Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bumper Crop of Prejudices

 This guest post is a part of a series featuring my amazing and hilarious co-authors of the book "I Just Want to Pee Alone". 

Please meet Stacey, who is both delightful and attractive and apparently an excellent bowler. I love this picture of her so much because she looks like she could be one of my cousins.

Here is a little more about her: 

Stacey Hatton is a former pediatric RN, mom of two and humorist. You can read her crazy antics on her blog, Nurse Mommy Laughs or on Facebook or Twitter. She is also a featured columnist for The Kansas City Star newspaper, published in numerous parenting and health magazines, and recognized by the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. Her humor essays can be found in her best-selling book, “I Just Want to Pee Alone” and “My Funny Major Medical.” 


With all the discourse in the country, I have grown weary every time I witness another type of discrimination. And for sure, I never would have imagined this atrocity would have rooted so close to home. Now I’ve been around-the-block a few times and thought I had seen it all; but this time I had to shield my children’s ears and have my husband take the kiddos to the car, so I could finish this battle and stand up for what I knew to be right.

Did you know that persons over the age of 12 cannot use bumpers at the majority of bowling alleys?! Not familiar with a “bumper?” They are lovely rails which completely cover up the gutters on both sides of the lane, enabling the ball from becoming the ole gutter ball! My kids are under 12 and get to use bumpers - to improve their handicap - but a horrendous bowler like me, who really needs extra help in the sport, can’t even bribe the 15 year old behind the counter to lower the bumpers. Now what kind of ageist thinking is that?! 

“I promise I’m not going professional!” I pleaded with the teen. “Next time just hit the button and show this gal your bumpers.” Probably not the best choice of words, and he feared the word “Cougar” was going to appear on my forehead with the flash of the black light.

“Ma’am. (Ouch!) We have rules and only children under 12 can have bumpers,” replied Sparky, the whipper-snapper. Why I outta call your mother…

You see the problem arose when I was playing with my family one peaceful Saturday afternoon. My husband was playing quite well, my young girls were learning the game and benefiting from the use of bumpers, and I was…to put it lightly…el stinko. Thankfully, I’m not the most competitive sportswoman, so I cracked jokes about my perfect form and how there was a 50/50 chance that the girls would get my superior bowling gene. Luckily they are too young to understand this and won’t be scarred by the thought!

Then there was a turn of tides. Munchkin #2 decided during the 7th inning…Act…time to bowl, or whatever it’s called - she was tired and preferred to people watch and eat popcorn. Since I am not the Tiger Mom, I agreed and thought this the perfect opportunity for me to improve my skills by taking her turns. My husband and older daughter agreed, since I had the lowest score of the family of four, this was necessary. Very generous of them, don’t you think?

Now I had the opportunity to bowl with the best of the best: the big dogs…yes, the BUMPERS!! Each time I approached the lane and slowly drew my arm back, smoothly rolling that glistening bubblegum pink ball down what I thought was the middle of the lane; it gleefully bounced back and forth off each bumper several times, ricocheting like a pinball machine – and sweet victory with every roll! Eight pins, a spare, a strike!! I was like that really famous bowling guy everyone knows…you know the one…oh, well – whatever. It was stupendous!

My kids were cheering and jumping up and down for me. My husband was so proud and me, the non-competitive gal from the Midwest, teared up a bit knowing with persistence and practice (and some huge bumpers) I improved. What a good example to set for my children.

So when we returned our shoes and patted each other on the backs for our fun family outing, I asked Sparky why adults couldn’t use the bumpers, if they were really bad at bowling. Well, you know how successfully that conversation went. 

From this soul-crushing experience, I decided to start a petition for challenged bowlers. Discrimination against age and lack of skill is unjust, and “in order to form a more perfect union” for the people of this beautiful land, we all need to stand up for what is right. If you wish to join this petition, or get our bumper sticker, “Bumpers for all Americans!” join me and other challenged bowler citizens – for prejudice in any form is unacceptable!
(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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