A View from Calico Jack’s – 11/20/2008

I often hear stories about long-time prisoners – guys who’ve been in the joint for 20, 25 even 40 years – who are completely distressed when they’re eventually released. Yes, prison was bad, even horrible. De-humanizing. But, it provided them with structure. A set of rules to live by. A degree of security. For better or worse, it became their home. What am I supposed to do, these newly rehabilitated souls ask, to acclimate to an unfamiliar, uncaring world?

Well, for one thing, you can consider becoming a Bills fan – the weekly sports-viewing equivalent of dropping your soap in the shower.

More seriously, other Bills fans I know actually believe they’re already imprisoned, and vow to escape a la “Prison Break.” “This isn’t for me anymore,” they say. “I ain’t returning to Shawshank.”


Like pizza and sex, being a Bills fan is always great, even when it’s bad.

If you need proof, just consider this past Monday night at McFadden’s. We still packed the bar for a nationally televised night game, and the NYCBBB’s reputation is such that an NFL Network show, Starting 11, travelled two hours to film our group for three quarters. At one point, one of the crew asked me, as he strained to be heard, “Is it always like this here?!” I replied, without an ounce of exaggeration, “No. This is quiet.”

I hadn’t been to McFadden’s for a couple of years, opting for the quieter-but-still-raucous comfort of Calico Jack’s. I’d almost forgotten how freaking fun McFadden’s is, and this was on a relatively quiet night. It was a blast.

If being a Bills fan is like being a prisoner, so be it. I’ve signed up for a life sentence.

E-mail feedback and comments to Phil Mann at
pjmann at nyc.rr.com