Remember last night, when you were enjoying the superbowl and its litany of funny commercials? Haha how fun was that?! Dip flying around, Charlie Kelly’s high-pitched groaning about a stain, doorbells ringing because the pizza’s here, squeezing into the couch next to your buddy’s girlfriend for whom you harbor feelings, her arm pressing against yours making the hairs stand up and meet her hairs, nothing scandalous but enough to affirm that she has feelings for you too, heading to the laundry room together, making out feverishly while whispering “we can’t do this” and you saying “I know” even though you can’t breathe from excitement, chasing second half live line bets, someone asking for the bottle opener, back-and-forth game, America having a party. Just your typical, run-of-the-mill Superbowl.
All around the nation, that scene played out in living rooms full of happy people. And then, out of nowhere, Google popped in, curb-stomped the birthday cake, and took its ball and went home.
At first, I thought maybe it would be some cool new feature that helps people with Alzheimer’s. Or we’d get some funny slideshow about a dad trying to remember the shit that always gets him in trouble: “How to remember… to get the right cheese” or “How to remember… my daughter’s half-birthday.” WRONG. Not even in the fucking ballpark. As soon as that old man’s quaky voice chimed in—like he was about to offer up his account of D-Day for a Ken Burns piece—I knew we were in trouble. Then, the laugh about Loretta hating his mustache; the dulcet piano chords joined, inevitably, by a string section; Bogart tilting Ingrid Bergman’s breathtaking, tear-streaked face to the light; and finally, the list of Google memories that ends with what we presume to be Loretta’s dying words: “don’t miss me too much, and get out of the dang house”—a terrific lesson for how to pick up the pieces of our old man’s shattered heart, and good advice for us too, watching from home with our jaws on the floor as we dissolve into a puddle of snot and shoulder-shaking sobs. WHY, GOOGLE? AT A TIME LIKE THIS?!
The ad was sandwiched between two pretty funny ads too, I think. I looked around the room at our party and watched at least two grown men look at the ceiling fan in that hopeless maneuver to let the tears somehow drain back into their eyeballs. Meanwhile, three separate women took plates to the kitchen but not before grabbing a few napkins for blotting. I’ve never seen the mood of a room change so quickly.
Sometimes, a good cry can feel cleansing and restorative; Cathartic was the word our 8th grade English teacher taught us. But there’s a time and a place for that soul scrubbing, and I can tell you definitively that that time is NOT on Superbowl Sunday. Give us Doritos dance-offs, anthropomorphic frogs, and even the mindless insurance and car commercials. Lord knows, tomorrow is already going to be hard enough.