World Cup, Stanley Cup, the world’s in its cups right now over cups. Fans are thirsty for members of their favorite teams to hoist a cup, kiss a cup, march with or skate with a cup. A teams spends an entire season, and in the case of soccer, a wait of four years, of competing, conditioning, traveling, eating crappy meals, sleeping in lumpy hotel beds, enduring injuries and unending scrutiny from fans and reporters…for a cup.
The World Cup makes no sense because the award for being best at a sport that forbids the use of hands features hands holding up the world. Yellow card!
The Grey Cup is awarded to the top Canadian Football League team. While it’s called the Grey CUP, the cup part is tiny compared to pedestal on which it sits that looks like a cross between an eggplant and a Dalek. No offense, eh?
Since I’m a lifelong hockey fan and pathetic player, the cup closest to me is the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League’s top tchochke.
It’s been called the most coveted trophy in sports…by three guys sipping their triple-triples in a Tim Hortons. It’s not really a cup at all. It’s a big silver bowl sitting on top of metal bands inscribed with the names of the members of the teams who won Lord Stanley’s vessel.
Dare I commit hockey heresy in pointing out the Stanley Cup has a very close resemblance to the apparatus used to drain old, gunky oil from an automobile. Yet, no one hoists, hugs or kisses the Stanley Cup’s doppelganger.
Indeed, this alleged hallowed hunk of silver is abused more than prepositions in a high school English class. It’s been peed in, pooped in, licked, and who knows what else.
Personally, whenever I hear about the Stanley Cup, I only think of Stanley Perlman. He was a kid in my second grade class with braces, curly blond hair and black rimmed glasses. He whispered to me one day, “Eddie, if you look in your father’s night stand you’ll find Playboy magazines.” I looked. I scored! Yes! At no time, however, did I hug, kiss, lick or pee on Stanley Perlman. However, he did move away shortly after that. But all these years, and centerfolds later, I lift my cup to Stanley….Perlman.
What do men find so fascinating about toast being made? I admit it. I’m a man and I, like others of my gender, am spellbound by the utter stationary madness of a member of the bread family being heated until brown by red-hot metal strings. The toasting process involves just two dynamic acts: pushing the toast down, and the toast popping up when the toaster is good and ready to do so.
It is the period between pushing down and popping up that appear to capture the total attention of Y-chromosomal beings. Nowhere is this more apparent than at a hotel breakfast buffet or company cafeteria. Today, for example, a gentleman roughly the size of Nantucket Island quietly lowered two slices of whole wheat into the toaster, then planted himself in front of it with his Neptune-sized noggin’ and its nose and eyes bowed over the appliance close enough to also toast his flesh and liquify his retinas. Unfortunately, the display of not yet toasted breads was positioned above the toaster, meaning this oversized parcel of protoplasm posed an insurmountable obstacle for those hoping to grab a couple of slices to toast.
I attempted to lunge through the small space to his left that afforded me a slim shot at a bran muffin. I even tried a half-hearted, “excuse me” in hopes he’d break his deathstare into the bread-burning abyss to take a half a step to his right, but the spell was just too great.
By now the line behind him was growing with three more men desiring hot, browned bread waiting impatiently for their opportunity to remove themselves from the immediate world for four minutes as they slip into the trance provided by heat rising from their scorched rye.
Undaunted, I muttered in a stage whisper, “asshole!” which seemed to strike a chord, or at least a moment of self-awareness, causing the Human Haystack to break concentration just long enough for me to make my move and capture the muffin of my desire and quickly head for the cashier to make my escape.
But before I could get through the door, I heard the telltale “pop” of the beast’s bread emerging from the toaster. Unable to turn away I witnessed a grown man gently grab the wooden tongs, use them to extract his slices and place them on a styrofoam plate and put on a smile generally generated by an especially effective honeymoon or well-made muscatel. The other men waiting their turns eyed him with a combination of jealousy and respect, but knowing they were only a few four-minute cycles from their own crisp crust climax.