Five years ago, a close friend and I decided to join a bowling league together. My friend had just spent a year teaching me how to bowl, and we wanted to see how we’d do on a team together. We joined a summer league for starters. We couldn’t find a Mixed Couples league, so we joined a Mixed Fours one. A girl from our old job agreed to be on the team with us. But we still were one person short. My friend said not to worry, and that they’d hook us up with somebody. Boy was he right!
On the first night of our league, a skinny guy walked up to us, asking if we needed a fourth person. We said, sure. The guy introduced himself as Joe, and the four of us spent the night bowling and talking. Generally, the guy seemed okay, but a few things he said caught my attention:
“I’m 26, I work at McDonalds and I have a job interview next week with Burger King. Oh, I so hope they hire me!” – um, okay, this may seem strange, but I don’t discriminate people by what they do for a living. We have all had our bad times at some point in our lives.
“I’m a Christian” – said to three total strangers five minutes after we met – um, okay, I guess, so are we. I guess it’s a normal thing to say. I guess?
“My family is horrible, they all want me dead” – alright, now we have officially passed from the Kinda-Odd category into the Way-Off. But, who knows? Maybe it was just a word of speech.
“I’m on a diet. I weigh 140 pounds and I need to lose 15. I’m fat.” – NOW I know we have major issues! Come on, I can see every friggin bone in the guy’s body, and he tells me he needs to lose weight? What he needs is professional help!
“We need to name our team Holy Rollers. We need to. We really need to. Write that down, Holy Rollers. You got it?” – so we did. I mean, we were nice people, all three of us, and the guy really insisted.
Thus began the season. I’ve got to tell you that the Holy Rollers majorly sucked. It was my first league ever, and I couldn’t bowl a hundred to save my life. Joe was getting nervous; he wanted us to win. Of course, with his 140 average, Joe wasn’t exactly carrying the team, either.
He was getting stranger and stranger with every week. He just sat there and talked for hours about how his family kept wanting him dead.
One day, my female teammate called me at work. I am not friends with this girl, and that really was the first and last time ever that she called me. She had something important to say.
“Goldie, this is important. When you come to the bowling tonight, if you see Joe’s car, but none of ours, don’t go inside, okay? Stay in your car and wait for us. I don’t want you to be alone with him in there. He’s creepy.”
Yep, he sure was.
Halfway through the season, bad things started happening to my family. My almost-5-yo fell off a ladder in daycare and broke his elbow. It was a bad injury, the nerves were hurt, he required surgery and had steel pins inserted into his bone, he was in a lot of pain and could not move his fingers for six months. He started school a year late because of that. On top of it, Mr. Goldie and I had a major argument and almost split up. As if that wasn’t enough, my Dad had a heart attack. Add to that being on call 24x7 every third week, and you will understand why I was tired and pissed most of the summer. Thankfully, my very supportive family still allowed me to have some “me” time, and continue bowling on the league. On one of my bowling nights, I walked inside to find Joe sitting there all alone. Actually, I knew why. My friend got caught up in a late-afternoon meeting, and the girl had called saying she couldn’t make it that night.
To my amazement, Joe started whining at me like a little girl.
“Nobody’s here. I want to go home. I don’t know how to enter our names into the computer. My family hates me. I’m hungry. I’m tired. And I’m thirsty too.”
“Joe, it’s going to be just the two of us for a while. Come on, let’s play.”
“I wanna go home. I want my five dollars back. All I have is problems.”
That did it. I snapped.
“Dangit Joe! Whhaddaya mean you have problems? I know what problems are. Trust me, you don’t have them!!! I, on the other hand, have real problems, so shut up and start playing already.”
That scared Joe into silence. I typed our names in, and we started playing. A few minutes later, Joe realized that he was indeed having major trouble.
“I’m hungry. And I’m thirsty.”
“Okay Joe, what should I get you?”
“A hamburger and large fries.”
So I did. Joe finished it all in two seconds and continued,
“One problem has been solved. But I’m still thirsty.”
“Okay, what will it be?”
“A Diet Coke. Make sure it’s a DIET.” (Joe is trying to lose weight, remember.)
So I go over to buy him a drink… I bring it back. The man (?) didn’t even help me carry the stuff that I had bought him. He just sat there, being waited upon. He takes the drink from me and goes,
“Did you make sure it’s a Diet?”
“Yes, Joe. I did. It is.”
He finished it off… my friend finally showed up… we bowled the rest of the games… and I never saw Joe again. We had to remain the Holy Rollers for the rest of the season, though… can’t change the team name when the season is halfway through.
To this day, I avoid Burger Kings. Who knows which one Joe could be working at?