Play the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It
I swore I’d never blog.
“An exercise in navel-gazing,” I always insisted.
“Time sucker,” I’d throw in for good measure, just in case I felt the tug of the lure.
But then I got sucked into the blog vortex, first group-grogging, then meandering around the blog world and discovering all sorts of fun people who blog (see my blog-roll, which I swear I’ll put together soon!), and damn if I’m not feeling the time is right for me to start up a blog.
But the problem was, what to choose as a theme? I mean, I’m a writer, but I didn’t want to be dispensing writing advice. That’s too dime-a-dozen. Plus people can go to Strunk and White if they have questions on grammar. Not that I bother to go there, but I do have the book gathering dust on a dresser upstairs. Besides which just because I write doesn’t mean I’ve got any great advice to dispense to others. Though I can fake it if you pay me well enough!
Luckily I didn’t have to look very far for inspiration. I’ve written a column of humorous slice-of-life essays for my local paper for several years. I’ve got story ideas/essay ideas/etc out the wazoo. And advice? I’m always ready with some useless ditty that will not help you lose weight, become a better human being, or solve world hunger problems.
So I started thinking about what useful knowledge I impart to my kids all the time, being the sage parent that I am. And the phrases I return to time and again (usually when one kid is arguing that one of the others is getting unfair special treatment) are: “It all comes out in the wash,” and “Play the ball where the monkey drops it.”
I figured any blog with laundry mentioned in the title would send people running for the exit signs. Including me. Same goes with a blog that involves housework, cleaning, or anything that involves drudgery.
But the monkey thing, I liked. First off, I have a thing for monkeys. My oldest always toted a Curious George doll wherever he went when he was younger, and I grew to love monkeys because he did. Plus long ago when I was young and could hike without my heels killing me, my husband and I hiked through the Virunga National Park in then-Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and saw monkeys and gorillas, and I went totally ape over apes. (We were actually charged by a handsome fellow who looked just like this!)
So the line seemed a natural.
But the philosophy behind the phrase really makes sense to me. I was in a very long queue at Barnes and Noble one time years ago and couldn’t help but eavesdrop on some folks in line in front of me. The woman was talking about her husband golfing while on vacation in Thailand or something, and she said there were signs on the golf course with this admonition on them. Seems that monkeys run amok on the courses there, running off with golf balls, even when you’re putting for par, those batards. So the rules evolved that you just play the ball wherever it gets dropped.
And life is like that, I think. You take a hit, you pick yourself up and keep on going. Play the ball where the monkey drops it. Reality spliced with a little humor, which is what I’m all about.
It’s my philosophy, and I hope you’ll be amused to join me as I embark on this navel-gazing venture…although I promise not to ever expose my navel because it is far too fleshy and no one needs to see the muffin-top, ‘k?