you're going to have to do some pre-game work to free up time for the games. Don't give me that crap that you can do whatever you want or the galpal really enjoys watching you chug 12 beers at 11 in the morning. If that's true in your case, you're a lucky bastard. But it's rare, and the rest of us don't have that luxury, so shut up.
Friday is date night. This means dinner, engaging conversation and a moment or two away from updating your fantasy roster on your iPhone. You should probably also avoid telling her what she's going to cook for your tailgate. Do this right, and she'll volunteer.
Saturday morning is brunch. Get up, get your chores done and then get into the kitchen and cook some home fries, bacon, waffles and muffins. Squeeze some fresh orange juice. Add vodka to yours in preparation for all the errands and shopping you will do next.
All the things you loathe, mock and grit your teeth through on a regular basis are now your favorite freaking things in the world for the next few hours. Dry cleaners? Would love to! Grocery shopping? Woo-hoo! (And a chance to buy more beer!) Browsing Bed, Bath and Beyond? Better than sex! Check out those awesome napkin rings!
You should be done around 4 o'clock and ready to embark on the rest of the weekend.
Whatever happens Saturday night - win or lose, house party or bar, vomit in a toilet or vomit on yourself in a parking lot - you're going to want to make it home. Yes, it's tempting to keep the night going, heading back to someone's house where there's more Pabst and J...germeister, an iTunes playlist of OSU fight songs and the same five segments of SportsCenter showing highlights of the game. Sure, there's that ratty couch your buddy picked off someone's curb a month ago and it sounds inviting. Perfect plan, right?
Bad idea. Get home (safely) and get in your own bed. Nothing will hamper your Sunday drinking like a cricked neck, the nauseating smell of that couch, your Beanie Wells jersey tangled around your neck and pruned legs from sweating to death all night in your jeans. Go home. Recovery is worth more than two more hours of incoherent debates of whether Jim Tressel is a great coach or the greatest coach.
The 8:15 p.m. Browns kickoff presents both awesome and troubling potential for Sunday. The good: a full day of drinking, the Browns on national television, long hours of vulgar Steelers taunts. The bad: You'll definitely end up pissing somewhere you shouldn't.
It's tempting to just drink the day away. Guzzling liquor and beer will surely pass the hours and provide endless amounts of dick jokes among you and your friends. However, there's a level to which you shouldn't go. You don't want to be so drunk you can't enjoy the game. Nothing's worse than being the douche doubled over in his seat like a 14-year-old who just slammed a six of Natty Ice.
It's about moderation. You spent all that money and time, so you'd better be lucid and spry when the Browns win because there's going to be whole busloads of "Stiller" fans begging for a beatdown around midnight. Temper that inebriation. Monitor it like your life depends on it. Drink enough to keep buzzed and ignorant of the fact you just spent 12 hours in a parking lot, but not enough that you end up crawling under the car to take a nap. Because 12 hours of drinking + Pittsburgh fans + hatred = fights. Whether the Browns win or lose, fists are going to fly in the direction of piss-yellow-on-black gear after the game.
Maybe you're just happy to be there and none too excited about the prospect of calling home to tell your family you got arrested. But the guy next to you might not think that way. When he starts unloading on some unruly Pittsburgh fan - who most surely deserves it - look out for cops, form a wall with some buddies to hide the fracas and make sure he has something clean to wipe his hands with afterward. It's only the polite thing to do. Finally, take Monday off.