Several members of our group have inquired about how music is chosen for the final segment of our Wednesday sessions. Up until this time, this matter has been kept under wraps, but a full disclosure decision has been adopted by the Board in order to combat any distrust and lack of confidence in this decision-making process.
The Ping Pong Parkinson Musicology Committee (PPPMC) is composed of 5 members appointed for life (like the Supreme Court) by the PPP Board. They meet on a monthly basis at a secret location, at which time they select all the songs to be sung by PPP for the following month (for all of our national and international affiliates).
All five members, with one exception, have notable musical resumes, are highly esteemed and are preeminent in their respective fields of music. Though we maintain their anonymity, suffice to say that two committee members begin their names with “Sir,” and two others are well known to the public relating to their musical achievements (TV and concerts). The fifth …. the fifth got his regrettable appointment due to nepotism, as he had befriended the PPP founder and president (NB), and begged him for the position on the Committee. (He bolstered his chances at getting selected, by consenting to donate some empty soup cans to be used for drumming, which amounted to a shameless, bold-faced bribe.)
I have vitreous floaters – an age-related thing that permits me to see bugs, one-eyed monsters and balls zipping (flashing) around in my vision. These are not hallucinations – it’s all real – although when people see me swatting invisible bees and flies and, yes, ping pong balls, they might think I was an off the rocker Dr. Strangelove slapping myself. (But I can assure you, my precious bodily fluids are pure). It’s another handicap I don’t need, because now I have to hit the regular ping pong ball, and then take a swipe at a ‘virtual’ ball that only I can see to get it outta the way, while my lucky opponent only has to hit one sphere at a time. That’s not fair; I should get two points every time I score a regular point. (Ah, forget it – these pampered millennials I play with will never go for it.)
They say that “improving your lifestyle” can mitigate the problem of floaters. To me, that means winning more often at ping pong. But how can I win when all these things are flying around in front of me? I’m greeted with fantastical goblins on a daily basis. It’s worse than a Disney ghoulish cartoon meant to scare little kiddies.
The CDC just announced that you don’t have to wear a mask. Of course, this is not all good news, as this makes it much harder to pull a stickup at your neighborhood Seven Eleven. It also means I’ll have to shave more often, fix my teeth and cut my nose hairs. Jeese, I dunno – I was starting to get used to all of the mask advantages. And I was kinda feeling like the Lone Ranger, too – you know, like being a legendary kind of guy. People were saying: Who was that masked man? as I disappeared into the sunset. Now I’m not afforded that respectability. Worse than that, people can see me crying when I lose playing ping pong. I really hate that, so please, CDC, at least let us rejoice about defeating Covid-19 by proclaiming a … masquerade party. I’ll wear my elegant black Hanes mask. Please, let me pretend to be Zorro for just a little longer. Lao Du
Editor: Although the CDC has changed its guidelines and no longer requires masks in any venues, Ping Pong Parkinson will follow the New York State directive, which still mandates wearing masks indoors.
I’ve got a frozen shoulder. Naturally, there are some wannabe doctors wandering through our ranks at the ping pong club, and advice is freely offered (if not well received). So, one guy in particular (not to be named – “this story is true but the names have been changed to protect the innocent”) comes over to me and says that I have to put ice on it in the form of a bag of frozen peas. That sounded totally ludicrous to me, because frozen broccoli should work, too, right? And I only buy frozen broccoli – you know, the Birds Eye broccoli florets. But this frozen vegetable expert, Pea Brain (this is not his real name, by the way), insisted on only ice peas. I kind of rebuffed him with this: Thanks for your help, but I don’t need any ice – my shoulder is already frozen!
The guy this pea-brained doofus was playing ping pong with, his equal as an unrestrained unqualified medical advisor (a boastful buffoon), asserted unflinchingly that I needed heat, not ice. I sent him packing with this: Thanks, but the cops are already after me, I don’t need any more heat! (Ed. total flapdoodle/screwy-hooey).
There’s a guy in the side room at the club who hogs the robot machine. This guy, Robot Man (Gort?), doesn’t play with hominids – he only plays against the robot. Day in, day out, always with the robot. So, I asked this guy, doesn’t it get boring only playing against a machine spitting balls at you the same way 30 to 50 times a minute? And ya know what he said? He said, Absolutely not! And I love her. Yes! He said her anthropomorphically. Apparently he thinks the robot machine is alive … and that he has a romantic relationship with it. Scary! It’s freaking me out.
When I went into that room to retrieve a ball that had accidentally gotten beyond the barrier curtains of my table the other day, he was in there, of course, and I overheard him talking out loud. He was talking to the machine, can you believe it! And what he said was stupefying. He said nice shot! Are you hearing this? He said nice shot to a ping pong robot after he missed a ball fired at his back hand. And then I heard him say too good (!) when another ball went flying past him on the forehand side. (Apparently the guy had the machine on the random mode.) Now, I didn’t stick around to see if he kissed or hugged the head of this ball-chucking contraption, but I wouldn’t put it passed this nut to do it.
Here’s the source of the difficulty, the crux of the matter: the Robot Man just won’t relinquish the use of the table. He monopolizes it. That’s a real problem for Ping Pong Parkinson, because our members enjoy using the robot as one of the rotating stations during the main ping pong segment of our sessions. If Gort is practicing his flick – or, possibly, making love to the apparatus – it’s impossible to get in there and practice. So, I have counseled our group to recite these secret words which should work to have him vacate the machine for a while: “Klaatu Barada Nikto,” (It’s robotspeak.) If that incantation doesn’t work, I’ve instructed our ‘Pongers’ to get a bat, a golf club or a sword or a nightstick, and go in there and threaten this guy to vamoose for a half hour. And I’ve also instructed the group to be sure not to tell Robot Man that I sent them in there with all those weapons, because … well, I can’t run that fast anymore. I mean that guy is spooky! And if he finds out that I was saying bad things about his girlfriend (that she don’t kiss too good) somethin’ awful might happen to me. Lao Du