Since we don’t have Super Bowl tickets, we decided to do the next best thing, and go bowling. I haven’t been bowling in years, and I remember it to be good, harmless fun. The kind of harmless fun that always involves me whacking myself with a fourteen-pound bowling ball in my one good knee.

We hit the lanes with Paul and Krista, and queue up to change into our bowling shoes. I was a little nervous following the guy who bowled before me, because I had pretty big shoes to fill. In order to prevent the possibility of infection, the guy behind the counter sprays something into my footwear, but it might have been Pam. Just to be safe he sprays some into my mouth, since I have an infectious laugh. I have to leave one of my own sneakers at the counter to deter me from walking away with the bowling shoes.

By the way, bowling shoes are SO comfortable that I toy with the idea walking away with them and leaving my sneaker. I could go bowling twice, wearing one good sneaker and one bad sneaker, and each time I could leave the bad sneaker, and then I’d have two good sneakers and two pairs of bowling shoes. My wife notices me trying to think and yanks me away from the counter. 

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Then I go to look for the perfect ball. The key with me is not the weight of the ball, or even if I can get my fingers into the holes, but rather, if I can get them back out. I don’t want to end up like Mary Tyler Moore, who, no matter what show she was starring in, always managed to get some part of her body stuck in a bowling ball. Even if she was in a documentary about the end of the world she could find some way to get stuck in a bowling ball.

What size hole do I take? I have no idea. I think I wear a size 7 glove, or is that my hat? I wanted a lighter bowling ball so I could try to hit the pins on the fly, or in case I accidentally whack it against my knee, but the light ball had smaller holes, and I could only fit one little finger from each hand into it. Plus it was pink.

You can request gutter guards if you forgot to bring your glasses. Paul kept hitting the gutter so hard that the ball rolled back out and hit more pins than when he rolled it straight. I was wondering if the gutter guards would be armed.

This is something that happened about 800 times: I rolled the ball EXACTLY in the middle of the lane, and it struck the front pin EXACTLY in the middle, and all the pins fell like they were supposed to, except for one in the back which teetered and tottered like a drunk during a D.W.I. test. Except unlike the drunk, this one didn’t fall down, defying the laws of gravity and physics. I hope that pin gets sick in the car on the way home, then gets arrested for D.W.I. and breaking the two laws.

I can never figure out the scoring. If you throw a strike or a spare, you don’t know what the score is until three or four frames later. If you do something REALLY good you may not find out about it for days. Luckily a screen keeps score automatically, and a little cartoon character lets you know you got a strike, if you didn’t happen to notice it yourself. If you left a few pins standing, the screen offers advice on where to bowl the next ball. In my case, it suggested two towns away.

For once I got through the evening without banging the ball into my leg, but my back still hurts from applying excessive body English to all my rolls. Apparently I speak passable English but my body does not.

Say hello at rlife8@hotmail.com. And join Rick and the Trashcan Poets tonight at Darien Social on Center Street.