Bowling Night Aflight

TO WIT

October 02, 1994|By DAVE BARRY

Women often ask, "What do men really want, deep in their souls?"

The best answer -- based on in-depth analysis of the complex and subtle interplay of thought, instinct and emotion that constitutes the male psyche -- is that deep in their souls, men want to watch stuff go "bang."

When I was about 10 years old, my friend Neil Thompson and I found a heavy, old industrial washing machine that somebody had dumped in the woods. We spent an entire afternoon laboriously rolling the washing machine up a hill and pushing it off a small cliff. It would tumble down and smash onto some rocks, and we'd down and start rolling it back up the hill again. VTC would never have expended that kind of effort on anything useful, such as mowing a lawn. But it was worth the hard work. Because of the "bang."

Of course as males mature and become responsible members of society, they are less likely to spend their time pushing washing machines off cliffs. They are more likely to pursue an activity such as Car Bowling. This is an exciting new sport that I found out about from an alert reader named Robert Grimm. He referred me to a friend of his named Mark Luman, a pilot in Michigan, who informed me that he and his friends sometimes, for recreation, is go up in airplanes and drop bowling balls on cars.

At this point, many of you women are thinking, "They drop what? On what? From what??" Whereas you men, because of your complex and subtle psychic interplay, are thinking: "When can I do this?"

I have to admit that the idea of Car Bowling appealed to me, although I did have a couple of concerns, the main ones being:

1. Are there motorists in these cars?

2. Do the pilots wear rental shoes?

I am pleased to report that the answer to both questions is "no." Luman told me that in Car Bowling, you use an unoccupied junk car, which you place on the runway of a private airport. Then you fly over in a small plane, going 80 to 90 miles per hour at an altitude of 20 to 50 feet, and attempt to hit the car with a bowling ball. If you succeed, you get the sense of inner spiritual gratification that comes from seeing what happens to a car that has been hit by a bowling ball. But the beauty of Car Bowling is that even if you miss, you get a very positive result, from the male perspective.

"You cannot imagine," said Luman, "how far a bowling ball will bounce when it hits a hard surface at that speed. It's amazing."

But fun though it is, I believe that Car Bowling could be adapted to provide major social benefits in the field of shopping-mall parking enforcement. Think how many times you've been inconvenienced at the mall because some jerk has left his car sprawled across two parking spaces. Right now little can be done about this, because the law prohibits mall security personnel from writing parking tickets. But the law does not specifically state that mall security personnel may not drop bowling balls on improperly parked cars from low-flying aircraft.

Oh, sure, there would be a certain degree of risk. You cannot guarantee 100 percent surgical accuracy with this kind of operation; you're going to have some unfortunate situations where an errant bowling ball, traveling at 85 miles an hour, blasts through the wall of, say, a crowded greeting-card store. But that will be a small price to pay if motorists start showing some respect for the parking-lot lines.

?3 Speaking of high-speed bowling balls, here's a:

Trebuchet update

You may recall that some months ago I wrote a column about three Texas guys -- John Quincy, Richard Clifford and Don Capers -- who want to build a trebuchet, a medieval weapon similar to, but more advanced than, a catapult. I'm pleased to report that they've made important progress in the form of producing hats, T-shirts and official stationery that say "International Hurling Society."

Also, they made a video. It opens with a shot of their prototype trebuchet silhouetted against the sky; dramatic music is playing. A somber voice says: "We have created a weapon of war that the world has not seen in more than 500 years. Why?"

Then another voice says: "I have no idea."

This is followed by scenes of the prototype hurling bowling balls an astounding distance. Watching it, I couldn't help but think: This thing could definitely bring down a small plane.

Not that I am suggesting anything.

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