Janet Napolitano and the Pope Walk Into a Bar…

Super Bowl security is no laughing matter (it’s actually as serious as a visit from the Pope), but today’s press conference to discuss the issue sure turned giggly. Led by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the midday briefing started out like a recital of a PowerPoint presentation. And then, just as Napolitano was sitting down after her round of rote assurances, someone’s cellphone rang in a cartoonishly ominous tone, like a Scooby-Doo sound effect.

Boy, did that loosen everyone up! Frank Straub, the director of public safety for the City of Indianapolis, treaded lightly into comedic waters by suggesting that Napolitano had brought some great weather from Arizona, where she formerly served as governor. “Yeah, I forgot to mention that,” the secretary quipped in response.

Straub continued, applauding locals for the job they’re doing this week. “I’ve never seen so many smiling faces in my life!” he said. “Part of that is because I’m from New York.”

He then mentioned that Indy-based ministers and their brethren will be on the front lines of safety in Super Bowl Village safe this weekend! What a jester! Oh, wait. He was serious. Members of our faith-based community helped police on the ground during last year’s Black Expo, and they will renew their clergical presence at the Super Bowl. “They proved to be a very, very effective way to work through various conflicts on the streets,” Straub said.

Just as things were wrapping up, Jeffrey Miller, head of security for the NFL, brought it back into the fun zone: “I didn’t know it was so nice in Indy. I would have scheduled some winter vacations here.’

The media members dispersed in a chorus of quiet chuckles after comedian Mike Epps, the NFL Experience ambassador, popped out from behind a ficus and reminded everyone to tip the waitress.

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now the director of editorial operations, she lives in Garfield Park.