You cannot purchase a Cleveland Browns foam finger anywhere. Go ahead, try it. Not even on the eBays. You can find a foam dog bone, a thick foam dog-like hat thing, a plush hand that looks like it was wretched out of some horrid Ohio-based Wes Craven movie.
How do I know this? Join me in a trip back to Sunday, sitting outside Street Meet restaurant on Hilton Head, the patio awash in a hot mess of football fans who seem to forget they are in South Carolina and actually not 800 miles away in Baja Canada, and me, sitting there, the lone person rooting for the poor Ravens, not so much out of my fealty to Maryland but more my appreciation for the life and works of Edgar Allen Poe. An ebullient woman who for the previous two hours had been pounding Jagerbombs with the unassailled regularity of the gameclock ticking down the minutes, stood up and demanded the attentions of the 30 or so patrons sitting nearby.
“I have an announcement!” she proclaimed, careful to match the start of her proposition to the start of the 47th Microsoft ad airing that afternoon. “If anyone can find me a Cleveland Browns foam finger, I want it. I’ve checked everywhere and no one has it. I’ve looked everywhere, even the Internet.”
My eyes shrunk with immediate skepticism. When most people say they can’t find something on the Internet, it often means they could not figure out how to turn on their computer and then smashed the hard drive with a tennis racket in frustration, or that they accidentally searched Gogol.com. Not religion, philosophy or superstition — my sole tenet of belief in this world that comforts me even in the darkest hours is that you can find anything through Google these days. Anything. Want to look at hot chicks wearing Nintendo Power Gloves? There, just found it. Billy Dee Williams’ home address? Careful, someone may have arrived just before you. Looking for the entire collection of characters from the 1980s cartoon show The Wuzzles? Please, give me a challenge.
“Did you try the American Internet?” I asked, allowing my sarcasm to drip into her horseradish onion sauce.
“Yes, I looked everywhere. The Browns’ Web site, NFL.com, eBay, all nothin’. If you can find me one, I’ll … I’ll … well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll give you something.”
Payment will not be necessary, ma’am, as proving you wrong will be reward enough. I informed her I would return the following Browns game with the answers she sought.
Last night I awoke the Googles and gave them their task, thinking the first result of the 9,310 returned in 0.19 seconds would almost certainly prove fruitful. But no luck. I tried several other word combinations, all to no avail. For some reason a foam finger for the Trenton Thunder minor league team was placed in the top results, but nothing for the Browns. My roommate joined the search, then my friend Missy. Browns web site, NFL shop, eBay — none containing even a trace of our prize. They either have never made the foam fingers, or they were so exclusive they were only available at Skyline Chili restaurants in the greater metro area.
I had to admit: the Jagerbombed lady was right, and my faith in the power of Google was shaken to its core.
But I did find solace in the fact that the Browns lost, and I would have one less annoying piece of Ohio sports memorabilia blocking my view of the TV next week.