They say you cannot love anyone else until you learn to love yourself but even the most self-loathing individual can still love the New Orleans Saints.
I always loved the 'dogs and I've loved the Saints since I was a kid - the image of fans with paper bags on their heads and "Ain'ts" written across 'em made me love them for a lifetime.
Bingo never liked football but had loved New Orleans since she spent her best years selling body shots on Bourbon Street and she cried watching the news of Katrina while I tried writing jokes about it. It took the triumphant and overly-hyped return of the team to the newly renovated Superdome for her to show any interest in the game. By the end of that season when they made it to their first championship game, Bingo knew more about the Saints than I did.
Saints For Life!
I got tickets for her birthday in November, tying a road date in Tampa in with a Saints road game against the Buccaneers. Second row, 50 yard line. I bought 'em well before the season started and if I'd have known the Bucs were gonna be 1-10 at that point of the season, I'm sure I could've got 'em a lot cheaper but it was all well worth it, nonetheless.
We checked into a hotel on Dale Mabry on Saturday afternoon, walking distance from Raymond James Stadium. Dale Mabry Highway is like most of Florida - an endless six-lane highway dotted with corporate franchise stores and malls and no sidewalks. We made it past the the steak house next to the hotel and just on the other side, parked in a giant empty parking lot was a mammoth tour bus painted from grill to tailpipe with "SAINTS" and images of players, logos, etc.
Saints Taligate Heaven
There were 15 or 20 people blasting music, drinking and dancing with a full PA and a trailer with a industrial sized BBQ and smoker they'd towed along with a two-man crew humping out meat to the folks.
We u-turned back to the hotel, put on our saints jerseys and made straight back to the party.
These were the Cajun-est motherfuckers you could imagine and they welcomed us like they'd known us all their lives. Coolers full of beer were everywhere and many beers were thrust into our hands. We were introduced around and offered everything of all they had to offer.
"Oh Help yo'self... this is all Jay's pahty... he don't cay-uh. He's a Millionay-uh!"
Jay was a wobbly-kneed drunk that looked at least 15 years older than his 50 years with wet eyes that drifted into his clammy, sun-raped skin. A young girl danced around him and he yelled over the music for us to make ourselves at home.
Then the mistake happened - someone asked what I did and I told the truth. Sometimes this can work in your favor but we were already in their good graces so it could only make things worse.
Next thing I hear by the de-facto MC on the microphone - "We got ourselves a CO-median here from TELEVISION whose gonna do some jokes fo' us!"
It's broad daylight and I am one gulp of beer short of ultimate sobriety and the last place my material belongs is at an upbeat, pre-celebration for drunken coon-asses. So I begged off, citing my sobriety and the fact that my stuff wasn't appropriate for the moment.
"Well, shee-it, somebody get this man somethin ta drink!" The dancing girl brought me onto the decked-out party bus and offered me a shot. I was hoping for coke but instead refused whiskey. I don't drink whiskey and besides I had a real show to do in a few hours.
I tried to mix into the background but after every song the guy manning the microphone would re-introduce me and ask if I was ready. Some people were looking pissed off that I wouldn't do a set, as though I owed them in return for their courtesy.
Just then a hotel shuttle showed up and dropped off four or five younger guys who immediately piled into the party.
"Holy shit - that's Doug Stanhope! Hey man! We're coming to your show tonight!"
Thank fuck. At least there will be people who appreciate how awkward this is going to be.
I tell 'em that I am about to be forced into trying to do comedy for this hootenanny and to have my back.
Slam another beer and take the mic. All the short-attention span dick jokes from the old days.
Get rid of any traces of his DNA.
Flip a coin in her cunt.
Thanks and g'nite.
Nobody seemed upset but nobody asked for an encore, thankfully.
Of course the actual show at The Crowbar would suffer a bit from my day drinking but that shit happens. Or maybe it was better because of it. I'm no critic. But we made the game and ran into a lot of the folk from the parking lot who greeted us like long lost family. The Saints boxed the Bucs ears and I don't remember much of the second half save for the smoking area and taking a lot of pictures with odd people.
And the Who Dat rained from all corners as we walked back to the outdoor bar of the steak house to watch the afternoon games and bring this drunk to a pinnacle.
Slow by slow, people we'd met came into the bar and the late games meant nothing. The guys who'd road-tripped from New Orleans for my show and for the game took up a table and we shot the shit. Different folks from the Saints bus came and went and we exchanged numbers we'd never call.
