Thursday, October 2, 2008
The 2008-9 NHL season is set to begin on Saturday. And when hockey season begins, my thoughts turn to bacon.
Like most sports fans, I developed the idea that my actions could influence the outcome of the game on the TV. “If I wear this hat and this shirt, [blank] will win.” And then when that doesn’t work, I blame it on the hat. “Shit, I should have worn the shirt and the yellow socks, I knew it.” Of course when something works, I do it the next game. And then when it doesn’t work on the second attempt, I blame it on the dog for pissing behind the couch earlier in the day. Or something like that. Something was out of alignment. Anyway, it’s a series of trials and errors, and, while it doesn’t work all the time—or even some of the time—I know deep in my heart that it will work if I can just discover the right combination. It’s like breaking into a safe. And a few years ago, I thought I had cracked the code: bacon.
Yes, I started cooking bacon for my TV a few years ago after it’s remarkable effect on a Bruins game. I don’t remember who Boston was playing, but they were losing towards the end of the third period. Frustrated, I got up to make a BLT in the kitchen. I put a skillet on the stove, cranked up the heat, and gently laid a strip of bacon in it. Just as the bacon hit the pan and started to sizzle, the Bruins scored.
“HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!” BOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGG! [that’s the goal siren] WOO WOO WOO WOO! [that’s the red light spinning around].
“What’s this?” I said. I looked at the pan with the strip of bacon in it, and then back to my Li’l Teddy Bears celebrating on the ice. “They like bacon?” I thought. “Of course,” I said hitting myself on the head, “they’re Bruins, duh? BEARS LOVE BACON!” So I filled the pan with bacon and cooked the shit out of a whole pack. I kid you not, the Bruins scored three goals before the bacon was even done, and they went on to win the game. Bacon, I decided, was the answer.
[Would I be biting Emeril and his li’l “Pork Fat Rules” nonsense if I made shirts and aprons that read, “BACON IS THE ANSWER.” Because it is, isn’t it?]
I cooked bacon for the next three Bruin games and, believe it or not, they won every one of them. All I had to do was cook bacon, and then they’d smell it through my TV, and it would give them all the motivation they needed to put more points on the board than their opponent. Which, I’ve found, is often the key to victory: the team that has the most points on the scoreboard at the end of the game is usually the team that wins.
It wasn’t long, however, before the Bruins lost a bacon-inspired game. I had thought they were going to go undefeated the rest of the season. I even began trying to figure out how to bet on them. “Well, they’ll catch on at some point, but if I start placing bets now…” I was heartbroken when they lost, but I soon convinced myself that it would have happened eventually. “Bacon is awesome, but who wants to eat it every meal?” Plus, I was the one eating it. So I devised a new method of presenting bacon to the Bruins that was more, let’s say, ritualistic. Naturally there were some rules.
I would cook exactly three strips of bacon, one for each period. The bacon had to be cooked and on the plate before the drop of the puck. If the bacon wasn’t on the plate before the puck drop, I could just forget about winning. And then I’d place the plate with the three strips of bacon on it in front of the TV. It was like an offering to the hockey gods. Or like leaving cookies out for Santa. Probably more like the latter, because I’d eat the bacon. At the end of each period, I’d eat one strip of bacon. I was like the high priest accepting the sacrifice for the hockey gods… or maybe I was like your parents drinking the milk and cookies they put out for themselves on Christmas Eve.
It's obvious this picture was shot during the third period of an Ott/Bos game. As you can see, Boston is charging the net hard because the bacon is giving them strength. Picture proof that it works.
This, of course, proved itself to be almost as unreliable as any previous methods I had employed to influence the outcome of the games I was watching. “ALMOST as unreliable,” I say, because when I do it—I don’t do it for every one of the 82 games they play during the regular season. Are you crazy? Jesus, I love bacon, but not that much. When I lived with Tobin in San Francisco, the recluse across the street from us died. Now that was a man who loved bacon. We eventually got to sneak into his abandoned house. What we discovered was horrifying: his walls were covered in bacon fat. The whole house. But near the kitchen the walls almost looked like bacon. Apparently he had been cooking bacon several times a day for years. Having learned a valuable lesson from that incident, I decided to, you know, kind of chill on the “Bacon for Bruins” thing. But when I do it—and I still swear by this, the odds of the Bruins winning are much better. They go up even more when I use good bacon. Have you ever gotten bacon of the month club from the Grateful Palate?
That’s some good bacon. I highly recommend it. I love receiving packages in the mail. And there’s not much that’s better than a package full of bacon. For $150, you get one package of bacon delivered to your house each month. Out of the twelve packages we got, I can’t say there was one we didn’t like. It’s also a great gift. But make sure the recipients eat meat. We got it for the Nieratkos as a wedding gift after we learned that New Jersey is the only (?) state in the Union that won’t allow wine to cross over its border. What year is it again? So the Grateful Palate was like, “What about Bacon of the Month?” Alright, sure. But, it turns out Mrs. Nieratko is a vegetarian. Oops.
I’m looking forward to a great Bruin season. I’m expecting them to pick up where they left off last season and keep moving forward. And with my bacon at their backs, I don’t think there’s anything that can stop them.