This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Mr. Love Pickle

Y'know, there are some days that I just feel like giving up as a humorist. Days when something comes along that I would never think up that make me laugh harder than anything I've written, and today I was reminded of one such.

As you all know, I'm a middle-aged bald fat guy. I try to find things that I enjoy in the way of exercise to try to keep the fat part under control, but because I have middle aged knees and am in a weight class that could officially support a satellite (heck, back in college, I had moons on several occasions[*]), my knees don't handle the stress of regular exercises, such as jogging, tennis, walking up a flight of stairs, standing up, etc., and that's why I was really quite happy over the summer to discover a new sport with the absurd sounding name of "Pickleball".

The basic rules of this game are very close to those of tennis, except where they aren't, and the key point seems to be to make the rules easy enough for people to grasp quickly, with just a few things so very different from anything else that anyone experienced in any other racquet sport will lose whatever advantage they might otherwise have had by regularly violating some esoteric rule or other. There's a section of the court you're not allowed to go into, except when you are and then it's mandatory. This section is called "the kitchen" for no reason that I can find. The ball has to bounce once before you can hit it, until it has gone three times over the net, and then you can wail away on the fly. Serving must be done from below the waist, meaning that over-handed serving is considered under-handed.

This game is apparently very big among the retirees in Florida, although whether this is because it's good exercise without being too stressful on the knees, or because only someone in the early stages of dementia could possibly make sense of the rules, I'm not sure.

Either way, though, I'm rather happy that there's a guy in my community who became interested in the game and is trying very hard to get it established locally, and I go out and play regularly. Fred is a wonderful guy with an odd but infectious laugh and a passion for the game, and almost no common-sense, and this is where we come to the "things that I would never think up for an essay" portion of the essay.

As the sport began to take off here in the community, Fred decided that we needed a web-site for local pickleball activities, to help coordinate things, get messages out to people, sign people up for league play, etc, and that makes perfect sense.

Fred also, having invested a fair portion of his own money in getting this started up, decided to register a url for the purpose, and that also makes some sense. But let's face it, this game already has a slightly titillating name. One might be forgiven for wondering if after a long game of pickleball, the group will go out for some twigberry wine, or perhaps just stop at the local deli for a weiner, a Hostess Ding Dong and a bottle of root beer. [**]

I ask you, in the absence of what I've written so far, if I were to ask you what you might find at "", would you in a million years assume that it would be a site you would have no problem at all showing to your 10 year old child?

Worse than that, how many of you, knowing my sense of humor and predilection for twisting the truth to suit it, just now returned to this essay after firing up another window in your browser to check it out and see if I was making it up... or would have but are afraid that I'm playing some elaborate practical joke designed to infect your computer with spyware and give you an unfortunate new nickname at work, like "Mr. Love Pickle".

Really, this ranks up there with some of the other great URL blunders such as "" (Experts Exchange is a chat board for programmers to exchange tips and advice), "" (Powergen Italia is an Italian battery company which now uses ""), "" (Pen Island is a company that sells pens) and the ever popular "" (Mole Station Nursery has since given this up in favor of, the original domain now points to a porn site).

In looking for the specifics of the previous four, which I had already heard of, I also ran into "" (perhaps you need a Therapist?), "" (Who Represents is a service that will give you the contact info of the representation of most celebrities) and a URL I was sure belonged to my brother when he was a teenager, but which actually belongs to a company providing "IP computer software", "".

To sum up, I think we can all agree on several things:

  1. That "pickleball" is a silly name, even if it is named after the inventor's dog "pickles"
  2. That none of us really wants to risk typing "" into our browser window, and
  3. That "Mr. Love Pickle and the Power Genitalia" would be a pretty good name for an alternative-rock band.

And once you've fully internalized those three things, you'll finally be ready to play pickleball. Or to move to a rest home in Florida. Just please, stay out of the kitchen.

(* <rim shot> )
(** One also wonders if these same people would walk into a vasectomy appointment drinking a Slice.)

[For those keeping track, this was the 10th humor essay, and the 11th total, of the 15 I was trying to write in 30 days. --Liam]

Copyright © Jan 4, 2011 by Liam Johnson.


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