Saturday, April 26, 2014
A Triple Threat
Reading some other blogs lately has got me wondering how much we should talk about the personal stuff in our lives, at the risk of going on and on about things that are important to us but not at all interesting to anyone else, like the boring guy at the party who buttonholes you in the corner and won't let you get away.
So I don't want to bore everyone by telling you how I've cleaned out my basement recently, partly because I haven't cleaned out my basement recently, or by showing you what a wonderful place my garden is, partly because my garden is choked with weeds and ravaged by the raccoons, deer, rabbits and groundhogs that really own this place. (But I do, strangely, get vicarious pleasure out of seeing photos of other people's lush, beautiful gardens, because the only green I get over here is green with envy.)
But . . . I do want to boast (in all modesty) that: I am a triple threat.
A triple threat, as defined by Merriam Webster, is: "1) a football player adept at running, kicking, and passing; or 2) a person adept in three different fields of activity."
I do not play football. I tried a bit when I was around 14; and it didn't work out. But I am adept in three different fields of activity:
1) I play golf. I learned as a kid. I didn't play much for 20 or 30 years while I was working and had kids to raise; but now as a retiree I've taken up the sport again. It's a great way to spend some time outdoors . . . while someone else mows the grass, trims the bushes and cuts down the dead trees.
As I told DJan, the intrepid hiker from the Northwest, yesterday in response to her post To the Boardwalk and Pine Lake: "I also took a walk today. Across a beautiful green carpet above the Hudson River on a sunny day in the high 50s, chasing a little white ball through the budding trees. Yes, you guessed it: golf!"
2) I play table tennis. Again, it was an activity I took up during my misspent youth. From about age 10 to 13, I played every day after school in my friend's basement, bashing a ball back and forth behind his dad's workbench, among the pipes and power equipment stored there. Later, as an adult, I always wanted a Ping Pong table in my basement, and finally, when I moved in with B in 2007, we got one.
I played with our kids until they moved out. Then I joined a table tennis club owned and run by -- this might surprise you -- a fellow named Will Shortz, who is also the crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times. (By the way, in addition to being a crossword impresario, Shortz is also an excellent table tennis player, and an all around nice guy.) A bit of trivia: Do not call it Ping Pong. It's called table tennis. You do not use a paddle. It's called a bat. And the person who plays -- he's called a ponger.
3) I dance. I remember, when I first met B, I warned her that I like to play golf on weekends and so I probably wouldn't be hanging around with her on Sundays. "Oh, that's okay," she replied with a visible sigh of relief. "I have plenty of things to do for myself on Sundays."
But she did insist that we do something together, and that something is ballroom dancing. As I told Bob Lowry, in response to his post I Am About to Turn 65: Am I Age Appropriate? "When I was a kid, my mother forced me to go to dancing school. I hated it. I was self-conscious, shy around girls, awkward and sweaty. Then, in my 60s, my wife forced me to take up dancing lessons. And now I love it! Why? Because it's age-appropriate -- while I'm still plenty awkward, I am no longer self-conscious and therefore not too sweaty or shy. Also, it's good exercise; makes for a fun evening; and you meet some great people. The only thing . . . dancing can sometimes be hard on aging knees."
So there you have it. I'm a triple threat. Just don't ask me to tend your garden, because for whatever inexplicable reason, when I start digging around in the dirt the flowers wither and the weeds take over.