Friday, April 24, 2009

"Over the line!"*

[WARNING: This post contains language which some readers/listeners may find offensive.]

As anyone refined will tell you, good manners are dictated by the setting in which people interact. What is acceptable at McDonald's may not work at Chez Spendalot; behaviors that blend in at the supermarket may stand out at a funeral. Manners are situational.

Since this humble post is my first participation with the Greater Blogging Family in a Spin Cycle, I thought I should try to bring something unique to the table. Oh sure, I could ramble on about the importance of "please" and "thank you", holding the door open for ladies and the elderly, chewing with your mouth closed**, or not farting in church - but that's already well-covered ground. What about all the unique bits of etiquette and protocol your Mom never got around to teaching you - 'cause she didn't know the rules?

That's right - I'm taking about proper behavior in a bowling alley.

It's only fitting that this first attempt at participating in Spinnerdom should center around my old bowling team, the Spinners. These are the men who taught me everything I know about bowling alley protocols (that and watching Le Grande Lewbowski*** about a hundred and sixty-seven times).**** These sage Lotharios of the Lanes helped me to negotiate the ticklish twists and turns of a night out at the Family Fun Center.

The bowling alley presents a challenging setting for anyone striving to model appropriate behaviors. And trying to mind your manners after a few cocktails really ups the ante! So without further ado, let's look at few simple do's and don'ts of bowling alley manners.

1. Jim Styro says: Always be prepared to support your teammates with encouragement.

Remember - Amateur bowling is a team sport. To foster a healthy sense of competition, to inspire maximum effort in your comrades, and to continually engender a feeling of fellowship and brotherhood amongst the team, one must be prepared to offer words of support and constructive criticism at the appropriate moment.

For example:

- "Nice g*dd*mn cover, @$$hole!"
(Often used when a teammate has failed to convert on a spare)
- "Next time, pull your d*ck out of the ball."
(General tip shared after an errant roll)
- "Nobody misses the five pin!"
(Self explanatory)
- "The ball will be right back."
(Encouragement offered after a poor first ball in the frame)
- "Take it easy on the equipment!"
(Gentle reminder not to kick the ball return)

2. Jim Styro says: Being aware of your surroundings improves the experience for you and those around you.

A crowded bowling alley can present many different etiquette and safety challenges including:

- Waiting your turn.

(If you cut in front of the guy waiting to bowl on the lane to your immediate left or right, the results may include having a bowling ball pushed off the ball return into your path - or even someone's fist being smashed through the protective glass enclosure for a fire extinguisher.)

- Keeping all walkways clear.

(In the event a drunken brawl commences on a nearby lane, you should be prepared to use all necessary force in moving a teammate out of harm's way. Any beer bottles to be hurled during such an event -partially empty or otherwise- should have been purchased by the Hurler prior to hurling. Beer bottles of by-standers -innocent or otherwise- should not be used.)

- Never waving your piece around on the lanes. (Self-explanatory)

3. Jim Styro says: The bowler must monitor himself and his equipment at all times.

A bowling alley is an onslaught to the senses; an environment filled with noise, smoke, bodies and alchohol. To keep one's wits involves:

- Proper monitoring of liquids.

(This involves both the intake and evacuation of liquids - and their impact on readiness of both the bowler and his equipment. Remember - a wet bowling shoe is a dangerous bowling shoe!)

- Being prepared.

(You don't want to be caught at the snack bar, the toilet or putting a couple of bucks in for the Mystery drawing when your turn comes. The more time you spend bowling, the less time is left for the bar.)

- Being discrete.

(You never know when a guy on the opposing team will have his wife show up with their three elementary-school-age children. Hey - maybe they can learn a new word or two at the Family Fun Center? But hopefully not from you, the Well-Mannered Bowler.)

Following these (relatively) simple guidelines will make your night at the lanes entertaining, safe and (possibly even) genteel.

Anything's possible.

Take care.

*Apologies to everyone expecting a post entitled "Blogging: The writer as exhibitionist". I forgot about my intention to participate in the Spin Cycle today. I swear I'll post it soon.
**Just because I know the rule doesn't mean I can always follow the rule.
***WARNING: This link contains language that some may find offensive.
****"And it just keeps gettin' funner - every single time I see it!!"

Detroit vs. Columbus - Wings won the best of seven series, 4 - 0


Middle Aged Woman said...

What is the proper etiquette upon opening one's bowling bag only to discover one's wife has stashed a sexy pair of her panties in there?

Sprite's Keeper said...

I love it! You're right. Everyone has manners and there's a certain etiquette to be followed within the alley. Next time I go to a bowling birthday party, I will remember not to pee on my bowling shoes, reserve my own beer bottles for possible fights (if you don't have a fight, can you save those unused bottles for the next time or is it a one time only chance?), and never cut off another bowler. Great Spin, Jim! You're linked and welcome to the Spin Cycle!

Pamela said...

Wow. I had a clever comment all planned out in my head, but then I read MAW's and now it's just flat out gone. Brilliant, both of you.

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA!! (That's me laughing in caps!) Great Spin! Loved it! Welcome to the Spin Cycle.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Do people really put their d*cks in the bowling balls? Just curious...

Jim Styro said...

MAW: It's hard...
to establish protocols for once-in-a-lifetime events.

SK: Thanks for the encouragement. I hope to Spin on a regular basis.

Pam: The MAW does that to people. Thanks for your support. Hope that your life is returning to normal.

Ginger: Thanks for the reading, the comment & the welcome. Glad you enjoyed my Spin.

S&M: Not on purpose.

The Mister said...

Can't think of anything to say. I'm off reliving all my past alley experiences. The noise, the smell, the strained thumb ligaments. Ahh...

Captain Dumbass said...

My parents forced me into a little league bowling...ah, league when I was a little kid, even though I made it very clear that I did't want to. To this day I've never set foot in a bowling alley. I can hold a grudge.

That said, Le Grande Lebowski was one of the finest films ever made, and not just because Julian Moore was flying naked on cables. Although it helped.

Jim Styro said...

Mister: Glad I was able to stir up some good memories (in spite of the whole ligament damage thing).

Capt. DA: Sorry to stir up some unpleasant memories. It is to your credit (and another of the reasons I idolize you) that you are able to look beyond these scarring experiences to recognize the unrestrained brilliance of Lebowski. "It really tied the room together..."

Nancy said...

I'm so glad I never said to my girls "Let's go surprise Daddy and watch him bowl with the Spinners." They would have been scarred for life.

Jim Styro said...

You were -and are- a wise woman.
Bonanza Lanes was like one big episode of "Men Behaving Badly." And the Spinners were amongst the best-behaved gents in the joint (which is a big part of the reason we stopped bowling).
You and the girls didn't miss a thing.