My grandfather used to take us miniature golfing.
The course was near the Adler Planetarium. It was a decent enough place to play when we first went there, but each time we went, something else was broken, or a water basin drained, or they didn’t bother sweeping up the fallen leaves.
The last time we went, it was all in ruins. The paint on the rails was peeling. The turf carpet was worn. And the obstacles were all a wreck.
The railroad gate had to be held up to let the ball roll under it.
We never went back again.
Ever play the game Operation?
I love to play that game.
Take out the pieces.
Don’t touch the sides.
Ever since I was a child.
But I am old now.
My hands tremble and shake.
And no matter what I do.
The buzzer buzzes.
The grandkids want to play.
I get out the pieces.
Load up the board.
And we play.
It is the best we have ever played.
Nobody gets buzzed.
When we’re finished
I put everything back in the box
Including the batteries for the board
That I’d put in my pocket
Edwin, Edgar, Edward, and Eddington played bridge together every Sunday.
When Edgar had a heart attack, they moved the game to Edgar’s bedside.
The medication made his bidding a bit erratic.
Edgar got a pacemaker implanted, and he was fit to go.
Later, Eddington lost a thumb in a wood-cutting accident, but he learned to hold his cards with the remaining 9 fingers.
Edwin went deaf, but they worked around it. Hand signals.
Finally, Edward used the wrong kind of space heater for the game. They all suffocated and died.
So close to graduating high school. What a goddamned shame.
Blake ran the video arcade at the mall until a poorly-grounded Galaga box electrocuted him.
When the real estate company tried to put a shoe store in that location, Blake’s ghost scared off all the customers with all his yelling and throwing things around.
Same with the novelty gift shop, the jeans outlet store, and the cell phone place.
Exorcists and supernatural “experts” failed to remove Blake.
So, we put a laser tag maze in the spot, but called it Ghost Hunters.
It would work better if Blake wore a sheet instead of a Pac Man tee-shirt and jeans, though.
Most people work out the crossword in pencil, but confident people work it out in ink.
Then there’s the crazy ones who do their crosswords in blood.
I’m not talking about scratching a nib against a mosquito bite.
No, these are the wackos who slash a wrist or a thigh to get their own blood.
Even though this tactic guarantees a free-flowing supply, it puts a rather draconian time limit on your puzzle.
Well, that, and you’ll stain the newspaper… and the table… and the carpet…
Speaking of which, what’s a 10-letter word for binding wounds?
Hurry… I’m blacking out.
As part of my rehabilitation, I have a blue foam Lego brick to squeeze.
This builds up my grip strength.
However, it’s a lot more fun to throw my brick at people.
It’s like a blend of Angry Birds and Tetris.
And Lego, I suppose. Although what’s the point of having just a single Lego brick?
You can’t build anything with it.
I shrug, and look over my toy drawer:
A single Tinkertoy spoke
An erector-set screw
A piece of this
A piece of that
A pile of team-building pieces I never built with.
I squeeze the brick and laugh.
For 4 generations, my family’s company has made the best darts and dartboards in the entire world.
I was hoping that my son would carry on the family tradition, but he’d rather throw darts in the pubs and drink than run the company.
So, while he threw away his future in the pub, I was out looking for a buyer.
Eventually, I got an offer from a big gaming company that ran their divisions separately, and I felt they’d maintain the quality that our name stands for.
As for my son, he’s a bartender now.
But I never drink with strangers.
My uncle Dexter would disappear every Friday night, and then return for Sunday brunch.
Sometimes, he’d have cash stuffed into his pockets, and other times he be flat broke and sporting a black eye or two.
“Your stupid Uncle Dexter plays the ponies.” my mom would say. “Stay away from him.”
So, that night, I followed him from street to street, until he reached the racetrack.
He wired up all the horses to a massive keyboard, turned on the power, and played them like a pipe organ.
It sounded awful, but not as bad as my sister practicing her violin.
My grandfather taught me how to play Scrabble.
Somewhere on the shelf with the golf and pool trophies was his masters points notebook.
But all those years ago, he’d never sit at the dining table to play.
Instead, he’d circle the table, looking over shoulders, shaking his head when my mother or grandmother would look for help, and he’d rearrange the tiles.
“Where does that go?” they’d say.
He’d point at the board.
“Oh!” and they’d smile and place the tiles.
These days, I imagine him screaming more than frowning.
I probably shouldn’t play Scrabble on my phone while driving.
Remember when you got to the end of the dungeon in Super Mario Brothers, killed the bad guy, and saw:
“Thank you, Mario, but our princess is in another castle.”
Well, then, who the hell is this bitch?
And what is she doing all the way down here?
Seven princesses later, Mario finally rescues the “real” princess.
If it were me, I’d have given up and settled for the first one.
She looks the same. And I’m sure her kingdom wants her back and will pay a reward for her.
I’m done with jumping around. Go ask my brother Luigi.