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Bowled Over--and Under : Game XXVIII offers some possibilities that just don't exist the rest of the year--like being able to work out at the gym without some guy saying, 'Hey, baby, let me be your StairMaster.'

January 27, 1994|SUZANNE SCHLOSBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES: Suzanne Schlosberg, a senior editor at Shape magazine, will spend Sunday replenishing her inadequate earthquake supplies.

Excuse my meager supply of testosterone, but I will not be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. I have better things to do, like clean my toaster-oven tray.

The Super Bowl is an event whose sole purpose, it seems, is to give the American male a legitimate reason to hurl pork rinds at a big-screen TV.

It is so perpetually boring that the National Football League resorts to Roman numerals to create an aura of importance. This is not Super Bowl 28. It is Super Bowl XXVIII--as if deemed so by some papal edict: "Super Bowl XXVIII--brought to you by Oldsmobile, Budweiser and John Paul II."

It's hard to say which is worse: the pregame show or the game itself. The pregame program will undoubtedly be hosted by a couple of overgrown men in suits speaking in the gravest of tones, as if they were temporarily excused from the United Nations Security Council to bring us this special report.

Their main function is to tell the viewers stuff they couldn't figure out for themselves, such as: "The key factor to this football game is going to be which of these two great football teams can get the most points up on the board."

Then they'll take an in-depth look at the nonfactors ("the weather figures to be a nonfactor in the football game due to the indoor venue") and the sub-factors. One analyst will announce that a team's third-string quarterback "sustained a laceration on his left thumb in a domestic accident earlier in the week." Next, they'll cut to a gray-haired medical expert who'll use a computer-generated diagram to explain just how the guy got a paper cut while opening a box of Cheerios.

Then comes the game--basically four hours of billion-dollar motor-oil commercials with a few holding penalties mixed in. The outcome is usually decided so early on that, for the last 3 1/2 quarters, you're left with little to do but discern whether your tortilla chips form isosceles or obtuse angles.

My plans for the Super Bowl include a lot of things, but I can tell you that I will not be attending my friend Chris' Super Bowl party in Pasadena. This is partly because it will be an excruciatingly tedious affair and partly because I wasn't invited.

"No offense," Chris explained, "but it's really irritating to have people like you around. I'm not having a party for a social gathering or a political discussion. I'm having a party to watch a football game. Even if the Persian Gulf War started during the Super Bowl--it's like, fine, we can discuss it at halftime."

Chris doesn't think much of the halftime show. "It's an insult to the intelligence of football fans," he says.

That's absurd. The halftime show is the only redeeming aspect of the Super Bowl--particularly this year's version, which features hunky country superstar Clint Black. I trust that Clint will perform songs from his hit album, "Killing Time," which includes such appropriate lyrics as "killing time/it's killing me" and "the lights are on/but nobody's home."

Don't misunderstand. I don't want to see the Super Bowl abolished. I'm actually quite grateful for it. There are plenty of things a woman can do on Super Bowl Sunday that just aren't possible the rest of the year, like work out at the gym without some guy saying, "Hey, baby, let me be your StairMaster."

It's also a great time to go to the supermarket. For once, guys won't clog up the aisles with their carts while they take half an hour to choose between the laundry detergent with "extra stain-fighting action" and the one with "extra cleaning and freshening power."

If you don't believe that I consider inspecting heads of lettuce more fascinating than watching the Super Bowl, drop by Vons around 4 o'clock on Sunday.

I'll be the one tooling happily down aisle XIV.

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