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7:46 a.m. - 2003-06-08



So yesterday I had to go speak to a group of women, right?

It was supposed to be simple. Just show up, be introduced, go to the podium, thank everyone for coming, say a few words about how glad I am that they decided to pick our city to meet in, thank them again, sit down and eat lunch.

I can do this, no problem.

I show up at 11:20 a.m.

A lady runs up to me as if she's 12 and I'm Justin Timberlake.

"Ohmigod, Mr. Uncle Bob, we are SOOOO excited that you are here!!"

Uhhhh...yeah. I'm pretty fucking stoked about the whole thing myself.

I'm ushered in and I'm sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE PODIUM ON THE STAGE.

All these women are filing in and they're all giving me the once over like I'm some slab of meat hanging in the butcher store window. You know...if it was sanitary for butchers to do such a thing.

It's not too often that I'm the most attractive man in a crowded room. In fact, that usually only happens when I'm the only man in the room. Or when I pay an impromptu visit to the local school for the blind.

They kick off the festivities with a memorial service for all the women in their large group that have passed away in the last year.

The lights go down and we start seeing stills and videos of these women.

I guess I may as well tell you what group this was. I didn't really want to mention it, but to get the full gist of the situation, it may help.

This was the State Association of Women Bowlers. Most of these women had arms bigger than mine. I got the distinct feeling that if I started any shit with any of them, I'd get my ass royally kicked. Hard.

So anyway, they start rolling the videos. The first woman was a burly lady about 65 years of age. The running commentary never mentioned her family or achievements in life OUTSIDE OF BOWLING. It was all "Marge had a consistent score of 185 and never threw a gutter."

Sobs from the ladies in attendance.

This went on for a good 20 minutes, this "memorial" service. There were loud gasps and women throwing themselves on tables in anguish.

I sat there and inspected my fingernails for any foreign matter. I duly noted that I was getting a hangnail on my left pinky and should probably start using lotion more often.

The sappy music that was played in the background while this was going on killed me. "Wind Beneath My Wings". Fine, I can take that.

But they fucking played that "Butterfly Kisses" song which had NOTHING to do with mourning a dead female bowler. That's a father and his daughter getting married or some shit. It was like whoever made this video couldn't find any more songs that said "You were a helluva bowler at one time, but now you're dead." So they just pulled some crap-assed song out of their ass and slapped it on the soundtrack.

The lights finally came up and every woman in the joint was blowing snot globs in their cloth napkins. I felt like I'd get hepatitis from just being in the room.

At this point, they were supposed to introduce all the ladies who were the big wigs with the association. But the lady doing the introducing had to "take a moment to compose herself". Which meant she had to soil about four napkins with her facial fluids while she remembered Large Marge and her wack-assed bowling skills.

I couldn't help myself from rolling my eyes. It was a reflex I'm tellin' ya. It was involuntary. It COULD NOT BE HELPED!

So we're all told to stand while they introduce these women who were running in from two doors on either side of this room like female basketball players running to center court to wave to all the fans.

They played this music that ... it was meant to pump you up, I guess. It was like the soundtrack to every single Junior High pep rally ever. All the ladies were on their feet and clapping to the beat.

But these women weren't exactly renowned for their rhythm. It was fairly simple ... clap on the 2 and 4.

These women were applauding like retarded monkeys. They were all over the place with their scattershot applause. I wanted to grab the microphone from the woman announcing each of these bowlers' names and say "Watch me ladies! You clap, clap, clap, clap, clap like this, dammit!"

Alas, I stood there, barely trying to contain my laughter at their inept clapping skills.

About two dozen women were introduced.

Then came the flag ladies. A bunch of women carrying flags, representing their various counties and cities.

More erratic clapping.

FINALLY, I get introduced.

Here's my speech...verbatim:

"Thank you Linda. Good afternoon ladies. My name is Uncle Bob and on behalf of the organization that I work for that Linda just told you about, I'd like to welcome you all to my city. If you'll excuse me for just a moment, it's not too often that I'm the most attractive man in a crowded room. So I'd just like to take this opportunity to absorb the moment."

(I then stood there, closed my eyes and smiled for a few beats...hoping for a few laughs).

No laughs. One snicker. But no hearty female bowler laughs. Had I ragged on the taste of beer in certain bowling alleys across the state I would have been met with uproarious laughter, punctuated with remarks of "It's so funny, because IT'S TRUE!!"

I opened my eyes and continued, but I obviously was getting nervous and my speech quickly fell apart.

"You know, our city is rich in history and tradition. We have all kinds of things to see. We've got a new mall. And a Cheeburger Cheeburger restaurant that just opened this week! Yeah! And we've got two really nice bowling alleys that I haven't been inside in years, but one time they were really sharp! And uhhhhh... I really don't know what else to say since you didn't laugh at my joke, so uhhhhhh...thanks for having me....enjoy your time here ... and thanks for having me. Did I say that? I did?? Oh. Well...thanks for having me!"

A smattering of applause greeted the abrupt end to my speech.

Luckily, I had told Linda, the lady in charge, that I wouldn't be able to stay for lunch since my wife was working and I had to take my son to her workplace in order for me to do this 30 second long speech. Linda was very grateful that I did it before I did it.

I turned to Linda and said "Can I go now?" She said "please" and I hauled ass out the side door.

Moral of the story ... if you're ever asked to go speak to a roomful of female bowlers immediately after they've watched videos of their dead friends and then snorted at their clapping abilities, DO NOT make jokes about how you're soooo handsome.

They're female bowlers.

They do not f'n care how handsome you are.

Needless to say ... yesterday I threw a major gutter ball with these women.

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