I associate beer with bowling. Well, beer and The Big Lebowski. And I know that if I’m gonna pick up a ten plus pound ball, it’s a good idea for me to drink before I toss it, and to watch The Big Lebowski before I arrive at the ally.
But when I get there, I don’t order beer. No Bud Light for me, no sir. First of all, I have to show I.D. to the bouncer at the door, and so I don’t feel like this is a beer sort of joint. I flash my license, I get a cocktail. It’s my rule.
Rule number two, keep the drink order simple at a bowling ally. So I order a Burnt Fuselage. Not really. I order a Vodka and Redbull. Then I get a pair of those awesome bowling shoes that kids in high school used to steal to be cool, and I sift through the balls, lifting and testing the finger holes in a few before I select the perfect ball. I’m ready to go.
I bowl backwards, meaning I release my nine pound pink bowling ball with my hand in front of the ball and with a flick of my wrist. It looks awkward, at best, and like I’m gonna break my arm, at worst. So it’s fun.
There’s a lot going on at Lucky Strike, tonight. Almost all the lanes are filled. The level that the music is blasting at makes every conversation a screaming frenzy. Videos of Tiffany and Eminem and Taylor Swift and Metallica play on giant screens at the end of the lanes, one after the other.
The lights go out. Neon lights replace them. I take a sip of my drink. I flick my wrist. Strike! A few frames later and I’m still on a roll with strikes, or at least spares.
“How are you doing that?” A few confounded compatriots sip their own cocktails, and a few beers, wanting to know my trick.
“I dunno. Maybe I’m just lucky at Lucky Strike.”
Should I tell them I was on my high school bowling team? Well, sort of. It was more of a weekly club, but it was the closest to high school sports that I got.
“You’re not allowed to bowl with us anymore.” That’s the next thing they say. Not okay.
So I admit my secret. I’ve bowled backwards since I was fourteen. I’ve had some practice. But this Lucky Strike is a new experience. I never bowled tipsy in high school.
I do a dance of victory akin to a cocky quarterback wiggling his knees after a touchdown.
I’m no longer allowed to bowl with my friends.
But if you ask me what I do for recreation I’ll still tell you, “Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.” Or maybe I’ll just say I bowl backwards, and I’m looking for someone to join me.