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Ping Pong Axiom: Given two intermediate or beginning level players of relatively equal skill, the least impulsive player will be the victor most of the time.
Corollary to the above axiom: The oblivious lamebrain who doesn’t do what Lao Du says, will end up crawling back under his rock with his tail between his legs.
I have lived among table tennis players for some time now. I have seen them up close and have learned of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. And all this has not improved my considered opinion that they are mostly techno freaks interested in only speed and spin. They rush to go for the kill shot and are unappreciative – even disdainful – of executing an ordinary conventional shot which simply keeps the ball in play and is usually the prudent choice. Almost all of these foolish people tend to be impulsive and impetuous and, frankly, it resounds with madness. This is especially breathtaking and dumbfounding considering that the players subscribing to this folly are actually intelligent people …when they are not next to a ping pong table, that is.
Editor: What about you Lao Du? You’re not impulsive? Didn’t you once marry a woman who would have ordered her lawyers to perform a sex change operation on you if you hadn’t forked over that house in Scarsdale to her? Huh?
Lao Du: Okay, okay, but let’s try not to get this personal, alright? So I admit my brain wasn’t engaged that time, but it’s different with ping pong now. I learned my lesson. I’m not taking out any new loans for any more diamond rings just because some broad whispers sweet things into my ears these days.
Editor: Really? Why is that?
Lao Du: Because my hearing stinks.
I gotta win. I mean I still feel like I’m 15, and want to kill the guy on the other side of the net. I know this is not necessarily healthy (or nice), but the juices within still propel me to be relentless in my desire to take no prisoners in pursuit of illusive ‘victories’ at this time. But… (there’s always a but), I just can’t win anymore like I used to. My arthritic joints are killing me, and my reflexes are … I don’t think I have any reflexes. Yeah, my body is fallin’ apart, so what should I do? A quandary.
Well, after deep contemplation, I have come up with some new options. This is for myself. (Editor: And for any other aging, megalomaniacal has-beens, who find themselves similarly situated and deeply distressed by such grim circumstances.) In previous blogs I have come up with some handy excuses you can use (the sun got in my eyes, electromagnetic radiation), and those are okay and all – but … they’re really not satisfactory in the long run, because an ‘excuse’ for losing doesn’t put you in the winner’s circle. And, remember, we’re still reaching for the brass ring. That’s our objective. Let’s face it, we really haven’t quite come to grips with losing, as yet. Alright, so here’s what I’ve come up with: CHEAT!
Don’t be shocked. Cheating, lying – all these professional sports guys do it. The Green Bay quarterback, Rodgers, lied his head off recently about vaccinations. So did that joker playing tennis, the one they’re calling No-Vax Djokovic. But it’s not just the present-day millionaire and billionaire sports guys doing this. Remember Rosie Ruiz? She’s the broad who won the Boston Marathon back in the 80’s – excerpt she didn’t really win. She kinda just entered the 26 mile, 385 yard marathon at around the 26 mile mark (she only ran the last half mile in Boston, and she also took the subway for a ride before finishing a marathon in N.Y.). And Pete Rose lied about gambling. And Lance Armstrong used forbidden drugs (lied about it, too). So did Roger and Sammy (Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa).
Now all of these bums lied and, by doing so, hurt others – not just themselves. My proposed method is only meant for use by us small potatoes out for just another moment in the sun, not for a financial reward. We’re not gonna hurt anybody in the pocket and, get this – we’ll admit we made a mistake right away (without coaxing). It’s a little devious, sure – but it has an honest flavor to it – don’t ya think? (Editor: No!)
Okay, so you’re wondering how to do this. Here’s how. But first, before we go any further, I must warn you and emphasize that cheating in ping pong is an art form, but it’s extremely challenging and problematic. You can place yourself in dire peril, because it’s generally not in keeping with acceptable standards to call a ball which lands on the table “out” (your opponent can become upset and he may call the cops – or he may just get a bat and bop you over the head). So since you can’t really get away with that, your cheating has to be focused on the score. That’s right! Of course, the score! You just give yourself some points, or take some points away from the other guy. Simple! But that’s just half of it. You need a getaway car - and that’s the ingenious part. If you’re caught, you’ll have to demonstrate to your opponent that you have dementia. (Editor: you have to be demented to even try this.)
