Wednesday, June 6, 2012

There are two main reasons why I didn't become a famous basketball star. First, I have zero coordination. It seemed understandable, with my 6'8" body. My brain made decisions quickly enough: I mean, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to realize you should "run over there," or "bounce the ball," or "shoot at the hoop." After my decision was made, though, it had roughly eight hundred miles of nervous system to cover before it reached the relevant body parts. While my brain was getting the decision ready to send, it might as well have packed it some lunch, because it wasn't getting anywhere anytime soon. It'd run out of energy roughly four hundred miles down the road, realizing it should have stopped for refueling at Buttonwillow. By the time my head or hands or feet reacted as required, we'd lost the game and I was standing all by myself in a cold, dark gym.

The second reason is psychological. As I've said before, I was raised by wolves. There was no one around to explain even the basics to me: how to shave, how to shower, how to smize. I gathered bits of information from wherever I could and used my imagination to fill in the rest. That explains the years I spent convinced I'd have two deformed children because I'd gotten hit in the balls.

One of the theories I'd pieced together was this: if you have something that's hairy and smelly, you don't shove it in somebody's face.

Half the point of sex education, I think, was to teach you to keep your dirty bits away from other people. It wasn't particularly easy, because at puberty our count of offensive body parts roughly tripled. Random regions sprouted hair and started attracting mosquitos. We did what we could to keep them under control: we scrubbed them with soap, doused them with hygienic sprays, hid them under thick fabric. And we made sure to keep them away from other peoples' faces.

It made total sense to me. I mean, I knew I had to suck on eighteen Tic Tacs before I could talk to anybody, and I didn't pee out of my mouth.

That's why I never understood basketball. Really, after we tell women that their genitals require an entire aisle of sanitary products to keep in line, we flip on the TV and watch the Unregulated Armpit Parade? The high school basketball coach might as well have said to me, "Roman, we got a shot at taking the title! All you gotta do is keep focused, and keep loose. Oh, and drop your shorts and keep your anus pointed at Marty's face."

There was no way I could play it. In fact, I never really learned how. Maybe if I'd had parents, they could have explained the situation to me. Maybe we got special dispensation to jam our pits in other people's faces because we were athletes, and it was a game. Maybe our pits weren't as dirty as I thought, despite the fact that mine started to fester roughly eight seconds after my Mitchum dried. Maybe it was like marriage annulment in the Catholic Church: we got special dispensation to do preposterous things if we filed the right paperwork.

I guess being gay is part of the problem, too, because we think all those dirty male body parts are sexy. Imagine a female sport where the players keep their opponents at bay by the strategic placement of their pussies. Maybe the straight women wouldn't have any problem. Maybe they wouldn't get distracted. But the lesbians would say, "Hey, why don't we all get a drink somewhere, and forget all about this stupid game?"


S said...

"Keep your anus pointed at Marty's face" is the way to win any game, really.

Yet Another Steve said...

Why you aren't writing for THE NEW YORKER yet, I'll never understand.

RomanHans said...

Because they frown on phrases like, "Keep your anus pointed at Marty's face"? Though apparently it comes in handy when you play a game with S.