The tranquility of a cheeseburger

I am off to the Patriots game today, an almost all-day affair in which we will spend the afternoon watching the first game on a television mounted in the back of my friend’s car followed by three hours screaming and cheering inside Gillette Stadium. Food, poker and the tossing of the pigskin will fill much of the afternoon as well.

My friend, Shep, can get quite emotional in the midst of a Patriots game, particularly if a referee, a pass interference call on either side of the ball or a gain of two yards on a running play is involved. While I tend to be more cerebral in my analysis of the game, Shep is pure emotion while watching a game, capable of firing off a string of curses that would embarrass Rex Ryan. When there are kids around, I sometimes need to remind him of his language.

But I think I’ve found a much better way to help Shep manage his emotions:


Researchers at McGill University in Canada have found that merely looking at a photograph of cooked meat has a calming effect on men.

The results were published earlier this week.

Researchers explain that this effect probably has an evolutionary basis.  While the acquisition of meat in our earlier hunter/gatherer days might have been a stressful endeavor, the moment of consumption likely had the opposite effect on men.

"It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore, because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share ... your DNA," lead researcher Frank Kachanoff told the Montreal Gazette. "One of the basic principles in evolution is to want to preserve not only your DNA but also that of your next of kin."

I could offer the same rationale to Shep, explaining that there is no advantage in being aggressive in regards to the referees or the play calling when when your seats are adjacent to the press box and 60,000 screaming fans are sitting between you and the field. But perhaps I’ll simply take a photograph of the sirloin that will be cooking prior to the game and flash the image to him from my iPhone from time to time.

Especially if there are little kids around.