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Call For Bloggers

Editor:  Lao Du has been responsible for most of the blog entries for Ping Pong Parkinson since its inception.  Mostly, these blogs have consisted of rants and diatribes revolving around his strong distaste for…  well, everything , and they all have been mostly pointless and inanely foolish.  Occasionally he has tiptoed into Parkinson’s Disease topics, but only tangentially.  For the most part, his flapdoodle and screwy-hooey has revolved around sandpaper ping pong and his bountiful ill-will directed at the bane of his existence:  the ITTF (the International Table Tennis Federation).

      But here’s the matter at hand:  Lao Du is a volunteer at Ping Pong Parkinson, but he is not a “Ponger” (i.e., he does not have Parkinson’s Disease).  It’s time, well overdue, that we should have People with Parkinson’s (PwP) write about their own personal experiences from their own unique points of view, and to share their stories, impressions, ordeals and achievements with our expanding group.  It would also be refreshing to hear what criticisms or favorable comments they might offer.  Thus, starting now, we are officially soliciting blog submissions from any and all members of Ping Pong Parkinson.

     (Note:  I will be forced to allow Lao Du to write about satanic pedophiles and alien abductions if we do not get any responses.  And while we are waiting for our first real blogs to come in, I have permitted one last fanciful, mentally aberrant offering from our resident  heretic. )

True Grit:  Sandpaper

     Look at that white thing flying on that table!  It’s a plane.  No, it’s a comet … No, it’s  a meteor.   Wait, wait, it’s off the table now and it’s slowing up.  Holy smokes, will you look at that thing spinning on the floor like a gyro!  Hey, how ‘bout that – it’s a Xushaofa 3 star, ITTF approved, 3.7mg, 40 mm+ ping pong ball.  Jeese, it was moving so fast – I thought it was some kind of celestial body moving through the universe, making a temporary visit to Table # 2 at the Westchester Table Tennis Center before exiting the solar system.  Could hardly see that sucker.  Good gracious!  What the heck could propel such an object at such staggering speed and spin?  Hold on, there’s only one guy who could answer that question. No, not Einstein; he couldn’t tell ya. No, the only guy who knows the answer … is the equipment vendor at our ping pong club.

     Okay, I just talked to the equipment guy, and now I know, too, how that ball reached supersonic status: Someone hit that ball with a Donic Bluestorm Z1 Turbo.  That’s a surprise, actually, because my initial suspicion was that it was launched by a Saturn Five rocket (it’ll get you out of Earth’s orbit if you aim it correctly). 

     Can I tell you somethin’?  I have lived among table tennis players for some time now.  I have seen them up close and have learned of their quirks and idiosyncrasies.  And all of this has not improved my considered opinion that they are mostly techno freaks interested mostly in speed and spin.  Most of ‘em just want to murder the ball.  You wanna know something? That is a misdirected goal with only a fleeting reward. “Fun”  (with a capital ‘F’) should be the main pursuit of all  ping pong players,  except for the most venal and vacuous among us, who only wish to record victories in their personal diaries.   (Editor: Hint: Lao Du keeps a diary.)

     But here’s the question that arises concerning all of this:  Can you have fun without rubbers that cost 75 bucks each, and that you have to replace every few weeks?  Can you have fun without 2 millimeters of sponge covering a Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC  table tennis blade that costs $569.99 (not including the tax)? Do we really need 7 plywood layers interbedded with a few carbon laminations? And do you really need a sweet spot wider than your rear end?  The answer, my friends, lies mainly in … the hands of the misguided ITTF.  Who are they, you may ask?  They are, in fact, the rulers of the universe – that is, the Table Tennis universe.  They lay down the rules from their Mount Olympus (the Greek gods live with them up there) near their posh retreat in Lausanne, Switzerland.  They lay down the law.  That law, unfortunately, does not involve FUN.  It does not include sandpaper. 