Now, I’ve lived a long time (wisdom, baby!), and I’ve found that there are two excuses which have repeatedly proven to be unchallenged in life and which makes them sacrosanct: They are Diarrhea and Dementia. That’s right! No one argues with either one. Really! Diarrhea and Dementia work. You just say you have one of those and everyone will leave you alone. You’re off the hook.
Ya know that old joke?
Patient: Doctah, Doctah, I think I’m losing my memory.
Doctor: Oh, and how long has that been going on?
Patient: How long has what been going on?
Granted, it may not be funny if you think about it for a few seconds, but there is a kernel of truth which can be extracted from it which is incontrovertible – no one will argue with you if you’re missing a few marbles. Or, maybe more than a few. Which is good. Why? Because it’s the equivalent of being found not guilty by reason of mental illness – that’s why. Lao Du
Editor: What your proposing is unethical and dishonorable.
Lao Du: Okay, I changed my mind. I’m not gonna do it.
Editor: What changed your mind?
Lao Du: You! You’re not to be trusted. I know you’ll fink on me.
I’m fadin’ fast. Real fast. Warp speed. Sure, I still play well against the moribund, the sclerotic and a few cachexic gomers, plus, if ya wanna know, I do extremely well against prepubertal girls who weigh less than 60 pounds. But … I’m losin’ to some bums these days, chumps that I used to beat with my eyes closed. In fact, I don’t call them “bums” and “chumps” anymore. I call them gifted and accomplished players. Hey, if they beat me, why not, because these bedwetters are killing me now. (Ed. Now you duh bum! Your arrogance merits this rightful comeuppance. Yep, you’re the bum now, the chump … the bedwetter!)
Yeah, so okay, I’m not sittin’ on a high horse these days. It’s more like a miniature horse. No more gloating with a photograph of me with my foot perched on a carcass after a kill. Now I’m the vulnerable prey, and now I know what they mean by oh how the mighty have fallen.
I never really knew how inglorious and miserable it was to lose. I do now: it hurts. So I want to apologize for all those years of of being what I suppose you’d call a bad winner. To all those losers I taunted and made fun of as stupid or inept, I’m sorry. Listen, now I have deep, heartfelt regrets about that. I’m sorry to all of you out there that I killed, and for rubbing in the salt to the wounds afterward by saying that you were stupid or inept – or both - even if you were. My humble apologies. Lao Du
Editor: That doesn’t sound like a sincere apology, and it doesn’t sound like our wonder boy has serious remorse. There’s certainly no humility wound up in this so-called apologetica. It so happens that I played with Lao Du the other day, and this reinforced my feeling that Lao Du has not yet joined the righteous and virtuous despite this phony contrition of his. Yes, he may no longer be a bad winner, as he put it but, unfortunately, he’s converted to being a sore loser. I want you all to know that I beat the yutz three games to none, and then he threw a tantrum … AND his racket. Oh, and he cried! I’m also pretty sure he lied to his diary.
Someone asked me recently if she could come and join us at PPP in Pleasantville. Of course, I said, we welcome just about anyone – PwP and volunteers – all welcome to come to our sessions. There are only a few requirements for admission. Naturally, we require vaccinations for safety. We had also mandated mask-wearing for awhile, too, but relaxed that as pandemic conditions improved in our area. We were always consistent with another rule, however, the one that said that no one was allowed to bring any AR 15’s to PPP. Otherwise, it was just bring yourself and a list of active checking and savings accounts that you have at banks and brokerages, as well as notarized info indicating your cash on hand. You have to provide these documents, along with your credit card and social security numbers to Lao Du upon entering the door. (We don’t know exactly what he does with all this collected personal data, but we have all observed an updated wardrobe and a new Corvette with which he’s been tooling around town. It’s the Torch Red one in the parking lot at WTTC, in case you were wondering.)
