MONSTROUS

Tommy Walker

Did I Really Dish World-Class?

See if you can find the weak link in my logic:

One thing I’d picked up on in reading biographies of star baseball players was that as Little Leaguers they tended to dominate boys who were as many as three years older. Recalling that I was about 2 1/2 years younger than the average sixth grader at the time I became my school’s best tetherball player, your typical Major League superstar wasn’t that far ahead.

Harder to get a feel for one’s comparative standing in the universe as a dishwasher, especially when you’re the only one at your restaurant at any given time and there isn’t an organized league, but because I had this background in tetherball which I could comfortably relate to the far better organized baseball world, I was able to get such a feel. Just reaching back to my tetherball glory days and remembering what it felt like from the inside, far as stepping into that flow state, I experienced myself as being a significantly better dishwasher relative to my body’s development than I ever was a tetherball player. Given that I had projected to a journeyman Major League tetherball player as it was, I figured that I dished world class.

[page 391]

I would never have revisited this passage with an especially skeptical eye were it not for some troubling new information regarding my standing as a dishwasher. Maybe five years after this writing, I glimpsed a coworker on one of my off-days tearing it up, to the point I had a hard time believing that I was any faster in my prime. A formerly world-class dishwasher should never meet his equal or better in his lifetime, certainly not at some Podunk greasy spoon on a tiny island. I have since worked two straight jobs from ages 44 to 47 in which I haven’t even been the fastest dishwasher at my establishment if promoted cooks are included, and I don’t think a world-class disher at age 20 could reasonably be expected to fall off his game so severely in his old age.

Where I think I was most addled was in equating the flow states between tetherball and dishwashing. There is no force working against the state of flow when you’re doing your thing in the dish pit, whereas the object in tetherball is to disrupt the flow of your opponent. So it should come as no surprise that the quality of my flow states in dishwashing were better.

A person might also quibble with my argument’s given, that I projected to a tetherball Big Leaguer, but at least I left the door open as to whether I did or didn’t. Anatoly Karpov became the World Chess Champion by default when Bobby Fischer flamed out, and he has always been considered to be worthy, but should the second best player in one’s third-grade elementary have a snowball’s chance to make the Majors? Maybe so and maybe not.

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December 4, 2013 - Posted by | Monstrous | , , , , ,

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