     I ask you:  Have you ever tried to play with a sandpaper racket? Well, don’t knock it until you try. Your dimples will suddenly appear while you’re playing (i.e., a smile), because you’ll have longer rallies.  You will begin, once again, to love your neighbors and your enemies.  You will find that there’s a glow about you as you forgive others who have betrayed and treated you badly.  The Holy Spirit will come upon those that renounce the sponge and take up ping pong as it was really meant to be played.  (3M ProGrade 150 or 220 grit sandpaper at Home Depot – less than a dollar a sheet)  Lao Du

PPP: Volunteering

Ya know, I’m getting real tired of those birds I feed every morning.  Bunch of ingrates.  Here I go out and spend over 32 bucks for a sack of black oil sunflower seeds every month – the ones they love the most, the best for their health (high fat content) and the most expensive – and you’d think they’d be grateful.  Nope!  No gratitude, not even when there’s snow on the ground and they can’t find anything to eat anywhere.

  I don’t expect much, really I don’t.  Is it asking too much for a titmouse to occasionally land on my shoulder when I’m next to the feeder, and chirp a few thank yous into my ear?  When I whistle  the sounds of a Black-capped chickadee, wouldn’t you expect a few courteous replies from one of those empty-bellied, starving little avians?  I mean as a show of appreciation.  Nope!  Never happens. And those nuthatches.  Jeese, the nuthatches!  I’ve never known a batch like those  upside down boobies!   Just a bunch of ungracious, disrespectful and inconsiderate frickin’ birds.  All of ‘em!   And if you think the cardinals, sparrows  and woodpeckers are any better – Fohget It!  In fact, they’re worse.  Ya know what they do?  They wait for me to leave the area around the feeder before they greedily go for the free food I’m donating.  And then they fight among themselves.  I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a shameless gluttonous spectacle… that I’m payin’ for.  Jeesh!

Editor:  Lao Du, aren’t you missing something here?

Lao Du:  Yeah, I’m missing something, all right.  I’m missing  the word thanks from the thankless.

Editor:  That’s not what I’m getting at.  See, the gift of giving is actually in the giving.

Lao Du:  Oh, real profound!  Hey! What kinda crapola are you feedin’ me here? Whatta you Confucius or somethin’?

Editor:  No, I’m serious.  You should consider this. You’ve got an open mind, right?

Lao Du:  Me?  Of course, don’t be silly.  Nobody is as open-minded as me. 

Editor:  Well, then listen to what I’m going to tell you about the admirable qualities and rewards that come from giving freely of money, material things, and yourself – the latter of which is a form of volunteerism.  Those birds you feed – you may not be aware of this – but you actually receive plenty of benefits from them.  They’re like your pets.  When you see them, I know you’re less depressed and not feeling the loneliness that the pandemic has foisted upon most of us.  And precisely, in an analogous way, your volunteering for Ping Pong Pong Parkinson – you’re still doing that, right?…

Lao Du:  Yeah.

Editor:  … that also provides you with a host of benefits that I’m sure you’re not even aware of.

Lao Du:  I thought I was volunteering for PD people (PwP).

Editor:  Sure, but you’re probably getting more out of it than they are.

Lao Du:  How’s that?

Editor:  It’s the social interaction, the companionship – it’s good for your brain.  And get a load of this: There are a whole bunch of studies that report that people volunteering to help others live longer. 

Lao Du:  No kidding? For real?

Editor:  Yes, absolutely for real.  Why? I know you’re going to ask me that, so I’ll tell you:  Because it gives you a raison d’etre.

Lao Du:  Raisons ets??  What’s that, some kind of chocolate candy?

Editor: No, no, no!   It’s English from French.  It means you have a reason to exist – a purpose.  You know – a life with meaning.  When you help others, believe me, you are also a beneficiary. 

Lao Du:  What kind of fish is that?

Editor:  You’ll live longer, okay?  Just leave it at that.  Yes, just tell all the people who volunteer to play ping pong  at PPP that they’ll live longer.

Lao Du:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, fine.  But what am I gonna do about those frickin’ birds?

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