The Grasshopper
I listened to an audiobook version of The Upanishads in the car on the way over to the basketball court as a way of focusing myself. Playing three times a week now, basketball has become a transcendent experience for me, a kind of sacred space where I can breathe freely and be a vessel for the good spirit.
As I walked onto the court, I noticed something at the free throw line, took a closer look, and found this little guy:
There is a courtesy recognized on most American basketball courts and it's this: if somebody is presently using a particular rim as you come on to the scene, you are expected to take one of the other available rims rather than just barge in and take over the occupied rim.

The grasshopper stood on the free throw line, fifteen feet in front of my favorite rim. I walked over to him, leaned in closely, said hello, and then went down to the rim at the opposite end of the court to shoot around for a while. He didn't have a ball and wasn't wearing sneakers but he was definitely holding that rim and it seemed only right to acknowledged that.

I shot around for about an hour, occasionally checking in on the grasshopper to see if he was still there. He was. He moved around a little but held his territory and I felt it was important to be mindful of that. When I was done, I walked over to him, bent down, wished him well, and bid him a respectful adieu.

As I drove away I turned The Upanishads back on and allowed all those thoughts to continue flowing through my head. One of the things that all religions get right is the practice of repetition. For me, a basketball court is like a church. It's a sacred space that I keep going back to where all that is good in the universe can flow through me on its own terms.

Copyright © 2017 John Bizarre

May 20, 2017

As comfortable as I am in my own skin I still occasionally feel bad that I simply don't give a shit about professional sports and often experience violent fits of yawning when forced to endure discussions about it. I usually slip into the sportsbook after my set not because I have any interest in what is on the giant screens in there but because the chairs are big and comfortable and seem to create a "ball tingling" effect, and that's all I'm legally allowed to say about that.

During those moments I usually read through the headlines from a few of the international news feeds or listen to something interesting on youtube with my cell phone up against my ear. Tonight an old guy sat down next to me in the sportsbook and started talking about the Mariners while I was listening to Christopher Hitchens discuss the Barbary wars. I didn't want to just ignore the poor bastard so, in trying to be polite, I said..

"Yeah, heh heh, who knows, right?"

I still have no idea if that was an appropriate response.

By the way, when I misspelled the word "listen" in the last paragraph my autocorrect turned it into "lepton", a word I was not familiar with. I looked it up and it can mean both a pre-Euro, Greek monetary unit worth one hundredth of a drachma or a subatomic particle that generally shows indifference toward interaction, much like me in the sportsbook, which I find to be an odd coincidence.

I'm just as out of place in a conversation about professional sports as I am in a conversation where gay men are talking about shoe fashion. I smile and nod and stare off in feigned thought wondering when the conversation will turn to Thomas Paine or Bela Tarr or The Upanishads or why REO Speedwagon hadn't been taken into a back alley after their first album and beaten to death.

Fortunately I have a wife who understands me and accepts me for the chronic outsider that I am. I'm lucky. A lot of married guys complain about not getting enough sex. I don't have that problem because I used to be a pastry chef. I'll be sitting on the couch watching a movie with my wife and she'll say, "How do you feel about going in that kitchen and making me a creme brulee?" and I'll say, "How do feel about taking off those pajama bottoms for about five minutes?"

Everybody wins and we're working off the calories.

I don't like when people use the phrase, "That's billion with a B!" as though I have no ability to distinguish between consonants. Go fuck yourself. That's fuck with an F.

I wonder if the reason I had so much trouble in school was because I simply don't have what are often described as "birthing" hips.

I think it's weird that spanking the monkey, snapping the carrot, beating the bishop, and whipping the one-eyed wonder worm all refer to the same thing. Yet pumping the prisoner for a confession does not. This is a disconnect that needs to be addressed.

In summation I would like to say that none of this adds up.

Copyright © 2017 John Bizarre