Self-Haircuts and the Pandemic

I have been giving myself haircuts ever since this pandemic began. I’ve nicked my ears – both of them – a few times, and once my scissors actually went in quite deeply. If I hadn’t had any duct tape around when this happened, I might have surely exsanguinated. I’m tellin’ ya, I came close to cutting my ear off – not that I was trying to be beat out Van Gogh in that department or anything (although I can draw better than he could).

This self-haircut stuff is definitely not advisable. I base this conclusion on not just this recent personal quarantine experience where all of my coifs could be termed ‘hatchet jobs.’ Yeah, it turns out this wasn’t the first time I’ve had a problem. When I was a kid, oh, maybe 7 or 8 years old, my old man decided this one Sunday morning that he’d give me a haircut. Now I had never gotten a haircut from anyone other than a Sicilian and with the Italian crooner music going on in a barber shop, and when I saw my father limbering up his fingers by going snip snip in the air with those large silver blades from my mother’s sewing kit scissors, I was starting to get nervous. Real nervous. And he wasn’t calming me any by directing his cautionary ‘not to worry’s’ to my mom alone – not to me! He went even further with his reassurance that he was going to use a bowl. Wasn’t very reassuring to me, but then he repeated to my mom that she shouldn’t worry because the kid (presumably me) had a hat. He was referring to my Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap. Now I didn’t quite understand what the bowl was for exactly, but my intellectual development at the time was sufficiently adequate to grasp the significance of the hat. And, man, I was shaking. Real nervous. And, of course, do I have to tell ya that I was forced to wear my Dodger hat for several weeks following this atrocity. My head was ravaged. A genuine hatchet job! And I still don’t know what the hell that bowl was all about.

Anyway, my advice to any of you ‘do-it-yourselfers’ in our Ping Pong Parkinson group, is that you let your wife or some other trustworthy person cut your hair for you … and only if you have a Brooklyn Dodger hat. Also, if your Parkinson tremor is not well controlled, I would strongly recommend that you not attempt any self-circumcision at this time, either. Wait until you get vaccinated and then let a pro (who has a just-in-case tourniquet) do it. Lao Du

Ping Pong and the Pandemic – Mitigating the Risk (Don’t Play!)

Big day ahead of me today. No, it’s not the weekly arrival of the ShopRite flyer, it’s something almost as exciting as that. Oh, yeah, big, big, big day: I’m gonna water the plants! When I’m through doin’ that I’m gonna write on my calendar that I did it … and then I’m goin’ back to sleep. When I wake up I’ll have some of the food that I made a week ago that I have to eat today because there are blue moldy spots starting to form on the edges. See, I don’t want to waste the food …because, as you know, there are people starving in the world. Oh, boy, but there are hairs coming out of the mold, too. Jeez, never seen that before. I’ll have to do a little surgical excising to get rid of those parts. I’ll add it to the stuff I feed the birds and squirrels – they shouldn’t know much about micotoxins. (Don’t look at me like that – what, are they gonna throw up or get cancer? They don’t live that long, so don’t worry about it, okay?).

And, then, let’s see … Oh, yeah, I have to do the mail. I’ve got about three dozen bills sitting on my desk that I have to pay. You know, the cable and internet, the electric company, the oil delivery and a bunch of medical bills from my insurance company that are 5 pages long and that I can never understand. I should have done that – paid the bills, I mean – but up to now I’ve been playing ping pong at the club and didn’t have time. That’s right! Believe it or not, this ping pong addict aint playin’ nowadays.

So, you may be wondering why I’m not at the club anymore. I’ll tell you why: Fear. And Disgust. And some unadulterated bitterness and resentment mixed in with revulsion. It all relates to the fact that some fellow denizens of our ping pong world refuse to wear masks (or wear them incorrectly – under their noses or just on their chins). By refusing to follow Fauci, they pose a clear and present danger to all of us (including themselves).

I did try to tell many of these ping pong brethren to put their masks on, but the animosity engendered by my doing this was palpable. I could really feel the anger and, in fact, even see the hostility on their maskless faces. Well, okay, I could have been a little more tactful, but whatever wrong I was committing by my clumsy insensitivity paled before their double wrongfulness of potentially killing someone, so I’m only partially regretting how I behaved.

