…can’t you read the sign?
Five Man Electrical Band, 1971
Who remembers “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, Robert Fulghum’s best selling book in the late ’80s? It taught us that if we all shared and cleaned up after ourselves the world would be a better place. Sort of like that “Coke” commercial at the end of the final episode of “Mad Men.” I follow those rules, but I also play tennis twice a week. By keeping my eyes and ears open on the court, I have learned a few new rules to add to Reverend Fulghum’s collection. Some are from my Thursday night tennis league, but most are “Dickisms” word of mouth from Dick, our Sunday drill instructor. I can’t promise that if you follow them you will make the world a better place, but when correctly applied, they will help you survive the jungle out there. Here are a few of my favorites:
- “When in doubt, call it out.” — your partners, in love and life, will always appreciate you if you make every call in your team’s favor.
- On the other hand “Always blame your partner” — will immediately wipe out any good will you have with your teammates, spouses or friends, but will allow you to maintain your self image of perfection.
- Hit a shot that clearly was long? Before the opposing team can call it out, loudly yell “It looked good to me.” — confuse the other team enough and they may just call it in your favor. Confusion is also an effective political strategy (See Palin, Sarah.)
- “You’re only as good as your last shot.” — but when that last shot is a winner, you can feel good all day, even if it was preceded by a horrendous set of tennis.
- “Up the middle solves the riddle” — a more grammatically correct version of Wee Willie Keeler’s famous baseball maxim “hit ’em where they ain’t,”…
- …which goes well with “Power thrills, placement kills” — my kind of advice. A little misdirection can go a long way.
- “A lob is the most under-utilized shot in tennis.” — hitting a lob gives you time to react before your opponents can make their return. Having time to react is critical for thinking up an excuse when asked why you ate the last piece of pizza, the one she was going to have for lunch tomorrow.
- “Leave it high and you’re going to die” — make sure the lob/excuse is perfect, or it will come back to haunt you.
- “Hit it that way because I said so” — self explanatory and used by every coach, parent and boss since the beginning of civilization. Probably used by parents in other phyla before then.
- “I want you to do my autopsy when I am dead.” — a frequent Dickism, this has nothing to do with tennis, but at least I know Dick will trust me with sharp objects once he has passed on.
As for the Trophy Wife, I don’t know how Dick came up with it, but if Barb is a trophy wife, then I won the prize!
Next post will be house building related. I promise!!
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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/16077535@N00/2963144336″>Stop Sign By Red Tree (Nice Dry Title)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>