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The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
I ran into an old volunteer from PPP who was visiting the club the other day. This little old lady from southern California was playing ping pong, and I noticed that she was hitting the ball flat – just blocking the ball back to her opponent. I had played with and instructed this woman some time ago, and was taken aback by the fact that she was not hitting the ball the way she’d been taught … by me. I was offended. I was indignant. But I wasn’t gobsmacked. (I don’t get gobsmacked that easily.) All that time I’d spent in trying to show this person how to hit the damn thing, and now she ends up like she’s been playing in a subterranean basement for a full pandemic year against her preschool grandchildren. Made me sick. But not gobsmacked.
Okay, so then maybe I put my nose into where it wasn’t welcome – I gotta big mouth, what can I tell ya. So, while she was playing, I told her she couldn’t control the ball the way she was hitting it, unless she was playing with some newbie pushover, like maybe one of her grandkids. Was just presenting the facts. (Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts – Sargent Friday, Dragnet). But then all of a sudden, I get hit with a savage tirade. I should leave her alone, she says, because she’s only playing for fun and I (me) could never latch on to that concept! Can you believe the ingratitude and the extraordinary brazenness flowing outta this granny? Ah, well. Listen I was only trying to help.
A Weighty Matter
With my Pfizer vaccinations secured a few months back, I felt reassured that I could finally venture out and do some shopping for Ping Pong Parkinson. The Chief (Nenad Bach) had given me an assignment to buy some weights because research strongly suggests that weight training is an important method for targeting the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Okay, so I went into Walmart’s looking for free weights. The greeting guy near the front door pointed to where his co-workers were standing and said you’ll find the dumbbells there. On hearing this, I was offended, and told him it wasn’t nice to say bad things about other people, just because they were stupid. I went over to where those dumbbells were anyway, and asked the one who looked the least dense where I could find the free weights. He looked at me quizzically, and told me straight out that they didn’t have any free weights, that you had to pay for them. That’s what the dumbbell told me, can you believe it? I then took a chance and asked another guy standing next to the first dumbbell guy another challenging question: Could he please tell me where I could find a medicine ball? He told me that as far as he knew, that they had no formal dances at that particular Walmart location.
I was aghast! Look, I know NASA has been looking for intelligent life in our galaxy, but don’t you think it would be prudent if they started their search at a neighborhood Walmart first? I mean, c’mon! Well, anyway, completely disenchanted, I’m headed over to Target to see if they have any resistance bands. I hope they don’t steer me over to their music department. Lao Du
I had just beaten a ping pong player who accused me of cheating 10 times in one game. I told him that these malicious allegations were ridiculous – that I usually only cheat half as many times as he was charging. And what he was saying was even more absurd, I told him, because the truth is I only cheat when I’m losing.
If you really wanna know, I used to have more success cheating when I played tennis. On a tennis court, the opponent is light years away from you and the net will protect you when you call his ball out when it lands on the line. (If the guy is a big bruiser, you’ll have a few seconds head start to run away.) In ping pong, on the other hand, when the ball hits the table you have to be a very nervy liar to call the shot “out”. I mean I’ve done it (less than 5 times in a game, mind you), but it really has to be a low skimming shot to get away with that. (And don’t say the ball was only an inch out. With conviction, say it missed by a mile.)
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