ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
As much as I would like to say that I am a responsible journalist and decided to take a trip to Oklahoma to report on the wildfire incidents, I can’t because that would be a lie.
In reality, I just happened to be in Tulsa when I realized that my deadline was rapidly approaching and I had yet to write a column.
So here is my report on the status of the wildfires in Tulsa: as far as I can tell, they are out.
At least, I haven’t personally seen any. But I’ve mostly been in the new housing development areas-housing developments in Tulsa are growing faster than underarm fungus on a humid day.
I haven’t run into any wildfires while here, but perhaps if I went into the city I might have seen a few.
Anyway, from the looks of it, the firefighters are doing a bang-up job keeping the city safe from fires. Unfortunately, this gives me very little to write about.
One thing that I have done while here is gone bowling. I did this with my brother and dad. It was sort of like a guys’ night out type of deal.
In our family, a guys’ night out consists of going out and doing things that none of us are technically any good at.
This was actually my brother’s idea. Somewhere a while back he suddenly decided bowling was fun. I think that was after he hit his head.
I was personally endorsing the rent-a-movie-from-Blockbuster idea for our guys’ night out, but was outvoted because (a) there are only three of us and Dad was the tie breaker, and (b) Dad felt sorry for Nathan because of his head injury.
This is, of course, not to say that I do not like bowling. I love bowling. Bowling is-as far as I know-the only athletic event where you do very little, and while doing it you can drink as much Coke as you want.
The only thing I do not find attractive about bowling is the rental shoes, which feel like they are made from very thin cardboard and have the sterility of moldy cheese.
But putting the negatives out of our minds, we decided to go bowling. However, this was easier said than done. I say this because of three factors:
1. We had never been to this bowling alley before.
2. We were trying to find it at night.
3. Dad was driving.
Due to these three handicaps, we had a few moments of desperation when we discovered that we had completely missed our road (“Lewis”), and were already driving past other roads (“Yale” and “Harvard”).
There was a big casino (“Creek Nation”), where we originally thought the bowling alley (“River Lanes Bowling Center”) should have been and Dad (“Brad”) realized that our car (“Grand Prix”) was almost out of gas (“Dead Organisms”), so if we didn’t find a gas station (“Phillips 66”), soon we would be stranded (“Stranded”) in Tulsa (“Severe Fire Warning”).
Perhaps, you’ve never had that feeling of frustration. Perhaps, you’ve never driven with my dad.
We finally found the bowling alley, which seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere. But we were ready to have a fun guys’ night out, so we put the mishap past us and went into the bowling alley so we could wait 20 minutes for a lane to open up.
If there is one word I could use to describe this bowling alley, here is what it would be: big. I estimate there were about 10,000 lanes in the place, not including the ones with bumpers.
There were two kinds of bowlers there when we got there. First were those who were very sincere about bowling. These people all had some sort of glove-type contraption on their right hand, and always looked extremely depressed when they somehow missed that last pin.
The other kind of people at the bowling alley only came to drink beer. These people were fairly easy to pick out because they kept rolling the ball into the snack machine.
We finally ended up getting lane four. On either side of us-which would be lanes three and five-were two of those extremes.
To our left was a group of young people-meaning people who are probably in college but act like preschoolers-who were OK at bowling. Particularly, there was one girl who wasn’t OK at bowling, in the sense that she technically knocked over maybe eight pins the entire night.
You could probably give her some darts and tell her to hit the target, and in the process of throwing the dart she would poke her own eye out.
To our right was a man who acted and was proportioned so that I’m pretty sure in his previous life he was a bowling ball himself.
You could tell from his stance that he was very dedicated to bowling. Every time he bowled, he would turn his body slightly sideways so that, while most of him was in Lane 5, quite a bit of him spilled into Lane 4 as well. I was always sure to wait for him to finish before I went out, because if we both happened to go at the same time, I would probably be bounced off his hips-pinball style-and land in Lane 1.
Because I don’t want to give you a laughter-induced hernia, I will not quote our final scores. But I will say that for the two games we played, I came in second and third. I probably would have come in fourth, except there were only three of us there.
But getting back to the wildfire issue, there is definitely still a severe threat. However, I now have a decent word count, so I don’t care anymore.
* * *
UFO: The Marlboro Man died of lung cancer.
Don’t ask why.