Gainesville, FL: In what close friends and family consider a ‘major step towards maturity,’ 33-year-old loving husband and father of two Jason Feder is “totally cool with missing Superball IX,” sources tell us.
“I was really surprised,” said best friend Matt Segel. “He doesn’t seem to mind at all. Usually, around this time, he’d be pacing the room, ranting and raving about tortillas, propane, and Gold Bond. He’d have yellow highlighter all over his face from routing maps all day. But he’s surprisingly mellow.”
Added Segel: “He’s really grown up these past few years.”
“I mean, it’s totally cool,” said Jason as he slid on his new apron, a father’s day gift from his two children. “I’m barbequing with my wife and kids; we got some friends over. I just bought a new grill. I’ll always love Phish, but I guess my priorities are just different now. I’m really looking forward to spending the holiday being with my family.”
“Besides, we have this new grill,” he added. “Isn’t it great?” inquired Feder as his two children playfully chased their dog Spot across the yard. “Look at all these settings!”
“Throw another burger on, dear,” said his wife.
“Coming right up, honey!” Jason exclaimed, flipping the spatula confidently. “Go deep, Tommy!” he exclaimed, reaching for the Nerf and throwing a perfect spiral to his son. “Nice catch, Tommy!”
“Who needs to be stuck in the glaring sun all day?” he wondered out loud. “Not me, that’s for sure. Waking up in a hot tent at seven a.m.? Eating soggy grilled cheese sandwiches? Battling hordes of people to get a decent view of the stage?” he reminisced, putting his arm around his wife. “No way. This is the only view I need these days.”
His wife beamed. “I’m really proud of him,” she said. “He never even brought up the fest. He accepted the fact that he’d rather spend the holiday with his wife and kids. He’s a family man now. He’s gotten his priorities straight.”
“The traffic? Forget it!” said Jason. “And don’t even get me started on the Porto Potty’s.”
“Jenny, let your dad show you how that’s done!” he yelled to his daughter as she attempted to twirl a hula-hoop around her waist. He walked over and demonstrated with aptitude as his children watched and laughed.
“I love you,” said his wife.
“Who needs that nervous feeling; waiting for the band to take the stage?” he said when he returned to the grill. “The butterflies in your stomach. Calling the opener with your friends as the low clouds roll over the vast concert fields,” said Feder, flipping a burger on the grill as his son squirted him dead in the eye with a Kool-Aid-filled Super Soaker. “Those were the days.”
“I love you dear,” said his wife.
“Seeing that Ferris wheel light up the country sky as the wandering notes of a sustained Reba waft over the crowd and mingle with the smoke emanating from the vendors’ stands,” he said, as his children chased a squirrel up a tree.
“Yeah, but you’re here now, right dear?” remarked his wife.
“Of course I am honey,” he said.
“Those sure were the days, all right. Pitching your tent with a beer in your hand. Throwing a Frisbee back and forth. Even those little mundane things, like screwing the propane tank onto your Coleman double burner, or breaking up bags of ice, just smashing them against the surface of some de-regulated airstrip.”
“Aren’t those flames a little high, dear?” asked his wife.
“Slipping into a hoodie in the perfectly crisp air of 3 a.m. out in the country. Trying to find your way back to your tent after the third set, with a head full of God-knows-what fucking substances swimming around in your brain like some sort of self-administered chemical warfare.”
“Honey, watch your language! The kids can hear you,” said his wife.
“Sorry love,” he said, and continued flipping his burgers.
“Eh. That stuff’s for the youngins,” he said as his oldest son smashed his brand new Callaway driver against the bark of a tree in pursuit of a squirrel. “I’m glad I got those memories, but I’m just too old for that now. I got my wife, my kids, my dog…my grill,” and with that he absentmindedly patted his grill and winced as a shot of burning pain ran up his arm and through his synapses.
“You’re not old honey,” remarked his wife. “Just more mature. Lemme get you some ice for that.”
“Sitting around your tent, discussing the highlights of the show,” he continued, balancing a bag of frozen organic peas on the severe burn growing exponentially across his hand. “Hearing the sound of a bottle cap snap open and echo through the late-night laughter and chatter of the campground. Feeling so exhausted from walking around all day that your Styrofoam sleeping pad is as comfortable as a king-sized bed in a five-star hotel…”
“Dear? But what about the Porto Potties?” urged his wife. “Don’t forget what you said about those Porto Potties!”
“Ahh yeah,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes, as his daughter poked at a steaming turd his dog just seconds ago manufactured on the deck. “That feeling, when you exit the sweltering Porto Potty after your morning piss, and the cool morning breeze hits your face. Smothering your hands in the refreshing coolness of Purell, ready for another day of music.”
“Daddy!” screamed his son Tommy, “Jenny just threw my GI Joe in the doo-doo!”
“I wonder what the weather is in New York right now?” wondered Feder aloud.
“Honey!” said his wife. “The burgers are burning!”
“Oh, oh yeah…the burgers,” muttered a deflating Feder.
“Daddy! Tommy just fished his GI Joe out of the doo-doo with your new golf club!” screamed his daughter Jenny.
“Dear! The burgers are burning! Flip them!”
“Daddy! I think the squirrel’s still alive!” screamed Tommy.
Feder sighed as he picked up the spatula and limply flipped a burger. “Hey, have I shown you my new grill?”