Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why are you smiling like that?

Today I was able to spend a little time catching up with an "old friend." He's almost 134 but in good condition for his age. (Just kidding Craig! But I am only off by about a century!)

I've known Craig Shaw for about 18 years now I guess. We attended high school and early morning seminary together (I use the word "attended" very loosely as we "missed" as much time as we made it there ... I was a bad influence, but I still blame him!)

He has two boys of his own, Ethan and Timmy, and they are just like all children: mirror images of their parents. It is fun to see the idiosyncrasies of yourself in your own children, but even more enjoyable to see it in other people's kids. They were a delight to have over (wish Mary could have been here too) and Ben really enjoyed playing with them.

One of my favorite memories with Craig from our glory days at the Institute of Religion in Greeley CO, is ping pong. There was not much else to do in the building (other than all the religious stuff, which we clearly were too young to appreciate). So we played ping pong. Craig had grown up playing the game and was clearly much better than I. So much so in fact that he began playing left-handed to "even things out." Unfortunately, I was pretty good by that time with my right hand so we eventually agreed to both play left-handed, which really leveled the playing field.

Now there was rarely a line to play ping pong at the institute so we found ourselves playing quite often. Not daily, but at least 3-5 times per week and for several hours at a time. No matter who you are or what your talent level is, if you practice something that much you will definitely get better at it. I know we sure did. We began playing against others left-handed and could easily defeat anyone who dared challenge either one of us. Of course Craig could still, and probably always will be able to, beat me righty against righty, but we both got very good left-handed.

Another seemingly unrelated pasttime we had in those days was watching movies with large groups of people. I became familiar with a much broader genre of films through this activity and this leads us to our inevitable conclusion where the brilliant Josh ties everything together at the end. (He really is boastful isn't he?!) One of the favorite movies to watch time and again was ... wait for it ... The Princess Bride.

There is a scene in that movie (if you are one of those weirdos who has NOT seen it), where the Dread Pirate Roberts (the presumed "evil" character) is having a sword fight with Inigo Montoya (one of the "good guys" who later helps save the princess). The two swordsmen are equally matched but Inigo is smiling all through the battle. His foe queries him "Why are you smiling like that?" To which Inigo replies "Because I know something you don't know. I am not left-handed!" after which he switches his blade to his right hand and begins dominating the fight. Then the Dread Pirate Roberts begins smiling and the previous dialogue is repeated in reverse with the pirate announcing his dominance with his right hand in similar fashion. (Seriously if you have not seen the movie then you just have to watch it! Go ahead ... I'll wait ... yes it is THAT important! Go on. This blog isn't going anywhere.)

Okay, now that you've seen that scene (and the rest of the movie I hope, except the "kissing parts" ... ha ha) bring your mind back to the ping pong table with Craig and I both battling away. Not always, but more often than not, a small crowd would begin to watch us play. Partly because we were pretty good (not trying to boast but some volleys would go on for 10 minutes or more) but mostly because, as I mentioned before, there wasn't much to do at the institute. Invariably one of these long volleys would get boring for Craig or I and we would look mischieviously at the other and something like this would occur:

Craig: Why are you smiling like that?

Josh: Because I know something you do not know.

Craig: What is that?

Josh: I am not left-handed! (tosses the paddle to his
other hand and smashes the ball across the table)

Craig: (deftly returns the speeding ball while a sly grin crawls across his face)

Josh: Why are you smiling like that?

Craig: Because I know something you do not know.

Josh: What is that? (all the while he is thinking "Oh crap!")

Craig: I am NOT left-handed either! (spins the paddle to his right hand and returns the volley across the table with such force that you will forever see the ball mark it left).

Grandma's got game! :)

1 comment:

  1. Josh, you continually amaze and impress me with your witty writing and clever commentary! I hate you...just kidding! Ah, the Institute - good memories! You and Craig would give Forrest Gump a run for his money in ping pong! And I love your references to "The Princess Bride"!