Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rock 'n' Bowl: Not all of the pins are at the end of the lane

Stupidity comes in numbers. No wonder most wars are PR disasters.

I went to the Rose Bowl last night for $10 rock 'n' bowl with my wife and sister-in-law and niece and nephew.

At first, it was interesting to witness the trauma of my niece and nephew learning that real bowling wasn't as easy as Wii bowling. My seven old nephew was incensed with reality, that it could be so unfair, so stupid, that it would thwart his unconventional Wii style -- which consists of wheeling his arm like Pete Townshend's pick hand striking a power chord. In the Wii universe, this is successful. In our world, it is not. He wasn't having any of it. The gutter that swallowed every one of his throws quickly turned into something metaphysical and existential, tear-provoking and irreconcilable.

So, we moved to a "bumper" lane, where the gutters are turned 45-degrees, making gutter balls impossible. The bowling purist in me was put off, but seeing the difference it made for the kids, I recognized this as a good move. Interestingly, my nine year old niece seemed only to need the psychological boost of the bumpers' presence, and ultimately didn't need them. She threw a couple of Sports Illustrated strikes, and cleaned up a few nice spares.

As the universal malignity would have it, a truckload of twentynothing louts were situated one lane away from us. They were your typical, banal gaggle of douchebags who travel by the baker's dozen, all mesmerizing themselves with the fire-fly flicker of their cell phone displays in the semi-dark; grunting their inarticulate runic language. There was only one girl among them. No doubt, one of the louts had brought his sister.

So, the douchebags were loud and palming eight-pound bowling balls, flinging them down their lane as though the object of the game was to inflict as much damage as possible to everything except the pins. After one lout guttered his ill-thrown DayGlo pink eight-pounder, he sopranoed "Fuck!" amid the maelstrom of the rock 'n' bowl music.

You're gonna hear profanity in bowling alleys; I've uttered my share. It's a fact of life, just like gutter balls and embarrassing-looking bowling shoes. But this lout had swaggered well into our area, and made himself much more audible to my niece and nephew than was necessary. My sister-in-law shouted over to him to cut it out, we had kids with us. Now, I despise the holding up of a children as social weapons -- "You can't do [X] because of the children! the children!" -- but in this instance, she was right.

It seems the lout in question was brutish and street enough to utter such profanity, but ill-equipped to handle someone calling him on it. He objected to being yelled at. Douchebags have skin thinner than Trojan condoms. He made some attempt to argue with my sister-in-law, so I chimed-in and told the guy to keep it on his side of the lane. He then tried pleading his case to me about the offense of being yelled at. This from a guy who looked like he'd have no problem belting an old lady over the head for her pocket book, or swarming with his friends some defenseless guy downtown. But being told that bellowing "Fuck!" in our hearing was just too much for his selectively sensitive sensibilities.

Even in my youth, I wouldn't have taken the situation any further. I've seen all of Charles Bronson's movies and have relished seeing him belt scumbags in the throat, kick them in the ass and then make them smell his armpit. There's a base, caveman part of me that would love to engage in such activity with the baggy-pantsed douches among us. But I know the difference between movies and real life, and the difference between me and Charles Bronson. The lout, however, was desperate to start some shit, no doubt so "his boys" could all jump in. Lord knows douchebags are less than useless individually. But I'm old, and even less inclined to indulge in the idiotic arts of pugilism.

So, after a moment where the lout's IV drip of testosterone wasn't enough to "force the moment to its crisis", he returned to his circle-jerk buddies and their pitcher of light beer; to their hypnotic cell phone displays as they texted absent douchebags; and the collective miasma of their "get laid" cologne.

That's sociology you won't find in a textbook.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"circle-jerk" and The Three Stooges- all we need to explain the schism between men and woman.