One thing I did do, though, which I don’t regret, was that I did earnestly, and with some persistence, bring this grave matter up with management. They listened courteously and seemed even to convey agreement with the need to implement the chief recommendations of the Public Health Service of the State of New York. But, disappointingly, didn’t happen, and I just didn’t feel like being the ‘mask police’ anymore. Turned out, I was talking to the wall and, what with the infection rates and death count spiking, I just figured the risk was even too much for this particular risk-taker. I’ll wait for the vaccine and, meanwhile …. I think I’m gonna let the air outta every bum’s car in the club parking lot who refused to wear a mask. Lao Du

Health And Other Nuts (Ed. More flapdoodle/screwy-hooey from Lao Du)

This crazy health nut, whom I’ve known peripherally for several years, comes over to me the other day and starts in with this phony flattery on how I know so much about ping pong – like I’m an expert or somethin’. And then he asks me out of the blue what size ping pong table should he buy? This is really freaky stuff. This guy apparently thinks ping pong tables come in different sizes and colors, and all. So, I look him over carefully to see if this is a joke. Maybe next he’ll be asking me if bacon is kosher? And last year he comes over to me, probably thinking I’m a gastroenterologist, proclaims he’s got “hard stools,” what should he do? I mean I thought maybe he was trying to pull my leg. But he wasn’t. No, he wasn’t. He was dead serious. I told him to sit on a sofa, that it was much softer. Anyway, I eventually told him to buy a ping pong table without a net so that he’d finally be able to hit the ball to the other side. Look, wasn’t my intention to openly disrespect the guy but, truth is, I never cared for this simple-minded shmuckeroo to begin with, so I just tried to dust him off.

Ya know, I’ve discovered that there are dummkopfs like this all over the place (maybe most of ’em have “hard stools”), that they only use their heads to keep their ears apart. (Editor: Lao Du remembers this so-called joke from 3rd grade.) Maybe you know somebody like this. This one was obsessed about his health. I think you know the type. No gluten or processed food for them, and lately they’ve begun to develop a preoccupation about their telomeres and oxidative stress. Seriously!

Where the heck do they get this junkola? From the public television gurus? ( From Dr. Phil? From Dr. Oz?) From the homeless walking down the Bowery? From some know-it-all at the ping pong club? (Ed. Maybe Lao Du.) I dunno, but it’s all mostly cock-a-doodle-doo. Take this major theme of the aforementioned lunkhead: processed foods. He says he doesn’t eat that. Baloney! (That’s right – he eats baloney, and baloney is processed food.) What’s wrong with a processed food such as rice? Nothin’ much. It aint gonna kill ya. I mean people eat rice all over the world – for eons! But this butthead is apparently so obsessed with his bowel movements that he won’t touch a grain of it. Thinks his intestinal transit time will be slowed.

Ya know what white rice is? Correct! It’s a grain and, yes, it happens to be a processed food. Sure, they may mill off some of the good parts of the grain – the bran and the germ – so what? Okay, okay, maybe you can’t move your bowels for a week and you’re losing the protein, vitamins and minerals and your gums are gushing blood. But, Bunky, you’re not dying. And it fills you up. And it tastes good. So just shut the heck up about preaching how bad it is. (You wanna go to the bathroom every now and then, just eat some prunes – I hear they’re good for that.) These people hang on to every word from those TV four-flushers. They pop vitamin C pills because they tell ‘em it’ll prevent the flu. (Nonsense – it prevents scurvy.) Whew! So au courant!

Listen, don’t believe all the junk you hear from these sages and the guy down the block who all of a sudden is explaining his obesity on the basis of food being “addictive.” Believe the doctors and scientists. Yeah, the keto diet is good – for people with epilepsy (it’s not a fad for those with convulsions). Yeah, gluten should be avoided … if you have celiac disease. Duh!

And, anyhow, why do all these people have these compulsive concerns regarding ‘slowing down aging’ and just living their lives for better bowel movements? Is that their primary focus? Come on! I’m telling you straight out that no amount of kale and blueberries and broccoli will make you a better ping pong player. Seaweed and probiotics aint gonna get you that coveted 2000 rating. All of that junkola, I tried it, okay? The polyphenols, the flavonoids – all the phytonutrients in the world – I tried it. (Editor: for one full day!) Guess what? Didn’t work. Before the invention of kale and baby arrugala, I seemed to be healthy enough with the iceberg lettuce and Wonder Bread. But, nowadays, you gotta go to those whole food stores to get the organic stuff without the pesticides. Nonsense! So, I decided to go back to Diet Coke and Cape Cod potato chips. You wanna know what happened? I was unbeatable! I was mowing down the bums that had started to beat me when I was on the antioxidants. I resumed my visits to Taco Bell and the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) – got me a foot high stack with plenty of that Aunt Jamima syrup. Turns out, my fiberless, high fructose, aspartame diet hit the spot. Par excellence. My forehand topspin smash returned to its former level of glory and magnificence, and my mood improved ( I was no longer calling every Joysey driver on the Saw Mill River Parkway a dumb bastard). Even my cognitive function was better (I remembered to bring out the garbage on time).

