I probably should have been a ten pin bowler because my mind seems to spend a lot of time in the gutter. My brain is far too creative for my own good and if I’m feeling a bit stroppy it does a lot of silent shouting. If the skip calls out ‘take some weight off’ my brain says ‘I’m trying. Spent my life trying. Had two surgeries and still trying.’ Or, ‘a bit heavy!’. Ya think! says my head. How about, ‘Take more green’…Jeez! I’ve eaten more greens than a rabbit and it hasn’t helped a bit.

However, I make the necessary adjustment, and, generally, respond well. I must add that I play well with an instructive skip. I love the ones who wave and twirl their towel as they ask me to side-step all the short bowls, come through here, wick off that, push the Jack over here and nudge that one closer. Piece of cake, I reply, as I send up a wrong bias. Happy, happy, joy, joy…especially if I really do manage to do as I’m told. My mother would be impressed.

I’m not yet ready to skip because I want to screech things such as ‘I asked for a back bowl NOT A BLOODY BANK BOWL! and I don’t think it’s acceptable to yell ‘I need a condom shot’. In my head that’s a shot to cover and protect what we already have. It probably wouldn’t go down too well if I yelled ‘take a god-damned viagra! If it’s not up it isn’t going to be of any use!’ Or ‘did someone exchange your viagra for a little blue zoplicone because you’re sleeping on the job. I NEED YOU TO GET IT UP!’

I’ve never been a violent person but these days I often want to poke someone in the eye with a burnt stick. On the other hand I have days when I look across the green and think we all belong to the ministery of Silly Walks…hobbling, limping, swinging, swaying. Aging knees, new hips, arthritic waddlers, emphysemic gaspers. It looks and sounds like we’ve all come out into the sunshine to die in the company of similar souls. But there’s no place I would rather be. I’ve given CPR to bees (and I can tell you that’s not easy!) that have been nudged by a bowl, I’ve helped hobblers up onto the bank, used my picker-upper to retrieve bowls for those who struggle to bend and sung silly ditties to those who might have the blues. I’ve even picked my husband up off the mat when he’s collapsed into a heap after delivering a bowl. (hmmm. that sounds like he had a baby…no wonder he collapsed). My urge was to prod him with my foot and say ‘Get up. People are staring and it’s embarrassing.’ Instead, I bought him one of those mechanical arms for picking up and delivering the bowls so that he can carry on bowling and doesn’t have to bend his failing legs.

I love my big bowling family of aging friends and I struggle to keep from looking at all the wrinkly, smiling (some surly) faces and wondering how the picture will look in ten years time.

And I really need to keep my brain out of the gutter or I’ll get bowled off the green by a mind reader!

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