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I Don't Like The Person You Become When You're On The Jumbotron

Okay, Dave, we need to talk. I didn't say anything on the way back from the stadium, because I was collecting my thoughts. But now, I think it's time we clear the air. Look, you know I've always loved and supported you. I believe you are, at heart, sweet, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wise. But something happens when the eyes of an entire stadium are on you, and it makes me wonder whether I even know you. Dave, I don't like the person you become when you're on the Jumbotron.

The Dave I know is polite, modest, and content. Jumbotron Dave is crass and loud. The Dave I know has a sweet, gentle smile. Jumbotron Dave has a tongue that waggles and undulates lasciviously. Accompanied by your red cheeks, your bulging eyes, and that "metal" gesture you do with your hands—it's horrifying. What comes over you, Dave?

Don't give me that "I like the attention, but I don't need it" stuff. I know you think you don't get on the Jumbotron often enough for it to be a problem, and I know you think that your little display doesn't hurt anyone. But seeing you that way hurts me. Because I know you're better than that disco-dancing lunatic up on the screen.

I never said you control the cameraman, but once he chooses you, you are responsible for your actions. Wouldn't a grin and a wave do the job? Couldn't you just hold up a team pennant? Even a tasteful sign? I think the Seahawks would prefer the image of a well-mannered fan to some screaming guy who pulls up his shirt to flash a pair of chalky-white man-breasts planted with sprigs of chest hair and nipples the size of saucers. What's "fun" or "funny" about that, Dave?

And the sounds you make! The Dave I know has a voice so gentle and sweet that I often save his phone messages. Jumbotron Dave has a voice that I would hesitate to call human. It's more a series of guttural whoops and bellows. You do realize that they can't hear you, right, Dave? Okay, well, if you're going to yell anyway, why not at least yell something simple, so people can read your lips? You could try "Seahawks!" or "Touchdown!" instead of those nonsense words you were yelling earlier tonight when you were gesturing from your beer to the field to the air. Honestly, Dave, why? No one watching the jumbotron can hear you, you know.

You never think about my feelings. I'm on that Jumbotron, too, you know. I have as much right as you to jab my index finger in the air and shout, "We're No. 1! We're No. 1!" Earlier this evening, in your haste to fill the Jumbotron screen with your pasty expanse, you blotted me out of the picture completely. Not only did you prevent me from raising a finger into the air and shouting, "We're No. 1!" but you also jabbed me in the eye with your elbow and sent my pretzel nuggets flying.

No, I'm not asking that you hide your face in the event you do get on the Jumbotron. That's silly. All I ask is that you use the Jumbotron responsibly, like Ellen's fiancé Jack. When Jack gets on the 'tron, he smiles, gives the thumbs up, and points to his Matt Hasselbeck jersey. Then he looks back at the game. Very classy and dignified. Like you, he's at the game to have fun and it shows. But unlike you, he doesn't let the Jumbotron change him into a screaming lunatic. He's an adult. And, like an adult, he knows he doesn't need to outdo everyone else who's ever been on the Jumbotron before. He knows that that sort of one-upmanship leads to trouble. That rainbow-wigged John 3:16 guy is in jail right now. Did you know that, Dave? Prison.

I remember the first time I saw your darker, LED-displayed side. It was the Mariners-Brewers game at the Kingdome in 1996, and I was thrilled just to be close to you. We'd been dating for two months, and I was head-over-heels in love. Then, suddenly, we were on that gigantic screen together. Before I could even react, you leapt onto your seat and poured a beer over your head.

At the time, I laughed. A half-thought, "something is very wrong here," scuttled through the back of my mind, but I ignored it. Around the start of the seventh inning, the fact that my date was drenched in beer began to trouble me. But you weren't troubled a bit. It was as though you'd shut out reality. I watched you. You glanced up at the Jumbotron every few seconds, Dave. You were dying to unleash the monster again. Looking back, I don't think the Mariners' victory even mattered to you.

The Jumbotron is a way for fans to express their excitement and show pride in their favorite teams. Jumbotron appearances can be beautiful and sweet. People hold up their children. Some fans use the Jumbotron to send greetings to their mothers or propose to their girlfriends. They let the Jumbotron blow up the good aspects of their personalities. They don't let their most grotesque and vile characteristics take over.

Dave, I am only trying to help you. But I must warn you that I can't tolerate this side of you. Next month, we have tickets to see Mannheim Steamroller. I happen to know there's a Jumbotron in the arena. If you apply any red and green paint to your face before we go, you and I are through.


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