And at some point Jay the Million-ay-uh wandered in like he owned the place - which he might by now.
Jay the Million-ay-uh
I'd like to give a detailed account of the conversation but it was all a bit blurry. I know he started asking me about what I do, mostly about how much money I make and why it isn't enough and why or how I can make more. He was irritated at the fact that I said I didn't need more money and couldn't understand how someone could have goals that favored enjoying life over making money.
It was somewhere after trying to explain that I don't do "jokes" so much as social commentary that he asked about my political leanings. He then pegged me as a "liberal", leading to me saying that I fit into the category of libertarian - which still sounds like "liberal" enough that an idiot doesn't listen to the rest of the sentence.
Jay is obviously anti-liberal.
So what do I think of Obama? I say that I think he's pretty cool on the level of an entertainer and that's all any president is to me.
Why, what do you think, Jay?
"I think he's just a stupid niggah like any other nigger."
Let me say now - I use the word nigger probably as much as the worse racist you know. I use as many words as I can that are considered offensive, the more offensive the better. The difference is that comedians - the good ones anyway - talk in the most abusive terms when they are in the back of the room or the end of the bar. And never in all the times I have been involved in what outsiders might consider the most vile conversations - niggers and retards and fat cunts with prolapsed rectums and on and on - have I ever heard any hate. Just humor.
Jay wasn't being funny.
"Okay. What about Bobby Jindal?"
Maybe Jay's partisanship accidentally cascaded into race.
"He's just another niggah same as Obama."
As quickly as that, I saw the whole Saints bus party as clearly as if I had walked into it on mushrooms. This wasn't a bunch of people who shared a common love of the underdog and were celebrating what was at the time a perfect season together. It was a pathetic and soulless walking alcoholic who used money as bait to create a party that without all the gimmicks, he would not have otherwise been invited to.
He went on. Nigger nigger nigger.
All the people we had met that had been so absolutely pleasant must have know what a shitbag he was and probably never said a word, not wanting to upset the apple cart that brought the bus and the booze and the bar-b-que and the whole damn party.
Nigger this and nigger that and you have enough money that nobody is gonna say a word.
And, as this dawned on me and everyone just looked at their shoes, I stood up and said "You know what? You are a fucking douchebag and I don't even want to be a Saints fan anymore."
I took off my Saints jersey and chucked it in his face and told him to go fuck himself and Bingo and I walked shit-faced out of the bar.
Bingo told me it was the coolest thing she ever saw me do and I felt that cool for about ten minutes back at the hotel until I realized I'd just left what was otherwise a cool crowd of people not to mention throwing away my Ricky Williams Saints jersey - I have more love for Ricky Williams quitting football abruptly after failing his umpteenth piss test because he'd rather get high than amuse shitheads like Jay.
So eventually we meandered back only to find that Jay had left and the guys from my show had keenly snatched back my jersey.
This really has nothing to do with race as much as it does idiocy. Racism is idiocy at it's most obvious but it has as much to do with people who find themselves above being called out due to influence or affluence.
Jay Roberts of Luling, LA - I would later find out through the magic of Google - made his millions as a de-facto carpet-bagger of Hurricane Katrina. He is vulgar, small-town power-junkie and parasite who for all his wealth, has zero-value on a human level.
I am quite aware that my overly-dramatic show was alcohol-induced and made no difference in the long or even short run but I still held that anger for quite a while. I don't hold many grudges and some of the ones I hold are of the most ridiculous. I know where I can find that shit-lips that does the FreeCreditReport.com commercials in case I want to go out as a disgruntled TV-watcher-gone-shooter.
But the utter hatred for everything about Jay-duh-Million-ay-uh stayed with me so much that every time I heard "Who Dat," I forgot my beloved Saints and remembered how much I despise that chunk of shit.
It was ruining the best season of football that I can ever remember until I thought...
Have you noticed?
Niggers own you. They own everything about you. They drive your bus. They cook your bar-b-que. They run for the touchdowns that you drive so long to see. Niggers are the heart and soul of the community you live in. For fuck sake, you have portraits of your favorite niggers on the side of your own million-dollar tour bus.
I understand you now as much as I understand why a black person who faced the worst of oppression hates white folk. You hate niggers because they own every part of your being. So it doesn't matter to me who wins on Sunday. I'm happy that the best underdog I've ever known has made it to the big game. And I'm happy that they own you like you were a thick, blue-gummed auction item. And every time I hear "Who Dat?" I will think "not fucking you, Jay."
Not fucking you.