Saturday, November 17, 2007

Satan's Toothpicks

“So, watcha doin’ tonight? Huh? Huh?” I struggled to keep up with FooDaddy’s long stride as he made an amusing pretense of trying to outrun me.

“Nothing much,” he said. “Some friends and I are thinking of going bowling.” He stopped sprinting long enough to glance at me suspiciously. “Why?”

“I thought I could come along, you know, maybe shoot some hoops, score a goal...have fun?”

“Hoops are basketball and a goal is golf,” FooDaddy, a well-known sports expert, corrected. “And I really don’t think...I mean, bowling is really dangerous and not for the novice.”

“I ain’t skeered,” I said. “Come on, lemme come.”

“I’m taking my girlfriend,” FooDaddy said, “and she doesn’t like your hair.”

“I’ll wear a hat.”

“She thinks your voice is annoying.”

“I’ll be quiet. A muzzle, even. Come on, man!”

FooDaddy shook his head slowly, regretfully. “No, I don’t think...”

“I have coupons for a free game.”

* * *

The bowling alley was crowded when FooDaddy and I strode in and made our presence known by simultaneously stumbling into the automatic door. A gaggle of giggling gals watched with interest as we suavely attempted to escape the door.

“Leggo my foot,” I said.

“I’m not holding onto your damn foot,” FooDaddy snarled. “What do you think I am, some kind of pervert?”

“Please don’t make me answer that,” I muttered and gave the gazing gaggle a dazzling grin. “Hello, ladies!”

The gaggle inspected the grin, shuddered, and crumpled it into a nearby wastebasket. Then they all marched off to the bathroom together, presumably to wash their hands. Finally, FooDaddy and I shook ourselves free from the evil door and scrambled to our feet.

“Where are the batting cages?” I asked, looking around in some confusion. “This doesn’t look at all like laser tag.”

FooDaddy sighed, the long, wavering sound seeming to rip from his very soul. “We are here to bowl,” he said, struggling for patience. “You can’t play laser tag here until you’ve made at least three touchdowns.”

“Oh.” I was somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance, but the discomfort was quickly forgotten. “Hey!” I said. “You said you were bringing your girlfriend. Where is she?”

FooDaddy looked suddenly stricken and ran from the building toward the parking lot, yelling something about forgetting to unlock the trunk. He worries me sometimes.

Not knowing how long FooDaddy would be gone, I decided to go ahead and gather my gear. With this plan in mind, I approached the service desk.

“Can I help you?” The young female employee was young and female and I just happen to be very good with young, female peoples.

“Why, yes,” I said, raising an eyebrow suggestively. “I’m a world-famous bowler, but I seem to have forgotten my...gear in my hotel room, so I’ll need to borrow some. I have a coupon.”

“You’re a professional bowler, but you use coupons?”

Oddly, the young female didn’t seem impressed by my obvious street savvy. I smiled manfully, but held back a little so as not to melt the young female’s knees. “Unless you give pros complimentary games.”

“Uh, no.”

“Oh. Well, then I guess I’ll need to rent some gear.”

“Okay. What size shoes do you need?”

“No shoes. I’m just here to bowl.”

The young female rolled her eyes, glanced at my feet, and handed me a pair of rather unstylish and fuzzy shoes. “Here,” she said. “You’ve got weird feet, but these should do. Now, please leave me, because you’ve got really weird hair, too.”

I walked away, grinning. The little vixen obviously had a thing for me. Poor lass. Her heart was destined for breakage.

Just as I was leaving the counter, FooDaddy and FooGirl walked in. FooGirl looked a little peeved, or so it seemed from the way she kept attempting to beat FooDaddy with a tire iron. He dodged the flurry of blows and laughed.

“Isn’t she adorable?” he asked, running to and fro to escape FooGirl’s onslaught, while procuring his bowling shoes.

“Yeah,” I said. “Nothing like blunt trauma to spice things up. You guys ready to roll some pucks?”

They were and we made our way to the nearest open lane. We put on our unsanitary shoes and then FooDaddy explained some of the finer points of bowling to me.

“First,” he said, holding his bowling ball at arm’s length, “you need to choose a bowling ball that’s not too heavy. Otherwise, you’ll end up...&*#@!”

“Dropping it your foot?” I ventured.

“You’re a natural. Second, the little wooden things at the end of the lane are called pins or, as we like to refer to them in the bowling business, ‘Satan’s Toothpicks.’ And that’s pretty much all there is to it.”

FooDaddy and FooGirl both went before me, as I was intent on observing their technique, so as better to devise a method of victory. I had to smother laughter as first FooDaddy and then FooGirl shot their baskets. Both of them hit some pins! And I thought they were good at this game. When it was my turn, I hefted my bowling ball. This game was mine, baby! I drew back and let it fly.

There was a moment of silence and then FooDaddy cleared his throat. “Uh...why did you throw your bowling ball over your shoulder?”

“It’s my secret technique,” I said, standing smugly with my heels together, my toes pointed out, and my hands clasped behind my back. “What better way to avoid hitting the Toothpicks than to throw the ball in the opposite direction?”

FooGirl looked at me in disgust, with perhaps a hint of pity. “You’re supposed to hit the Toothpicks,” she said. “You want to hit as many as possible. If you hit them all, it’s a strike.”

I shook my head in amazement. “Geez, everybody’s got a union these days!”

“No, it’s...” FooDaddy gave up. “Just try again.”

Somewhat abashed, I retrieved my bowling ball. Pausing to perform an ancient Native American bowling ritual, I drew back the ball and let it fly.

The pins scattered like driftwood being hit by a UFO landing for repairs. I mean, dude, they just went “bammo!”

Again, there was silence. I stood there, basking in the glory of my amazing shot. I turned to FooDaddy and executed an unsightly victory dance. I felt a little bad about that later. After all, the dance had never done anything to me.

“How about that?” I asked. “Pretty amazing goal, huh?”

“Yes, it was,” he said, “but you’re supposed to shoot for the pins in our lane, not the ones three lanes down.”

“You know I hate rules,” I said, turning away. No one was going to pour frozen molasses on my victory. Not unless they had waffles.


Anonymous said...

This is great. When you going to take me bowling? Huh? Huh? I want to go. I bet I could even get a home run.

Anonymous said...

I think you've invented a new game, possibly a series of games, all perverse, which I shall provisionally call bowlball. You may have invented gagball, spoonball and punball as well-- we'll know once we've examined the wreckage.

One of the best posts you've done. Messrs. Laurel and Hardy would've approved.

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

I must agree with The Father--this is one of my favorite TSB posts!

I ain't skeered, is my favorite line, although the dialog in this piece is great throughout.

FooGirl resents being in the trunk, but she realizes that it's just the kind of absent-minded moron thing I'd do.

And for questioning my logic and calling me a moron, she has to ride in the glovebox next time.

We should go bowling again soon!

Anonymous said...

YOU GUYS AND YOUR THREE HOLED TOYS!!!! NO WONDER YOU GUYS LOVE BOWLING?!? anywho... most interesting experience with bowling there... about as good as some guy trying to luge himself down the alley... that could be a sport too.
Tire Iron Croquete anyone?

Jacob Nordby said...

OK, I call a hiatus to all of this janefluffery until you go watch The Big Lebowski. You alls think you got the game of bowling down, but you ain't.

Seriously, if you haven't watched The Big Lebowski, then it's way past time and the Great Cosmic Bowling Pin hisself is mightily displeased.

I guarantee you that your cussing index will increase almost exponentially after seeing this film--as will your desire for White Russians and carpet pissing.

Y'all get off yer flabbishnesses and rent it, y'all hear?