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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!

Bowling Overtime

For the second week in a row, my Friday post is scandalously late. And for the second week in a row, an office ‘holiday party’ was to blame.

Look, people. It’s the mid-twenties of January here. The holidays are over, capisce? Just because some ad wang decided that the holiday season starts at Halloween doesn’t mean that it ends in fricking March. Santa Claus and the St. Patty’s Day leprechaun no mixy, all right? Holidays over. Now.

On the other hand, our outing last night was a wonderful chance to go out, have a few drinks and embarrass yourself in front of the people that you work with every day. And who wouldn’t want that, eh? Bully for us.

” It’s not something I’m proud of, but yes, back in the day, I put on the clown shoes and the special glove and flung my balls around in the back of an alley.”

I dodged a bullet when the party arranger mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she was thinking of ice skating as the activity to rally around for the event. That was just an EMT call waiting to happen — at least for me. I’ve never ice skated before, but from what I know of my coordination, balance and ability to stand upright on two thin metal blades, it wouldn’t have ended well. At a minimum, I could see a sprained ankle or two, plus a slashed Achilles tendon and a multiple forehead bruises from the ice. Best case scenario, all those body parts would actually be mine — but I wouldn’t make any promises. I’m not afraid to take other people down with me in a pinch.

So it was probably safest for everyone that I gently steered her toward a different activity for the evening. Something less prone to maiming, perhaps. ‘Sure,‘ she said. ‘Let’s all go bowling.

I’m not sure how one goes directly from ‘ice skating’ to ‘bowling’ without missing a beat, but that’s what she did. I thought maybe she’d consider skiing or biking or a brisk row down the Charles River before she moved on to a fat old man sport like bowling. You might as well send us out for a round of pub darts, or an afternoon of competitive Barcalounging. Seriously, bowling? Who bowls, anyway?

Okay, fine. I bowl. Or used to. It’s not something I’m proud of, but yes, back in the day, I put on the clown shoes and the special glove and flung my balls around in the back of an alley. And any sport whose description sounds like Michael Jackson on a secret Thai vacation just can’t be good. At all.

So let me be clear. Yes, I misspent a few of my teen years bowling in a local youth league. But I did not own a single bowling shirt, nor my own ball, nor a pair of those godforsaken patchwork shoes.

(Why in the hell do those things have to be so ugly, anyway? The only important part is the sole, so they don’t scuff up the alley floors. What was the point of picking three colors that clash more or less completely and making the top halves look like something Picasso painted on an acid trip? Are they just punishing people for choosing to bowl? Could be a natural selection sort of thing. It’s a theory.)

And so, last night we bowled. And I found that I wasn’t a whole lot better or worse than what I recall from twenty-something years ago. When you get down to it, I guess bowling is a lot like riding a bike. Only with one wheel, and it’s a full sphere instead of just a circle. Also, you never go anywhere.

Okay, so maybe bowling’s more like riding a unicycle designed by those Dyson vacuum cleaner people on a stationary treadmill: once you learn how, you never forget. That’s how the saying ought to go, really. If you think about it.

Anyway, I’ve now attended a bowling party and emerged without grievous injury, save a small blister on my thumb and whatever permanent damage those greasy bowling alley fries are doing to my GI tract right now. But isn’t losing a little skin and a few feet of your colon worth it to toss a couple strikes and pick up a 3-10 split?

No. Probably not. How about we just pretend I never brought it up, and we never speak of it again? Sound peachy?

And dammit, stop making fun of my shoes.

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