The Curse

My vintage midriff tee. Unofficial and unlicensed by the NFL. The best kind.
My vintage midriff tee. Unofficial and unlicensed, the best kind.

I was back east and couldn’t attend the World Series parade on Friday. I’m extremely bummed I missed my shot at a pair of Mad Bum jockeys.

These championship celebrations always remind me of the best one ever: the first Super Bowl win. What helped make that one so great was, after years of mediocrity or worse, it was so unexpected.

I watched halfheartedly the first part of that season since the Niners always fizzled out in the end. As they kept winning, however, I started talking them up to David on our Sunday evening trips to the Midnight Sun. He didn’t care about sports but as momentum built he sensed history and became a fan.

After the Clark catch we couldn’t decide where to watch the Super Bowl. It had to be in public but the only gay venue with large screen television was the Sun. Gay men were apathetic sports fans at the time, we weren’t sure they’d even show it.  Taking our chances and we went over to the Castro at halftime. It was on and there was a decent crowd.

The drink of the day was Cape Cods because the color matched the Niner’s uniforms. After the thrilling victory David and I went out into the street. The crowd of 50 began to grow exponentially.

We went into the package liquor store for a pint of Hennessy, then into the Star Pharmacy for all the value packs of toilet paper we could carry. The teepee-ing the intersection commenced. Soon the mob caught on and every available roll in the Castro was hanging on the cross-wires at 18th.

The crowd was now thousands. Cars couldn’t get through and Muni, though a little more persistent, gave up too. The driver on the last bus just stopped. He emptied everyone off, locked the doors and abandoned the vehicle.

The vacated bus was a challenge I couldn’t resist.  Squeezing through the pneumatic doors, I danced alone up and down the aisle. The crowd rocked it back and forth. I sat at the controls and got the wipers going. Then the lights flashing and plenty of horn.

I realized it was electric and didn’t need a key so I started it and put it in gear. It lunged about 2 feet and I thought: “danger zone: drunk, thousands of people, heavy equipment–not good.” I shut it off then opened the doors to let the masses stream on.

David and I went on to other neighborhood celebrations like the bonfires in the Mission and the Broadway crowd in North Beach. It was such an odd feeling. Kids who would have beaten me up any other day of the year were high -fiving and hugging me that night. The next morning we each woke up with an aluminum crowd control barricade in our apartments. We weren’t sure how they got there.

David. The best PR in town.
David. The best PR in town.

Friends soon learned about our wild night. David’s version had more legs than mine since he emphasized I “stole” a Muni bus. So effective was he that 20 years later people still asked, “did you really steal that bus?” They acted as if I’d taken it on the 49 mile scenic drive. I knew better than to trample a good image, I just shrugged and smiled.

Last year I finally asked David what he’d actually said. He replied sheepishly, “oh, that you drove it to the end of the block.”


I once told Carl about my game day superstitions. Not watching a batter and the guy would get a clutch hit. Scrubbing the bathroom and the Niners would pull out a last-minute victory. He was skeptical, “you really think you have that much power?” Yes, I think I do.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for 42 years. Before I moved here neither the (San Francisco) Giants nor the 49ers had ever won a championship. In the past four decades we’ve won 5 Super Bowls and 3 World Series. If I lose my apartment in the City and am forced to move away, well………

Next: C’mon Ride That Booty

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