off on the wrong foot


I own my own bowling shoes. This usually surprises people and leads to either a series of questions or assumptions, depending on how judgemental the newly enlightened person is. The assumptions are, without exception, horrifically inaccurate. First of all, I'm not a very good bowler. Never really have been. Anything resembling a sport, even a thing as distant as ten pin, and I do not get along all that well. I'm terribly uncoordinated, have some depth-perception issues and am loathe to do anything that requires more movement than, say, typing. A "good" game for me in bowling sits around 80 points. An exceptional game will have me break 100.

The reason behind owning bowling shoes goes back to strenously avoiding PE in high school. See, I hated PE. My people (meaning the nerds here) don't get along well in that environment. So, I did what any enterprising young brainiac would do: I tested out. Yes, I got credit for physical education through a written test. Well, there were some feats of activity involved, but that was more for show than anything. We had to run a mile and then come back a few weeks later and show that we had improved, by as little as three seconds. And there might have been sit ups and pull ups and I'm pretty sure we did that lame eraser run thing. Oh, and there was a flexibility test, but as a budding yogi I had no trouble with that. Thus, I gained half a year's credit of PE.

Problem was, I needed a full year's credit. I didn't want to push my luck at taking the test again (it was designed for people on teams that didn't count as PE credit but which required a period of school, like the swimmers). Desperate to avoid a semester of humiliation, I discovered that I could take correspondence courses in the realm and have them count. BYU offers an independent study course in bowling. Now, that's the kind of PE I can get behind. I got permission from my guidance counselor, who really liked me for some reason.

I never actually completed the course. Technically speaking, I therefore didn't have enough credits to graduate from high school. Thus, my bachelor and master degrees were gained under, if not exactly false, at the very least falsified credentials. Just don't tell the various institutions that and we'll be just fine.

My mom ended up bowling most of the games with me (around 30, if I remember correctly) and put me to shame every time. I'm glad that I don't have the usual masculine need to best others in sports. It would have been thoroughly embarassing if I did. But if not pride and a sense of accomplishment, I at least got shoes out of the deal. They were cheaper than renting shoes for that many games.

Now, whenever I want to go bowling, I have the added bonus of not needing to use other people's shoes. My younger brother has a very lax sense of ownership and sometimes thinks he can use these shoes. Like he did two weeks ago. And then he left them at work, so I didn't have them when my friend A. came up from Utah County to go bowling. But this story gets better. My dad and I wear the same size shoe. He also owns bowling shoes. My brother, in his haste to borrow the shoes and get to work, grabbed two left shoes. So, I had two right shoes at the house when I went to borrow my father's. Clearly, that wasn't going to work.

When I told A. this story, she thought I should have brought the one right shoe and then demanded to be able to pay 1.75 for the rental of one shoe (it's 3.50 for a pair). I wonder if that would've flown at the alley. I'm guessing not. But maybe I'll try it next time. A.'s got a whole lot of coupons for us to use over the next little while.


Shaun R. said...

I've seen a small part of your shoe collection from when we were roommates. I wouldn't be surprised if you told me you owned ballet shoes. Wait. I shouldn't talk. As I typed that I realized that I used to own ballet shoes. They made us buy them for an opera my choir did. But anyway, my point is with your vast shoe collection there was bound to be a few odd pairs in there.

Petra said...

Why didn't I know this? That is hot. I love bowling shoes.

Prolix said...

Yeah, I second that. Bowling shoes ARE hot. You should get your own ball too.

Anonymous said...

"I got credit for physical education through a written test."

alea said...

shaun- I just weeded my collection, I'll have you know.

petra- I'm fairly certain you were aware of this. I think we even used them once when we went bowling.

prolix- don't think I haven't considered it. Now that I'm employed, perhaps I should.

Petra said...

What? When did we go bowling together? And who has erased my memory?

Oneup said...

You can use my full name.
And you never graduated from high school?!?! I ditched graduation, but I have a diploma. My goodness.

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