LD: I think I saw a polar bear this morning. It may have been my neighbor in his pajamas – I only caught a glimpse.
Ed: That reminds me of certain people who just insist on believing in ludicrous conspiracy theories. Are you, perhaps, one of those types?
LD: No way!
Ed: But I heard you blame a recent ping pong loss on solar eruptions just a few days ago.
LD: Well …
Ed: And why were you wearing a helmet and a face shield while playing? Does it have to do with your previous claims that certain players at the club are cooperating with extraterrestrial visitors that are looking to abduct you?
L.D. No, no, no! I was wearing that stuff because I was afraid this guy was gonna throw his racket. He’s been known to do that.
Ed. Okay, that at least makes sense. But you were telling everybody that the racket thrower guy beat you because he magnetized the balls and was using supersonic speed glue. Didn’t you say that?
Ed. Yeah, I mighta said that. But, look, ghosts and spirits come to visit the world we live in – I’m not the only one saying this. No, millions of Chinese agree with me … that the gates of hell are gonna open and chaos will prevail during the summer. I didn’t make that up. It just explains why I’m losing at this time of the year, is all.
Ed: Losing is obviously especially galling to you. So is there a way to avoid these hellish ping pong losses?
L.D. Yeah, I have my ways to insure victory, but I’m reluctant to tell you because you’re always so harsh with your criticisms.
Ed. Okay, tell you what we’ll do. I’ll let you detail your various methods for winning, as long as you can explain it so that everybody can share in your brilliance.
L.D. Thank you. ‘Bout time I got some cooperation ‘round here. I’ll make it simple with a list. These will benefit everybody. These will be measures all players can take to assure and secure the illusive Big “W”.
First and foremost, don’t cry after you lose – that’s a waste of time - cry during the match. Yeah, if you’re a chronic loser, or maybe you’re even an incompetent when it comes to sports, there is still a recipe you can follow for success. For example, you could try to inspire some compassion – to squeeze some humanity out of your opponent. That way, if the guy has an ounce of empathy and kindness, he’ll play a little less intensely so that you can win a few points and feel better. Then, when the match gets close, you can stop crying and kill the stupid shmuck.
Next: Get a whole bunch of your friends to sit next to where you’re playing. Now since your opponent is much better than you, there will be a natural inclination for all these people to favor you, which helps somewhat. Gives you the hometown advantage, plus understand the psychodynamics behind all of this: Most people root for the underdog, and you, based on your inferior skills, are the obvious underdog. Hey, I always root for the underdog. I was rooting for the whale in Moby Dick.
Next: Try this tack: Intimidate your opponent. If you can’t beat him with good ping pong shots, than at least make him fearful by carrying a 9mm holstered by your side. A couple of grenades tied to your belt can help, too. Better yet, carry a bandolier. Hang it around your neck, and make yourself look like a sinister and threatening bandido. Like maybe Pancho Villa, or Tuco (Eli Wallach) in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. And don’t forget to practice your sneer in front of a mirror before starting the match.
Now, you may object to these tactics, citing some ethical principles. You know what I say to that: Ethics, Shmesh-ics! And frick fairness and respect, too, while you’re at it. Frick all of that. Remember, Bunky, you want to tell your diary that you WON! C’mon! You don’t want to be a perpetual loser, do ya? And let’s face it, you may lack the requisite physical and mental skills in order to win. Remember, you aint that good, buddy, but don’t worry – you can still win.
Alright, try this one. Hire a call girl with some … let’s call them assets, to sit next to the ping pong table, and have her shed her clothes gradually. It’s distraction a la Sharon Stone when she crossed her legs in Basic Instinct (1992 movie). Remember that one? Try it. I’m tellin’ ya, it works.
You can also use illegal equipment – no one will know. Speed glue! Smear it on like cream cheese on a bagel. I’m not gonna tell anybody.
Hipnotize the guy before you start playing. If you don’t know how to hypnotize someone, then hire a guy to do it.
Wear light reflective jewelry around your neck. Diamonds, big ones, are best – the kind that Elizabeth Taylor might have worn. If ya can’t get her’s, borrow the Hope Diamond. Cost you a few sheckels, but it’ll be worth it, trust me, because you can’t put a price tag on Victory, pal.
Play with a white shirt. The palooka across the table won’t be able to see the ball.
Offer your opponent some raw oysters for free before the match begins. Make sure that these seashore delicacies are not cooked and that you don’t wash your hands after taking a dump in the john.
This, too: Don’t give up. Don’t Ever Give Up, but – and this is important - make the guy believe you’re giving up. Ya, see, he’ll change his game thinking he’s already won.
Look, if worse comes to worse, you can always try bribery. This will work if your opponent is bribable (duh!). I mean he’s most likely corrupt, anyway, so you’re not creating a monster – he was already created. C’mon, when it comes to winning, there is no code of ethics (at least, not for most winners). And bribery is respectable (mostly by those who receive it). So, just forget about honor and dignity for awhile. That’s your basic tomfoolery! It’s senseless. You wanna win or not?
Lastly, throw a ball back in disgust. Or throw your racket. Or, much better than those, just throw up. That’s right! Throw up, because your opponent might default if you disgorge enough. Just remember this above all else: A little projectile vomiting can go a long way!!
Ed: Did you get that line from Confucius?
Lao Du: No, my gastroenterologist.