Congratulations to Robert Cattan and Ed Campbell for winning the doubles tournament held to commemorate the 100th session of Ping Pong Parkinson. Kudos, as well, to Andy Schloat for his huge generosity in providing a fantastic Ping Pong Cake. (Jeez, it was good.) We also want to express our gratitude in recognizing the valuable contributions to the party made by Ellen Burka. Of course, we want to make sure to mention with much appreciation the skillful handicapping and tournament supervision rendered by Dave Hill and Will Shortz. Additionally, we were very fortunate to have an expert photography team – Robert Cattan with stills, Fred Ellman with video – capturing some of the joyful enthusiasm of the evening. (There was no “agony of defeat.”) Lastly, thanks to all the participants and volunteers who made last night and the previous 99 sessions helpful and worthwhile for our Ping Pong Pongers!
One more thing about our 100th party: Can Ellen Burka and Margie Alley sing or what!! Some record company should sign them up. Great harmony. Wow!
Related to singing is this remarkable and noteworthy article which just appeared on the Parkinson’s News Today site. It describes the beneficial effects of (get ready for this) – GROUP SINGING! Really! Just as we were amazed to find that some Parkinson’s patients were using juggling as a therapeutic modality (we thought we were the innovators), here we are again in discovering that some others in the Parkinson World are already using singing in groups to improve voice impairment and respiratory control. (Within a week or two of practice, Ping Pong Parkinson should have one of the world’s greatest choirs.) Lao Du
I was snuffling at my next session with my 200 dollar per hour headshrinker. He asked me why I was making the respiratory noises and I lied. I told him I had a cold, but I was really about to cry. He handed me a tissue (for which I wondered if there would be an extra charge) and I admitted to being in distress because of what he’d said about my not going to Tokyo in 2020 (ping pong and the Olympics). He then began to feature his empathy – completely phony – but I listened to his attempt at compassion anyhow. He said, “I’m sorry, really I’m sorry, but you can’t compete at that level. You’re a club player – that’s what you are. And you’re using an antiquated racket. And you’re old. I’m sorry, Lao Du, but you’re not going to the Olympics.” And then he must have remembered Dunning/Kruger, because his tone changed and he told me straight out that I was blissfully unaware of my own incompetence. (How’s that for building up my confidence!) He softened it by saying it wasn’t only me. “People are too dumb to know how dumb they are. You can have an Einsteinian IQ and still be a pudding head,” he said.
Ya know what my guru, the shrink, said? He said that, to some degree, we are all McArthur Wheelers! That’s right. Maybe our ideas are not as outrageous as Wheeler’s ludicrous folly, but we share with him, unhappily, a penchant for being overconfident – a confidence lacking accuracy and truth. Most of us, it turns out, assess ourselves – our skills and abilities – erroneously, and the error is always an overestimation. This is what the Dunning-Kruger effect is all about. It’s a phenomenon the two researchers labeled as an “illusion of confidence” and “illusory superiority.” We (most of us) are, in effect, inadequate and less effective and capable than we really are. It isn’t just in the clumsy way we might rob a bank like that dummkopf, either. It’s everything. It’s my judging myself as the best driver in the western hemisphere (possibly eastern hemisphere, too); it’s the guy on the TV talent show who thinks he’s the best singer or dancer; it’s my neighbor who thinks she can make a better pizza than me.
It kinda hurts to know these things. I mean my head-shrinker is telling me I’m incompetent and that my assessment of my own great forehand is nothing but pure crapola. He’s explaining that my ignorance about myself serves as a coping mechanism.
I dunno, I hate to say it, but I guess he’s right. Ignorance can be truly blissful. You can live with that. The reality is harsher. That I’m not as good as I think I am, is not some idea I want caroming around in my conscious brain. I prefer the proposition that I’m still training for the Olympics. Never mind the fact that I’m on social security – I think I can still make it if I can only improve on my short game.
Stay tune for Part III – it’s about dumb ping pong players… It’s about all of us!
I’m rated a few hundred points higher than this one guy at the club – let’s call him Nemesis Uno – and you’d expect that I’d beat the pants off him all the time. I don’t. In fact, it’s the opposite. Nemesis Uno beats the crap outta ME! Why? Why Lord? What did I do? I’ve been a good boy. I mean it’s just not right. Jeez, I eat my Wheaties, take my daily vitamins (the ones they call “Silver” for the doddering and drooping), I don’t tailgate when I drive and rarely exceed the speed limit, I keep my cursing to a minimum and I stopped coveting my neighbor’s wife some time ago (she’s a good looker). Hey, I’m the poster boy for virtue. What’s goin’ on here? Why is my trophy case bare?