"Do you even know who's playing?" my brother said when I invited him over to watch the Superbowl.
"I do!" I said proudly. "It's the Giants versus the Patriots."
"You're not going to tell me you care about football?"
No, it was the mother of a friend of A's, who has autographed footballs all over her house and is usually seen wearing a football jersey. She was a big Giants fan. Then, a few days ago I went to Phoenix, Arizona, and stayed in one of the hotels where the players were about to arrive. The entire street was blocked off and bomb-sniffing dogs and anti-terrorism police were patrolling (even though when I was there, downtown was deserted except for a fully packed stadium watching a monster truck event). The hotel was plastered with ten-story-high photos of the players.
I don't enjoy American football but the Superbowl ads are fun, so I asked to be called each time the ads were on. In one, a large black man riding a tiny horse beats a whole field of jockeys in a horse race by playing dirty-- typical new pop-culture values.
"Did you know who that was?" said my brother when I laughed. I shook my head. "Chuckie O'Neil."
I must have looked blank.
"Don't tell me you haven't heard of Chuckie O'Neill!" He had said Shaquille O'Neal, but I didn't recognize the name.
"You really are from another country, aren't you!"
In fact, I think a lot of people like me do wind up living overseas. In a foreign country, people assume that you are clueless because you are a foreigner-- not just because you're a big dork.