Bottom line: If you think that by eating a lot of berries you won’t get beriberi, then you probably subscribe to a Twitter feed recommending injected bleach for Covid-19. Lao Du
(Editor’s Note: I think we should bury bury Lao Du. Also note that a recent report published in the NYTimes has indicated that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are “tied to lower risk for Parkinson’s Disease.)

How To Find a Spouse Via Ping Pong

We have touted Ping Pong as a remarkable means of improving body and mind, and we’ve noted how beneficial it can be for those with Parkinson’s Disease. But perhaps that’s just too narrow a view of this sport’s potential benefits. Consider this: Ping Pong (table tennis) can also help you choose a spouse. No kidding! Take me, for example. I was married once. Big mistake. I knew that this … eh, vixen, my ex, might have been the wrong woman from the start, but figured I had nothing to lose. I was thinking that if everything else failed, that at least I could use her as a tax deduction. Was a stupendous, stupid miscalculation. I ended up losing the house, the car … my underwear (she got a court order which prevented me from getting even my size 34 stuff in the drawers). Well, my ex had a better lawyah than me (which is to say, more vicious), but all of that pain in court could have been avoided if only I had known that I could have vetted her out by having her play a game of ping pong. That’s right – ping pong! Look, it’s quite obvious that you can’t tell what a person is like by just taking a cursory look-see. Don’t judge a woman by her cheek bones, okay? Put her to the test: A Ping Pong test.
The principle or basis behind this concept is founded on the idea that psychological and physical pressure will divulge the true character of a person. Consider this: When conditions are benign, almost anyone can behave in a proper and decorous manner. Yeah, people gathering with no black clouds interceding, can be cordial and easygoing. But introduce a noxious, extrinsic element and all of a sudden you can tease out the central fibers of one’s true personality. You may discover that behind the Fairest One of All exterior – your pristine Princess Snow White – lies a Vlad the Impaler interior. And, if that be the case, my friend, woe is you! (You’re about to be impaled.)

Now, I ended up with this former spicy wifey of mine (I thought at the time that she was well seasoned), who got into a snit and beat me up in a foreign country. I didn’t know what my medical insurance would cover overseas, and it turned out to be what they call out-of-pocket, and I ended up the Seine without a paddle. I could have tolerated the brow beating from this snarling, overcontrolling, despotic woman a little longer, but when she actually started beating me in the head and kicking me in the groin, I knew she was looking to deprive me of more precious stuff than my Hanes 34’s. But here’s the thing: If I had only played ping pong with her when we first met, I could have avoided all of that craziness and mayhem. And the contusions. Yeah, I could have deduced from the disinhibition that a game of ping pong affords, that little Miss Snow White was a Janus-faced phony who kept a cleaver by her nightstand (a cleaver with the victim’s name on it – mine!, and … embossed yet!).

We might all agree that what you’re looking for in a spouse or partner is someone who is sweet and modest. It would be nice to have some empathy and affection residing in this prospective person, too, but above all you really need someone who is rational and REASONABLE! (Whack Jobs and Space Cadets need not apply.) Generally speaking, then, you wouldn’t want a woman who plays ping pong with an attacking style, because that will usually foretell a life not characterized by Double Happiness (such as suggested by the brand name of the ping pong tables in the club), but one of Double Trouble, such as sorrow and grief (as suggested by a butcher’s table). Better listen to me, Bunky. You want someone who is fair and compassionate, someone who will give you a mercy point when the score is 10 to zero. All right, then you better listen up. Here’s what you can infer about a woman when playing a game of ping pong with her.
Regarding Honesty: Does she cheat with the score, or do you have to keep saying the score after each point because you don’t trust her. Not trusting her after one or two points is definitely a caution alarm.

Does she play like a bimbo or an airhead, or is she smarter than that? Does she swing wildly – a lunatic with a paddle – kinda like a crazy, senseless ditz or might she play timid-style? I mean you don’t want a mouse, either. Can she focus and concentrate on the game or does she have her head in the clouds? Is she the constant coquette, brushing her hair to one side or the other and looking for a mirror. Does she have a wandering eye, looking at the other players, her eyes wandering over to where the guy with muscles is playing?

Does she have a temper? Does she throw her racket. Does she curse? Does foul language emerge when she’s losing? These are the tips of the iceberg. Foul language usually means you’ve got a harridan on your hands. If she uses the “f” bomb, you’ve got big trouble – trouble, my friend, right there in River City!

Is she emasculating – belittling and demeaning you. Does it seem like she wants to deprive you of your manhood by constantly trying to be the boss and wear the pants – telling you how to play, for example?

