Bowling as metaphor. That’s the topic.
There are rules in bowling just as there are in life. However, unlike society’s, the laws in bowling are immutable. They can’t be appealed or corrupted, struck down or ignored. Bowling requires ten pins in four neat rows and that’s that. Nine pin bowling was banned long ago. (Except in Texas, which — of course.)
The game has its own unique language. A pin rack is a set of ten pins. A pin deck is the spot where the pins stand. The first pin, the one closest to the bowler, is the head pin with the rest arranged behind it in an equilateral triangle measuring 36 inches on all three sides. A bowling lane is 60 feet ( + / – ) from foul line to head pin. Balls, for reasons we don’t need to explore, can have a maximum of 12 holes. And the heaviest legal weight is 16 pounds.
Bowling is a sport played on an orderly playing field. Then a bowler shows up and all Hell breaks loose. Now, if that isn’t a perfect metaphor for life, what is?
However, for the purposes of our discussion, humans aren’t the bowlers. We’re the pins. Which, in my experience, is infinitely more fitting. We’re at the mercy of forces far beyond our control — arrogance and stoopidity top a long list of malevolent factors.
We should look to the 10 pin as role model. It’s the wild card of the bunch, the toughest single pin spare there is. The ball screams down the alley, aiming to mow down the unarmed, defenseless pins. Deers in the headlights are what they are. Dead ducks. Doomed. On impact, the pins fly and crash, sending each other ass over teakettle. Yet, when the dust settles, the 10 pin may be wobbling, it may be spinning, it may even be tilting — but it refuses to fall. It rights itself in defiant resistance of such an unearned onslaught.
And that’s the whole plan: stay on your feet.
Life comes at you fast and it comes at you hard. Bad things can and do happen. The surprise is, the biggest danger isn’t necessarily the ball. Keep a wary eye on your fellow pins and learn from the 10. Take the punch, reel wildly, then shake it off. You, my friend, are a force to be reckoned with.
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