The Denver Broncos gave me shingles – in my mouth

16 years ago, when the Broncos beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, the stress of the game made me sick for three or four days. The following year we beat Atlanta (sorry, Larry) and won our second Super Bowl, and I was much calmer.

I packed up all of my Broncos gear until next season. I'm embarrassed to be seen in it right now.

I packed up all of my Broncos gear until next season. I’m embarrassed to be seen in it right now.

As this year’s big game drew closer, I got nervous and a little wound up. I started using a lot of CAP LETTERS IN  MY EMAILS AND TEXT MESSAGES. I walked 81 miles on my treadmill during the week. I wore Broncos gear every day.

Then I woke up at 2 in the morning the night before the Super Bowl with pain in my right front tooth and other spots in my mouth. Nerve pain. I had to take an Ativan to go back to sleep. I feared I’d broken a tooth or had an abscess, which didn’t help with the stress.

Watching the game only made it hurt more.

Monday: The dentist asked me if I was stressed about anything lately. Yeah, the Denver Broncos, I said.

I guess he thought I was joking or this wasn’t good enough to make a diagnosis of shingles. He mentioned something about a possible virus or burn, but I didn’t connect the dots. It took my brilliant wife to do that at dinner while I was high as a Seahawks fan on half a 4-year-old Vicodin tablet.

Tuesday: Back to the dentist, but the one I see most of the time (he was off on Monday). Diagnosis: Shingles. Rx: Valtrex for 7 days, thanks to my doctor.

I thought when I had shingles on my body it was painful, but having it my mouth? Wow, torture and tears. Yes, sometimes when I eat and the food touches just the right spot, tears just fall out of my eyes, which is more rain than LA is getting these days. I should eat in the garden.

But let me make this very clear: Even the pain of shingles in my mouth is nowhere near the pain of watching the Denver Broncos tank another Super Bowl. I’d take shingles over that any day, but having both happen at the same time . . . F**k me.

Broncos beat the Chargers and my daughter calls me a . . .


That’s what she called me after the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers. We were eating dinner and I was giving instructions to both her and my wife to remember exactly what they wore during the Broncos game so they could wear it again the following Sunday for the showdown with the evil New England Patriots.

You know you have the best wife ever when she makes a Broncos pom pom for the dog without a Broncos collar. Love.

You know you have the best wife ever when she makes a Broncos pom pom for the dog without a Broncos collar. Love.

“What? You want us to wear the same thing we wore today?” she said, as if I’d just asked her to eat kale at every meal for the rest of her life, which is funny because it feels like a lifetime from the moment we ask her to eat her kale to when she actually takes a bite.

“You’re a whack-a-do,” she said.

“Is that good or bad?” I asked.

“Well, it’s better than a cray-cray nutcracker.”

Tweener code, it’s never boring. I rue the day she calls me a cray-cray nutcracker, a term her friend invented for who knows what reason.

I need to order a tweener decoder ring on Amazon.

Regardless of my daughter’s protest, all three of us will be wearing the same clothes on Sunday at noon when the kick-off takes place.

Fortunately for the ladies of my house, they will get to wash their clothes before the game. I, being an OCD purist, will, with the exception of my Labrador boxers, be wearing the same clothes in their pristine, unwashed condition: my old Broncos t-shirt under my orange Manning jersey, Broncos lounge pants, vintage Broncos logo hat, and orange-trim running shoes, no socks.

Yes, whack-a-do sounds about right, whatever it means.