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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Of Gutters, Greg and Getting Off the Couch

At nine o’clock last night, I was sitting happily — and somewhat sleepily — on my couch. Drinking a beer. Watching TV. Rocking the footie pajama slankie.

(Not really. But it’s a nice mental image, no?)

That was nine PM, and my basically my plan for the rest of the evening. Maybe a bathroom break or a trip to the fridge for another beer, but otherwise, the goal was to remain as motionless as humanly possible.

Then I checked my email. And based on what I found there, several events then transpired — including two which I’d never experienced before. Specifically:

– I drank beer from a big two-handle trophy.

– I answered to — and signed my name as — ‘Greg’.

These things are related. To each other — but not to the sleepy night on the couch I thought I was having. The difference, as it so often is, was bowling.

I know, right? We’ve all been there. Big, bad bowling.

(Oh, laugh if you want. I drank beer from a trophy last night. What was in your smartass sippy cup, eh, sparky?)

“Nobody wants to see bowling without shirts. That’s just fat topless guys on hardwood.”

You may by now have pieced together the general flow of the late evening hours — that I received an email inviting me to help out in a bowling league championship match, that I couldn’t pass it up (slankie or no), that our team won, and that we celebrated by dumping a pitcher of beer in the ‘spoils of bowl’ and passing it around the circle for gulps.

(Wow. You’re a regular Sherlock Holmes over there. Next you’ll tell me what size bowling shoes I wore. Nice going, Columbo.)

All of the above is accurate. The email came from a guy I bowled with last winter. Although you can’t really call that ‘official’ bowling, since we didn’t get the shirts.

(I mean, we wore shirts, of course. Nobody wants to see bowling without shirts. That’s just fat topless guys on hardwood. It’s like sumo wrestling on a basketball court, only with more balls.

(That’s ‘more balls’ than a basketball game. Although for that matter, it’s probably more balls than sumo wrestling, too, by fifty percent. Give or take.

(No. You don’t want to think too hard about that one. Trust me.)))

Anyway, it was a hell of a time. Two matches, and the second — the true championship — went down to the wire. I didn’t have the high game on our team, but I did bowl last — and going into the final frame, I knew it was close. Very close.

Luckily, we weren’t important enough to have up-to-the-second fancy scores tallied, or I might have known that I needed fourteen pins in my last frame — our whole team’s last frame — to tie the other team. With that knowledge in hand, I’m perfectly capable of throwing two consecutive gutter balls, or stepping over the foul line, or tripping over a shoelace and sucking a faceful of bowling lane.

But I didn’t know. And blissful in my ignorance, I mowed down nine pins, then picked up the spare, and knocked down nine more. Nineteen pins total, and a team win by five. Heady stuff, though I was far from the top contributor overall. I just had my balls in the right place at the right time. So to speak.

Though actually, “I” didn’t. I was filling in, at the very last minute, so I wasn’t me at all. I was “Greg”. Which Greg, I don’t know — Kinnear, Luzinski, Brady, who knows? They never told me. They just told me to answer to Greg — and when I signed the commemorative championship pin, “I” didn’t sign it. “Greg” did. And “Greg” enjoyed the hell out of the trophy beer swilling, too. It was a fitting culmination to all of the hard work and sweat and dedication that the team — “Greg” and all his crazy buddies — put in over a long and arduous season.

Also, it got me out of my slankie. And I could still drink beer. This time, out of a large metal trophy. So it was a good night. For me — and for “Greg”, apparently. Good times.

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