Monday, September 20, 2010

Mother Of Invention

I've repeatedly observed that in the absence of cable tv or especially reliable internet access, there is an entertainment vacuum of sorts for my roommate and I. When the things we can do hold little appeal, we tend to make our own fun. I remember doing that when I was a little boy. I hadn't gotten into the habit of watching television- we didn't have cable, and it's to the credit of my parents that they did not exactly work assiduously to get us started on it. Eventually we did get cable, but until then my sister and I playacted and invented games that depended on no more equipment and facilities than a cardboard box and a disused room in the house.

That kind of imaginative play has come to the rescue on occasion in times of dire crisis- when I've been working, and could not do what I wanted to entertain myself out of some sense of propriety, it was time to make a game from the materials on hand. The swelling of one's pride that comes from such inventiveness often outweighs the sense of pathos that comes from such desperation. Actually though, there's nothing to be embarrassed about when one is merely following in the revered footsteps of Calvin and Hobbes. I only hope to someday make such a lasting contribution to mankind as Calvinball. We have here at our place a golf club. If I understand correctly, it's a putting wedge. Maybe it's a sand wedge, though. I really don't know. It's not a driver, I'm pretty sure of that. Obviously we don't have a putting green to make use of, and if we're honest with ourselves then we openly admit we're never actually setting foot on a real course. We don't even have a ball. I figure really we ought to have several of those. I envision us doing that complacent business exec thing of putting balls into a mug, but we just don't have those resources.

What we have is a baseball and an empty paper Starbucks cup. I think it is just a 'Tall' cup. The game remains in flux, but it can be defined with substantial accuracy in this way: You putt the baseball from just across the line that divides the kitchen linoleum and the hard wood of the living room. The ball must traverse that ridge and reach the cup, which is situated at the far end of the kitchen in front of the cabinet beneath the sink. If the ball makes contact with the wall at any point, it's a disqualification. So long as you do not do that, you score points by getting the ball to touch or knock down the cup. It's a gentleman's game of grace and elegance. It take a deft touch and a stout heart. Brute force is of no avail, which is good, as I lack that. Regretfully, I also lack the deft touch, in addition to the deft touch, the stout heart and any gentlemanly qualities. I'm grateful that I'm as yet only in competition with one person.

The game marks our occasional boredom, but also our keen sense of imagination and creativity. I feel thankful that I have wound up with the roommate I have presently. Our daily conversations here at the apartment have consistently generated characters and premises which at the very least amuse us, and which hold the potential to develop into something more if we stay with them. It's my hope that the time I spend here will be unusually fruitful. Might our living arrangement someday be considered alongside that of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, or other pairings of men made before their respective days in the sun had come? I won't wager on it, but I always like to put things out there that look prescient down the line.

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