Bowling for Sanity

YouTube is the gateway drug of home confinement.

With a channel for everyone and everything, including original content and uploads of old movies and commercials, every view is like a transfusion—a fix—to sate, soothe, or stimulate the bodies of one mass body: a body whose sinews are strands of light, whose points of light are acupoints for two billion users worldwide.

The brighter points are the hands and feet, the parts essential to bowling a bowling ball.

Watching men bowl that ball, watching them hold and hook that ball so as to bowl a strike, watching them watch that ball as it accelerates and spins is a lesson not only in science, but an act of political science in which each man stands his ground by staying in his lane.

No man surrenders his opinion or changes lanes to please the masses.

The game retains its blue-collar ethic, and ethnics, even though players dress like white-collar professionals; like managers in pleated pants and three-button, polyester polo shirts, minus the shoes—the clown shoes—in black and brown, or green and blue, with striped sides and suede accents.

The game also evokes the look and feel of the past, from the neon signs outside to the fluorescent lights inside; for inside, beneath a cloud of cigarette smoke and dust light, sit space-age consoles—projection tables—with built-in ashtrays and fiberglass chairs, where players use grease pencils and acetate sheets to keep score.

The game is the last American game, open to all and preferential toward none, with no luxury seats for the wealthy or box seats for the well-to-do. All sit in the same chairs, for the same price, to play by the same rules.

All do not, however, speak the same language.

The few speak with their arms, in honor of arms borne in battle, by baring their arms.

Each arm bears a symbol—an anchor, an eagle, a chevron, a sword—of devotion.

Outside this league, colors run and all other symbols fade away.

Within this league, every player is a champion.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Getty Images

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