Houston, we don’t have a problem

I’m sitting here on a luxury bus, in my first police escort, wondering why Houston police officers are holding up intersections just so we can get to a bar faster.

If you’ve never had a police escort, I highly recommend it as a form of travel.

I also recommend that you win a Bud Light Super Bowl contest, like my wife did, which is why we’re in downtown Houston, being whisked to our private concert with the Goo Goo Dolls and another artist whose name escapes me. Oh wait. Now I remember: Sting.

This trip includes these private concerts, along with all the food and beer you can consume, which I took as literal challenge. The highlight of the prize package are the two Super Bowl tickets. I wasn’t a fan of the beer before; now I’m petitioning that Bud Light replace municipal water systems.

Saturday in downtown Houston was a little too crowded for this small town hick, so Marie and I ditched the NFL festival and walked to a barbecue joint I had read about. It was in sort of a sketchy area of town, but I was willing to risk her life in the pursuit of good ribs.

As for the food? Well, I don’t know what that snob Anthony Bourdain cooks, but I’ll bet it tastes like Alpo compared to the Jackson Street BBQ. One day I will die and go to heaven, and it will be perfect in all aspects except for the fact the food there won’t be as good as that brisket.

We waddled back to our hotel, which Bud Light had taken over. And by “taken over” I don’t mean they reserved some rooms and put out a sign. They’ve remodeled. Everyone here is in some way affiliated with Anheuser-Busch and there is free beer everywhere. This is the type of place where you get in trouble if you’re NOT violating open container laws.

After picking up our prize packets, I find myself holding two tickets to Super Bowl 51 when it suddenly hits me. I’m about to fulfill the No. 1 item on my bucket list: scalping tickets to the Super Bowl.

No, I’m kidding. We’re very grateful to Bud Light and would do nothing to dishonor their generosity. But I check the resale market on StubHub just in case.

The next day, we boarded buses for another police escort to NRG Stadium. I could get very used to having eight-lane interstates cleared for me.

The exclusive three-hour pre-game party had an open bar, which was good, because we had gone nearly 20 minutes without a free beer. It’s here where I met Hillary and the boys from Lady Antebellum, visited with Joe Theismann, and had a photo taken with the impossibly gorgeous Houston Texans cheerleaders — all of whom were very nice, although apparently they don’t like long, lingering hugs. Lesson learned.

Our Section 631 tickets to the game are nosebleeds, but hey, it’s the Super Bowl. Still, the hike up requires a Sherpa. The pilot of the aerial blimp is closer to the field than we are.

As for the game itself? Well, you saw it. All I can say is, it’s surreal to be there. I kept repeating “We’re at the Super Bowl!” until my wife finally told me she knows where we are and to shut up about it. We sat near some very passionate Falcons fans, which is to say by the end of the fourth quarter, I had learned several new curse words.

The only problem with crossing off the top item on your bucket list is the lingering sense that it’s OK for you to die now. I keep worrying God is about to tell me: “You’re welcome. Now get dressed. You’re coming with me.”

If so, I’ll thank him for the tickets, and the concerts and for the great game.

And if he asks, I’ll tell him the food here in heaven is OK, but that he should really try the Jackson Street BBQ.

Email Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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