Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Superbowl Sonny, By Victor Ehikhamenor


Victor Ehikhamenor

Last Sunday was Superbowl in America, and if you missed it I am sorry and if you don’t know what I am talking about, omase o. It is one of those Sundays I looked forward to because you could get really drunk without your family suggesting you go for AA therapy. But more seriously, I love the TV commercials that get rolled out during timeouts. Companies compete for attention with new, funny and crazy commercials in front of millions of Americans guzzling Budweiser beer (NOTE: Budweiser paid me to insert their name here—in America, they call that Product Placement).  Superbowl Sunday sees an array of parties all over town, and despite the cold weather the atmosphere is usually charged with festivities and fanaticism. For the past ten years or so, I have only looked forward to the parties and not the games because my local team, the Washington Redskins, is exactly like our Nigerian lawmakers; they get paid millions of dollars to fool around. Redskins over the years play as if they are characters in a beta version of Nintendo Wii.

Since I did not have any dog in this year’s fight, as usual (apology to Michael Vick), and did not feel like bracing the cold weather I thought to relax in one of my brother’s new reclining chairs meant for Nollywood movies. I had settled down, with all necessary paraphernalia for lazy TV watching when my brother declared that we were going to a Superbowl party. I told him I wasn’t in the mood for going out,  I could no longer bear the wintery bitterness of America, the cold seemed angrier at me ever since I moved back home to Nigeria. Also I hadn’t planned on attending any party because in America you are supposed to take your own drink to the host’s house, a culture I could no longer tolerate. I spend more time in Nigeria now, and at home you don’t call a party if you can’t handle the entertainment.  But my brother insisted we go—“Oya let’s go, we are going to Sonny’s house.” That did it for me, I jumped up.

You see, Uncle Sonny (Superbowl Sonny) is a true Nigerian when it comes to hosting parties. Moreover, I think those who declared Nigerians as the happiest people in the world met Uncle Sonny first and last and concluded the matter. I have attended countless numbers of Superbowl parties in his house and knew better not to miss this. Also, as a Washington Redskins season ticket holder, the party helps Uncle Sonny forget the abysmal performance of the hideous team and its bizarre owner, Daniel Snyder.

Brothers and sisters, Uncle Sonny turned it up a notch this year. We arrived a bit late and could barely find parking space around his house. My brother was about to drive to another street in search of parking in the bitter cold when I shook my head and said—“You Americans, abeg block somebody, when e wan go e go call us na.” He too shook his head and said, “You Nigerians!” but he hates the cold, so we did a Lagos parking stunt and rushed into the house.

It was like a beehive inside Uncle Sonny’s new house (recently built with Nigerian and Superbowl parties in mind). There were different sections with plasma TVs staring from the walls like blackboards. Oh, I forgot to tell you that when you are going to his party, you don’t take anything along but thirst and hunger. This party was fully catered ala Lagos style. The first room I arrived in was the children and youth section, these were the American children born by Nigerian parents who think pounded yam can choke the eater—so there were boxes of pizzas, macaroni and cheese, Chinese food, and all kinds of non-alcoholic beverages there. Uncle Sonny had accosted us at the door, his face filled with happiness and laughter. There was also the shock of seeing me – coming all the way from Nigeria – to his Superbowl party. He took our coats himself (sorry folks, no matter how rich you are in America, no houseboys and house girls there) and led us to the basement where the real action was.

The basement was already jam-packed, with rolls of seats like Onikan stadium. The comfortable,   fully-upholstered seats in the front row were already occupied by early birds. Not to worry, because the TV was so large I could have seen a pin if I were watching from Ekpoma. There was a buffet with uniformed Hispanic waiters serving  pounded yam with egusi, Ogbono with assorted, efo  riro with orisisi, jollof rice, fried rice, beans and dodo, American-suya (i.e. peppered skewered beef) and Nigerian salad—the one with sardine, baked beans, and all the things that are not supposed to be mentioned in the same breath as salad. The generational and cultural difference between Nigerian fathers and their American children was glaring and jarring in Uncle Sonny’s selection of food for this section.

The drinks selection ranged from robust VSOP, various bottles of brandy, assorted wines in bottles the shape of cheerleaders, and Guinness stout of course. I sat among old friends and ignored every single question about Nigeria, because in all honesty I don’t wash dirty national linen in public, especially in the home of such a good man as Uncle Sonny.

The author culled this article from his new book: Excuse Me!

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