Conspiracy Theory Goin’ Around The Ping Pong Club: George Soros is negotiating to buy the WTTC in order to convert it into a Yeshiva, and will begin busing students in from Munsey after the deal is consummated. When asked if the students will be required to wear masks, Sorros replied: “No, only yarmulkes”.
Editor: Staff News: We almost hired a new guy to help us run the program at PPP in Pleasantville. I don’t like to put anyone down, but this guy had the cognitive resources of a roundworm, plus he held some unsubstantiated ideas, such as this conspiracy theory that some players using long pips and antispin at our club were satan-worshiping anarchists who were drinking blood that wasn’t their own. He had dropped out of college after one semester and, to my knowledge, had never worked at a job for more than a few months. (His last employer had accused him of malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance – that’s a helluva lot of ‘feasance.’) Even worse, he had inadequate ping pong skills. His social skills were equally deficient, in addition to his having halitosis and a horrendous case of B.O. In other words, he had what you’d call a thin resume … and he stunk. Nevertheless, we almost hired him anyway, because the present limping, older gentleman - the dinosaur that we’ve got, our so-called ringmaster who’s older than 3 previous US presidents - is all but ready for Hospice Ping Pong. (Some anecdotal evidence is proof. 1: The DMV is about to revoke his driver’s license. 2: Recently, he refused to follow his orthopedic doctor’s recommendation stating: “I already have a frozen shoulder, why should I put ice on it?”)
It’s not only his knees and shoulders which are shot. His pacemaker needs a new battery and he can’t seem to find his racket or keys on most days (or nights). Maybe worse than any of that, his ping pong rating is plummeting. It’s just so embarrassing for all of us here at PPP to see him playing with that antique racket he uses, the one that he probably made in his garage in 1954. I mean, lemme put it to you this way: This old codger shouldn’t be spending his declining years up here in Pleasantville. The guy is ripe (overripe) and ready for a senior living situation down in Florida somewhere.
When we had to tell him that we were thinking of putting him out to pasture - Thank you for your service, but we’re looking for some new blood - his only response was that there was no need for that, because he’d get a transfusion. Can you imagine that? Well, whadda ya gonna do!
Thing is, we’re still stuck with him for now, but it’s costing us money – for the defibrillator, supplemental oxygen and commodes that we have to have on hand just in case something fateful occurs. We had an emergency Board meeting about him, but hiring a hitman was ruled out … on a close vote. We’re thinking of taking his keys on Tuesdays so that he can’t make it here on our regularly scheduled sessions on Wednesdays. Of course, we’d welcome new applicants to take over his duties and for some new ideas as to how to jettison this geezer, but if this doesn’t happen real soon we’ll have to consider hiring the guy with the halitosis or taking another vote for a hitman ( hey, they shoot horses, don’t they?).
If you know someone who can occasionally hit the ball over the net – and who gargles Listerine - please contact us so that we can replace our old coot.
We’ve been giving out stuff handed down by the estate of PPP’s late, generous benefactor, John Beresford Tipton. Now this giveaway stuff is admittedly mostly expired snacks, and we were giving it to the fortunate (unfortunate?) winners of our little contests (for singing, acting or making faces) during the last 15 minute segment of our ping pong sessions. Well, in a similarly generous spirit, there’s this Chinese philanthropist (he requests anonymity) who wanted to give PPP a donation of some of those 1000 year old eggs he had hanging around. But I had to tell him that none of us at PPP could eat them because they were probably well beyond the expected shelf life (expiration date was probably somewhere in the middle ages). I surely didn’t want to insult him or his culture - or deter future donations - so I asked him if he had any eggs that were only 500 years old instead, since we could probably use those. He looked at me askance (I don’t know why he gave me that suspicious look), and walked away shaking his head. Oh, well, I didn’t mean to offend him, or anything. C’est la ville! Can’t please everybody.
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