I'm only using this because I've been thinking about the wayback. Oh. . . I've been thinking about a lot of things. Sky has gone. Mostly. I told her to try some shuffleboard, that it might cheer her up, make her giggle. It turns out that she lives in the Shuffleboard Capital of the World, and the famous shuffleboard club is not far from her house. What was once the game of children, drunks, and the aged has now been taken over by hipsters with craft cocktails and small brewery beers. I've seen the pictures. It's a "thing." I have wanted to photograph players of lots of minor games from lawn bowling to cricket, but I haven't gotten started yet.
I've tried. I visited the Lawn Bowling League in a far away town, but there was no sign of activity when I was there. Everything was locked up and the courts didn't look in good shape. My pictures will be very formal, made with large format cameras, people posed rigidly and seriously with their sports equipment. I think that an entire series of these would be wonderful. But holy hell, nothing is ever going on when I get there.
There are other obstacles, too. Most of them are me. But we'll let that alone for the moment.
"Focus, man. You were talking about shuffleboard."
There used to be shuffleboard courts everywhere in my own home state. It was a retirees game that children loved. There were at least two leagues in my area with their own facilities, row after row after row of shuffleboard courts, scoreboards, benches, water fountains, umbrellas--the whole works. They are both gone now. When I was a kid, wherever we stayed on vacation, no matter the motel or hotel, there were always a couple of shuffleboard courts. I haven't seen one, though, for years. Why, I wonder? What happened to shuffleboard?
Well. . . in Sky's hometown, it became hipster cool. This isn't your grandfather's shuffleboard.
I have to get over there to photograph it someday.
Now I'm wondering what happened to all the croquet lawns, too. Croquet had quite a resurgence in the '90s, sort of Ralph Lauren chic. But they seem to have disappeared, too. I need to get busy before everything is gone.
It will take some social media influencer to bring it all back, I guess. Speaking of which, as I have been for awhile, I discovered a fact with which I was unfamiliar today. Liberals use social media more than conservatives. Teens who identify as "liberal" are more depressed than those who identify as "conservative." Girls use social media more than boys. If you are a social media liberal female, then. . . you are not as happy as you might be.
As I have said for years, the only happy people I know are conservatives. Not the radical kind, the Qanon types, but the personally conservative ones. They may be social liberals even, but their lives are mostly traditional. Their gender identities are well defined as are their gender roles. More of their marriages last. They also tend to have more money which may be a factor.
I found these new-to-me facts today in an opinion piece by Michelle Goldberg (link). She is one of my favorite columnists. I don't always agree with her opinions, but she is smart, really, really smart. I like watching her on MSNBC when she appears. She has the sort of demeanor that can infuriate, sort of a self-satisfied, emotionless smugness that is disarming. But I like her. Tons. I like that, as in this article, she can admit to being wrong. She is a seeker, really, an intellectual searcher. She overuses and thus trivializes the word "misogyny," as does much of popular culture, I think, but once you accept her feminist filter, she is swell.
So. . . misogyny aside, what causes teenage girls to be so depressed? Although the article comes to no hard conclusion, I think being liberal is the big one. And I would guess that Michelle Goldberg might be susceptible.
Or maybe it is social media.
What I AM figuring out too late in life, though, is that it is sociopaths, not empaths, who are most successful. I don't know if you have a choice in this area, though. I don't think you can just decide to become one or the other. I think this is another item that needs to be factored into the equation.
There is always more to consider. And, just like Goldberg, I'm not afraid to admit when I am wrong.
In one of our last exchanges, Sky told me she had been down the Eve Babitz/Joan Didion rabbit hole recently. I'm intrigued. I am remorseful in admitting I am more familiar with the personas than the writing. And so. . . my next Amazon orders. Where once I was the tutor, I am now the tyro. Thus are the wonders of life.
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I was just interrupted by a phone call. It was the ortho's office. I've scheduled my hyaluronic acid gel shot for Monday morning. I am nervous. 30-40% of people are not helped by this injection. I'm a glass empty kind of guy, but I'm trying to be glass full on this one. 60-70%. Odds are in my favor, right?
I hope I'm walking soon. Fingers crossed. Wish me luck. If this works, I promise to make some pictures again.