I just saw this article from Scientific Reports which headlined: “Neanderthals may have used their hands differently from humans.” As an ardent ping pong player, this aroused my curiosity as to how the Neanderthals may have held their rackets when they played our game. But there was no answer to this question in the article. They just wasted the space by talking about what kind of hand shakes Neanderthals had. I would have preferred to know what kind of milkshakes. But, never mind, the thing of it is, I had written about prehistoric table tennis in this blog previously, and since the Neanderthals lived for 350,00 years, I thought they deserved another look-see and a few more paragraphs as it related to these pertinent ping pong matters. (And screw the article’s report on the “trapeziometacarpal complex”, the shape of their ‘hand bones.’ Okay, so they had meatier hands than us and could squeeze the life out of you. Thanks for telling us what we already knew.)
I just read a synopsis of Michael J. Fox’s latest memoir, “No Time Like The Future,” and it reminded me once again not to have the nerve to complain about … anything! This man, who founded an organization to end Parkinson’s Disease through medical research, is a model of courage. He has an indomitable spirit, stoically refusing to be vanquished by his afflictions, though acknowledging their heavy toll. And, unfortunately, adversity keeps knocking on his door. Besides coping with PD since the age of 29 (early onset PD), he has been beset with other medical calamities, including a spinal cord tumor and a fall with a very badly fractured arm which left him wheelchair bound. And, yet, he manages to maintain a form of resiliency which allows him to cope and retain a spark of optimism. I think that most mortals would succumb to these disastrous challenges (I would, for sure), but his finding solace in his wife, family and friends, and some activities sends a positive message. It is a message of Hope – that in the end medical science will prevail and snuff out the suffering.
When we get battered by persistent misfortune, it’s hard to gather up psychological defenses to stave off impending doom and destruction. But, eventually relief can come. One has to try and keep the faith – to hang in there. Think about the WWII Battle of The Bulge. This was the largest and most costly of the battles involving Americans in the war. In mid-December, 1944, things were looking bad – really bad- but reinforcements eventually arrived and a month later, although suffering thousands of casualties, the American troops turned it all around and began to march in the right direction (toward Germany).
At this time, there is as yet no cure for Parkinson’s. And there may not be the equivalent imminent offing of relief for PD by a George S. Patton leading a Third Army who relieved our encircled soldiers at Bastogne. Nevertheless, we should be heartened by the massive efforts being undertaken by research scientists (e.g., at the National Institute of Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) who have made some important strides. And given how successful and speedy was the development of the Covid vaccines, I think it’s not overly polyannish to expect that positive developments in PD will be forthcoming, as well.
I was being beaten really bad. Nary a point for me towards the end of the game. Now I consider that a case of depraved indifference. The guy who is depraved, you should understand, is the guy doing the whipping (i.e., not me). Don’t confuse that person with the guy stinkin’ up the joint (eh, that would be me). C’mon, getting beaten 10-0 and on the way to a schneid (= losing without a point), you shouldn’t do that to another human being. Give ‘em at least a mercy point, some kind of consolation prize to leave with (like they do on the TV game shows). Let the loser at least preserve some small amount of dignity … so that he doesn’t go home and kick his dog, yell at his kids and beat up on his wife. You don’t want that on your conscience, do ya? We should be aware of the poor bastard’s suffering, and we should be sympathetic and compassionate before the final kill shot crushes his belief in man’s (and woman’s) righteousness.
In order to save the world from moral turpitude – in other words, to save the human race and prevent its descent into total moral bankruptcy – we have to inhibit our own inhumane impulses and provide the poor pudding head on the other side of the ping pong table, whom your dismembering with your loop kill smashes, with a frickin’ mercy point … which is a run on sentence but I don’t care, because it’s the right thing to do. Period.
“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” That’s from the Bible somewhere. Lao Du