By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Another day in semi-retirement

Wick's World


My wife left for work on Monday — simply another day in semi-retirement for me. It was, however, always the busiest day of my week. There was always a lot of work left over from the weekend, however, I got a jump start on Sunday evening by doing as many of Monday’s chores as possible.

I pompously boasted, “Well, the dishes are done, all the laundry is washed and folded and I’m on my way to the post office.” I bragged, “Then I’ll be buying books before noon.”

Buying books twice a week is my favorite job, so I don’t even consider that work. I already made her breakfast and lunch. Dinner was unnecessary, once I remembered Monday nights were reserved for Spanish class.

I was feeling mighty good for a Monday morning when my wife hit me with the four word gut shot that has knocked me off my pedestal too many times in the past. “What about your story?” she questioned.

I felt as deflated as the Hindenburg on its way to the ground. I had completely forgotten about the one deadline a week I have that adds discipline to keep my life from plunging into total chaos. My only problem with this is the fact the deadline comes on Mondays.

The Mamas and Papas sang it quite fittingly in one version of "California Dreaming" with the line, “Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.”

Today was a Monday that couldn’t be trusted. Here I sat with no story, no idea of what to write about and less than two hours until the clock strikes “Deadline!”

The one person in my life besides my wife that I dread letting down is my editor. Although my pledge to her is only to submit a story for a weekly newspaper, I take this pledge very seriously. Maybe it’s more of a promise I make to myself rather than my editor. I respect her profoundly; after all, she is the only boss I have left in my semi-retired life.

So, today I find myself in this pickle. I glance at the quart of Captain Morgan’s rum leftover from our Fourth of July party. I could get pickled and no longer care about stories or deadlines. I have one small problem with this solution. I totally quit drinking alcohol 18 months ago. How could I break one pledge (no drinking) simply to avoid breaking another (meeting deadlines)?

Quite often it only takes a single word or one thought to trigger a story. You may have already guessed today that one word is pickle. Yesterday, my wife and I went to our fitness center to learn the game called “Pickleball.”

The simple way of describing the game comes from the way it was invented in the first place. Pickleball is like playing badminton using a wiffle ball rather than a shuttlecock. One day a future congressman and lieutenant governor of the state of Washington returned from a golf outing on Bainbridge Island with a few of his buddies. Looking for the next round of sport, the guys set up badminton net. Alas, there were no shuttlecocks or paddles to be found. Badminton without a shuttlecock is like being up the river without a paddle. They improvised some paddles with plywood from a nearby shed. Next, they stole the dog's toy, a wiffle ball, and thus the new invention of Pickleball began.

With the inventor being a politician, it comes as no surprise numerous and many unnecessary rules were added to what should be a simple game of hitting a wiffle ball back and forth.

Rather than explain the rules of the game, I will tell you two versions of the origin of the game’s name. According to the inventor’s wife, the best version is the untrue, albeit the most entertaining, account.

With this being a brand new game, the players often found the ball going astray. The family dog was a retriever named Pickles. Who do you think would retrieve the ball when it went astray? It was Pickles, of course, thus the name Pickleball.

According to the inventor’s wife, however, the name came after she stated, “It reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

In reality, Pickles was named after the game was invented. Pickleball arrived on the scene two years before the dog. My wife and I found Pickleball was easy to play. However, the politicians not only complicated the true naming of the game, the rules were a nightmare to learn. I only missed the deadline by six minutes.

The End


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