One sunny ☹ LA weekday, Heidi (my wife) and I were walking in our quiet neighborhood and strolled upon a small yard sale hosted by a nice old woman. There were no interested buyers present. I have rarely found anything truly worthy at a Los Angeles yard sale, so it was without much interest that I glanced over her collection of undesirables. But before we could cross to the next property line, something caught my eye: a 1950’s era bowling bag of white and baby blue. You know the kind: shaped like a gumdrop, dual plastic handles on the top and a zipper that rolls from one bottom corner all the way up through the handles and back to the other bottom corner.
Yes, I already had a bag (given to me as a memorable gift by that silver-clad syndicate fellow, Sterling) and I was not looking for a new one. But this bag was just sitting in the grass, looking for a home, like a lost puppy.
Heidi and I secretly agreed that $15 was an acceptable price to pay since it was pretty freaking cool.
“How much for the bowling bag?” I asked.
“How about two dollars?” the nice old lady replied.
Now, this may only make sense to people living in LA, NY and Tokyo, but to be outside during the day and to spend two dollars on that bowling bag would actually cost us LESS than to NOT spend the two dollars and continue walking.
I gave her 2 (two) single United States of America Dollars, and with that, I snatched the plastic handles, eager to go - but when I straightened my back to stand, the bag held to ground with the force of, let’s say… 14 pounds?
“Is there a ball in here?”
I unzipped the bag to find a well-kept burgundy large ball with the initials L.D.B. proudly engraved. For obvious reasons, I felt a presidential aura flowing from the bag.
“Is the ball included in the price?”
She smiled kindly. “Yes,” as if it were obvious.
My exterior demeanor hadn’t changed, but my mind was going through convulsions of Mt. St. Helens proportions. Although the odds were low that LDB would fit either of our hands, this was still too good to be true.
And so, it became official: the finding and purchase of LDB rose to the top of our Good Deal List (topping the time the Arclight gave us four free tickets because they spliced the fifth reel of Spiderman 2 upsidedown).
We postponed the rest of our walk to return home for an immediate inspection of LDB. Our findings:
1) LDB was accompanied by a few penciled score cards that showed the old woman (named Lorraine) was an average 200 bowler. She also rolled with some equally talented women with equally strong bowling names (Beatrice and Florence for example).
2) The $2 bargain also included one of those handled cloths that you can hold your ball in and rock back and forth to wipe it clean.
3) The most stunning revelation of all: LDB fit my hand just like my custom-drilled ball, McCracken (a generous gift from the Lord of the Ring: Lintinin), but slightly heavier.
This presented a new dimension to my universe: could I become one of those guys who solo-bowls with two balls? Although we’ve all made our guesses as to why one would want two balls (perhaps different weights for late-game fatigue or maybe the need for a different spin to hit that one pin that the other ball could not), I wasn’t so sure having two balls would be a good thing.
And I still don’t know.
I’ve not had many opportunities to roll with LDB, but I will say that my recent bowling has been lackluster. I speculate that my bowling with two balls is similar to games where the Steelers try to use two running backs equally in one game; neither back is able to get in the flow of the game and thus two backs with 15 carries each is worse than one back with 30 carries.
My bowling miscues may have less to do with LDB and the Steelers running game than with this troubling truth: I do not bowl enough.
And with that, I support J’s call for action and look forward to a syndicate gathering soon. I’ll bring McCracken and LDB and we’ll get to the bottom of this.