Does she respect you? When you have a commanding 8 point lead, does she still keep on saying that you’re just a lucky dude? Or, when you have an 8 point lead, does she ask you to adjust her bra straps? (Just tell her you aint falling for that … unless she’s a D cup – and only then if you think you can win the game without your brain connected.)

Does she have an “attitude.” Does she think she’s God’s gift to table tennis.
Does she have grit (i.e., is she clean and neat)? Well shaven? (no grit) Check her fingernails (long nails can be painful), and don’t forget to get a chromosome check (maybe she’s got a hidden y chromosome or something).
Does she have discipline – the self-control required to play good ping pong.
Does this person blame others for her defeat or complain about how lucky the other guy is.
Does she bear arms (check her bags), or does she have arms like a bear? Either way, you better maintain a canister of pepper spray on your person.

Is she kind? Will she in fact give you that mercy point? Or does she take no prisoners. You want a competitive wife? I don’t. I like submissive. If she wants to beat me, I’d drop her instantly. If she can beat me, I wouldn’t want her around for a millisecond, either (we’re entitled to a little pride – you want to have at least one thing you’re better at).

Is she energetic, or falling asleep and bored. Dump that type – you’re not there for her amusement or entertainment.

Is she generous or self-centered? Does she think of others? Does she pick up other players’ balls and respectfully send them back to their rightful owner, or does she just ignore the balls that come her way or maybe just kick them out of the way with disgust and growls, showing her canines in a Doberman pinscher warning display at the players at the next door table because they’ve interrupted her game with one of their balls. This type is dangerous. Dispose of these quickly.

Is she perchance polite? Does she ever say “Nice shot!” If not, you’ll probably want to unload her at the Pleasantville train station (don’t take her home in your car).
Is she evil or antisocial? Does she spit? If she spits in your direction, that’s a very bad sign (plus it’s unhygienic; the club frowns on this). Does she curse? Does she accuse you of cheating? Does she in fact cheat? Does she shake hands, give you a fist bump at the end of the match or just practice a karate chop on you? (If you’re injured by one of her savage nuggies, don’t let her get into the ambulance with you on the trip to the ER.)
Is she humble? Does she accept defeat. Is she big enough to tell you that you’re better than she is?

Let’s take it one step further. Is she just plain nuts? Does she actually think she can win against a man with your obvious manifest talents? If “yes,” then these are very strong signals telling you to dump the broad post-haste.

Does she show gratitude for the fact that you paid 10 bucks so that she could play at the club in the first place? If she kicks back about your payment, just remind her that George Castanza deserved full credit for paying for Elaine‘s Big Salad (on Seinfeld).

So, then, summing up, it’s quite obvious that you can’t tell what a person is like by just looking at her. Appearances, as they say, can be misleading and unreliable. Just don’t judge a book by it’s cover, okay? Malicious, evil-tempered women – harpies, harridans, termagants – though these may sound like genial bird species, beware, they are decidedly not! And you don’t want birdies like that in your nest, believe me.

Remember this, too: Consistency is key. Anyone can be a gentleman or a gentlelady for a short while, and we can all be fooled some of the time. But it’s more difficult to act well-mannered and courteously for most of the time, and if you’re a Phony Fraud a ping pong match will expose these fakeroodies.

The definition of caring is someone or something that shows kindness and concern for others – offers to pay for the club fee, for example. Does she do that? If that’s not in her personality repertoire, and if she takes an hour and a half taking a shower after the game – while you’re waiting around tearing your hair out (whatever strands are left) because you’re dehydrated and wondering if they’ll save your reservation at the restaurant – then dive for the gates. Skedaddle, pal, before she dries off, otherwise, down the line, you’ll be in court facing her vicious pettifogger(s) (her lawyahs with their pointy Italian shoes) who will be going after your family jewels and bank holdings.

If you generally see a pattern developing during the game of a corrupt and depraved individual – I mean if you’re detecting ruthlessness and more than a whiff of cruelty and savage and unrelenting ferociousness (i.e., you’re getting battered in a ceaseless onslaught), then for god sakes, run as fast as your legs will carry you away from this creature, and earnestly hope that she can’t beat you in your life-preserving sprint toward the exits. Because if she catches you, Bunky, you’re toast. This cursing, spitting, screaming, hissing Spitfire will make your life miserable. Take it from me, a man of such experience who has played the She-Devil, married her and has the scars to prove it… and no underwear.

Famous Lao Du Proverbs (a la Confucius) relevant to this discussion:
You may go fishing with your wife, but that doesn’t mean you want a fishwife.
If you want a woman as pure as Caesar’s wife, ask Caesar to give her a divorce.

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