I got a call yesterday evening that saddened me and I wasn’t feeling funny, so I posted that old essay.
Still feeling deliciously sorry for myself today. Been having a lovely time wallowing in my own misery. Sometimes you have to set a day aside and be pathetically and wonderfully wretched. I managed to drum up a few tears over my Cadbury egg at lunchtime. I even toyed with the idea of writing morose poetry, which is saying a lot, because I hate poetry.
Fortunately, while I was looking for that essay yesterday, I found this email that Darling Husband wrote to a friend, so you lucked out. No dismal poetry!
In the email, Mike (who’s from New York) asks Darling Husband for help understanding Nascar. Darling Husband started writing a serious response, but couldn’t help himself and his humor kicked in. And honestly, Darling Husband is the funny one in our house.
Mike’s email asking for tips:
So, I was thinking about you guys the other day, cause I’m going to the Daytona 500 this weekend, and if I remember correctly, Bryan was really into NASCAR. Unfortunately, I still do not know much at all, but my friends and I figured it would be a tremendous experience, and really interesting. Not to mention 75 and sunny in February. I can’t wait. 250,000 people, all wasted, and many of which are from a vastly different lifestyle than my own…being a Yankee and all. So if Bryan has any words of advice and/or wisdom (read-who should I root for so I don’t get my butt kicked), that would be great. We are taking off tomorrow afternoon…
Here’s Darling Husband’s response (6 years ago, so I don’t know if anything about Nascar has changed since then.):
Hey Mike, a few pointers
1. Nascar fans take their National Anthem very seriously (Make sure you stand and try to conjure up tears)
2. Probably not good to bad mouth the president (or country, or God, or family, or beer, or trucks, or our troops)
3. Nascar fans are not shirtless, confederate-flag toting yokels with fists full of Bud Light and a drawl that would make Mary Poppins pass out (not all of them anyway).
4. Wear a hat.
5. Take the best ear plugs you can get (seriously) or take the plunge and rent the goofy looking headphones you can get at the track (probably outrageously expensive though, I’d take the ear plugs). The head phones will let you listen in on the driver’s in car radios. Lots you don’t hear on TV!
6. Don’t bother buying anything. It’s all way overpriced. If you want to buy overpriced merchandise, wait until you get back and go to the mall. It’s not any cheaper, but the lines are shorter.
7. I’d take a little bottle of hand sanitizer and grab some napkins before you go to the bathrooms (you never know when things will run out).
8. The track is HUGE! You really can’t see the other side. So, for about half of the time the cars will look like fleas. When they do finally get around to your side of the track everyone will stand up and you won’t be able to see them then either. I don’t think it’s a good idea to stand on your seat to see. (See the Definitely Do Not Say category for more tips)
9. It’s really ok to yell helpful tips at the drivers as they scream by at a deafening (I’m really not kidding about the earplugs) 200 mph.
Some useful advice might be:
“Look out! He’s right behind you!”
“Right foot is the gas buddy!”
“How about signaling next time!”
10. If anyone makes comments about the number 3 just get a faraway look in your eye and try to conjure up yet more tears – maybe use a spray bottle but be discreet (I’ll explain it when you get back).
11. During the National Anthem there are usually fly-overs of some kind of Air Force fighter plane. It’s ok, don’t panic. No one is bombing anyone. In fact, if you yell something to the effect of “USA is number one” or “If it weren’t for these artificial limbs I’d be over there defending our freedom, too” someone may just buy you a beer.
12. Don’t plan on getting out of the parking lot before Wednesday the following week. There’s only one way in and one way out of Daytona. I’d take a sleeping bag and some Cheetos (maybe some napkins, too – some leftovers from the men’s room are ok. Cheetos turn your fingers orange. They are yummy though.)
13. Some NASCAR fans chew tobacco. Don’t wear open toed shoes.
14. There is no half time show. They really do just go around in circles for 4 hours. (See below for things Not To Say about this). Do not however take a book or magazine to read while the cars are invisible on the other side of the track (unless it is a NASCAR book or magazine – preferably something with Dale Earnhardt’s picture on it. You can’t go wrong there.)
14a. People will stand nearly the entire 4 hours. I don’t know how they can get away with charging for a seat when you never really use it. See below.
15. Accept the fact that you will miss anything really exciting because it will happen:
On the other side of the track when you are looking at this side of the track
On this side of the track when you are looking at the other side of the track
When the guy in front of you suddenly stands up to yell helpful tips at his favorite driver
When you are in line for earplugs, T Shirt, bathroom…..
16. It is pronounced NASCAWR. The W is NOT silent.
17. Avoid taking sides on the Ford, Chevy, Dodge discussion. Just agree with the largest and drunkest fans around you. See below for more helpful tips on this.
DEFINITELY do not say…
“Dale who?” or “Who is ‘Junior’?”
“Is that all they do, go around in circles..?”
“Hey! Down in front! Do you mind sitting down? I’m trying to watch the race.” or “I paid for this seat and I’d like to be able to use it!”
Anything bad about any brand of beer. Similarly don’t make statements like “Sam Adams pale lager really has Bud Lite beat hands down.”
“What do the drivers do when they have to go to the bathroom?” (It’s better not to know)
“My Grandmother drives better than you!” Unless you are yelling it at the same driver that the larger more drunk people around you are yelling things at. See below.
“Do they only play that crappy country music all the time?”
“I think Toyota will be good for stock car racing.”
“Those cars are hardly STOCK cars. I mean, I couldn’t really buy one of those STOCK could I?”
“These cars all look the same. Who cares if it is a Ford or Chevy?”
“Is he supposed to bump into the other guy like that?”
Finally, who should you root for?
Root for someone uncontroversial. NASCAR fans are very loyal to their drivers. Pay attention to who the largest and drunkest people around you are rooting for and just go with it. It’s much safer that way. Reserve your personal opinions for when you are home watching it on TV by yourself. (I am personally a Michael Waltrip fan. Go NAPA Chevrolet #55!)
Note – If you want to buy me a T Shirt, I take a large (I realize this is in direct violation to rule number 6, but should you feel the urge to stand in a line the length of the population of Rhode Island, please feel free).
Make sure you wear something that stands out. I’ll watch for you on TV. Be sure to wave. Or better yet, make up a sign that says HI BRYAN AND JACKIE! and hold it up every time the camera points at you just in case.
You may want to print this email and take it with you for quick reference. It could save your life (or get you beat up. I wouldn’t let it fall into anyone else’s hands just to be on the safe side).
Picture of the day. Another attempt at the sheep in their field.