Ahhh. October in the 'Burgh.
Tweens are back in school gazing lovingly at the Twilight posters they've hung in their lockers. 'Burghers are thrilled to finally pull out their sweaters and feel a bit of cool, crisp wind on their faces. Suburban housewives are secretly reading Twilight while their tweens are in school.
But most important, above all else, October means we're immersed as a city in meaningful games of Steelers football. STEELERS FOOTBALL!
Living in Pittsburgh, you fall into one of two categories:
Group 1: You worship at the altar of the Steelers and are therefore embraced in the loving, protective arms of all of Pittsburgh sports fans who will thump you on the back as if they've known you all their lives.
Group 2: You don't really care about the Steelers and are therefore shunned and ridiculed and often have the phrase "May God have mercy on your soul" directed sadly at you.
I belong to Group 1 and have since my childhood. Maybe you're in Group 2 and would like to at least pretend sometimes that you belong in Group 1. There are some things to keep in mind:
1. Regardless of any previous praise and adoration received for a good performance, a poorly performing quarterback should expect, at the very least, to wake to a lawn full of angrily discarded trash.
2. Jeff "Skippy Skeeve" Reed jokes should always be kept loaded in your joke cannon.
Putting aside for a moment his incredibly accurate monster thighs, Jeff "Skippy Skeeve" Reed is without a doubt the class clown of the entire Steelers organization – apart from Steely McBeam, that is.
He of the bleached-blond, stuck-his-tongue-in-a-light-socket hair. He of the South Side nightclub shenanigans that I once personally witnessed. He with the citation for kicking the crap out of a harmless Sheetz paper-towel dispenser. So many jokes. Pick a few and fire at will.
3. Santonio Holmes is a football deity with lots of human vices.
Yes, he's the Super Bowl MVP who caught a pass that Superman himself might have bobbled and dropped, but, uh, Google him, OK? Then take your pick. That's all I have to say about that.
4. Mike Tomlin or Troy Polamalu might be Jesus.
They can do no wrong. You don't talk bad about them. Ever. Lest you be smote with locusts or frogs or a losing season.
5. We're lucky Ben didn't die.
There has never been a brighter, larger spotlight shined on Pittsburgh driving than the one that trained its eye on us after that fateful day when Benjamin Roethlisberger, riding his motorcycle without a helmet, fell victim to the infamous Pittsburgh Left.
Can you imagine if Ben had died? Not only would a group of Pittsburgh men have descended on the Vatican armed with a thick binder containing a paper titled "The Case for the Canonization of Benjamin Roethlisberger as a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church," complete with a listing of his miracles, the greatest of which would be a six-page tear-stained essay on "The Immaculate Redemption Tackle of 2006"; not only all of that, but worst of all, The Pittsburgh Left would have been outlawed as well. Banned. MADNESS!
6. Bill Cowher who?
Oh, Bill. My teenage crush. My adulthood idol. In the span of three football seasons, he has gone from a Pittsburgh sports hero to that guy who frantically and maniacally cranked the siren for the Carolina Hurricanes during their playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins this year.
If I knew where his lawn in North Carolina is, I'd throw trash on it.
May God have mercy on his soul.
I know. It's to be expected. Construction cones. Everywhere. No matter which route you try to take. Anywhere. Cone. Cone. Road closed. Bridge closed. Bridge might fall. Sink hole. Merge here. Detour. Uneven pavement. Rock slide. Can't use this road for three more years so find a new way to work. In three years, Pittsburgh is going to have the best roads in the country, right? RIGHT?!
Oh, how happy I am that Daniel Sepulveda is finally healthy again and punting for the Steelers. Not so much because he's a darn good punter, which he is. Not so much because he's vital. I mean, we managed to win the Super Bowl without him by using a mediocre Mitch Berger. Not so much because I think his off-field behavior sets a good example for Jeff "Shenanigans" Reed. But mostly because, ladies, he is so fun to look at. God had a GREAT day when he thought up Daniel Sepulveda.