We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are

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Table-tennis. We had a table at work, and so I started playing any time I could, with whoever I could. I’d played a little when I was a kid, so picked it back up quickly and started getting half decent.

Eventually, I started playing with one coworker fairly regularly. He was good, no doubt. At first he was clearly just volleying with me, not actually putting it away when he’d get the chance. This made it more fun for me to be sure, and offered me great practice.

CON’T…

Anyway, after about a year, I’d gotten to the point where I could cream everybody I’d play with ease, except him. And our games had elevated drastically, to the point of all out smashing the ball back and forth standing 10 feet away from the table. And I actually started winning some games every now and then. I was ecstatic!

Well one day, after losing a pretty heated game to me, and me being juts a little bit pompous about it, my table-tennis buddy/coworker pulls a total Inigo Montoya on me – flips the paddle from his left-hand (which he 100% consistently used when playing against me) into his right and says to me, “You know I’m right-handed, right?”. I did not. Nor did I ever win another game against him

I began piano lessons at an early age (5) and my parents and my teacher made me believe I was some kind of fabulous child prodigy. I later found out I was merely a worm compared to real pianists. But I did enjoy playing the piano, so there’s that.

I felt pretty good at Excel. I’ve done all sorts of sophisticated string manipulation, calculations, pulled data from an SQL server, wrote basic games, such as black jack and dice poker, created all sorts of VBA, scraped information from the web, and automated filling out online forms.

Then I read about the guy who created a functional 3D game engine in Excel. I can’t even begin to grasp that.

8 ball and 9ball. I had a table at home and would practice while watching tv. No one could beat me. In college I’d play a $1 a ball, everyone owed me money.

Then I played someone that regularly entered tournaments. I was lucky if I got to shoot because he was running the table every game.

Fighting, I won a shit ton of Amateur MMA bouts and a few professional, but then I met someone who beat the fucking brakes off of me for like 3 rounds and then choked my ass out.

Turns out, I am pretty okay at it, but I am no World Champion lol

Driving. Everyone thinks they’re a good driver. Sit along with a professional driver as they go through a course, and then try to do the same? So humbling.

Skiing.

Thought I was the quickest of the quick, craving perfect parallel lines, living my life on the edge!! Nope, Ski Team whizzed by me when I thought I was going fast. Turns out, I’m just a buffoon on two planks snowplowing around ungracefully

Ping pong. I made the mistake of playing an old guy that hangs out at one of the bars and he fucking wrecked me. It wasn’t even close, he returned all of my best serves effortlessly and would put the craziest spin on all of his shots. He gave me good advice afterwards and told me I play too fast for my own good, I bought him a drink and shamefully went back to my friends.

I thought I was pretty good at Tetris. People who saw me play were quite impressed. Then I started playing Tetris 99. Turns out I’m not that good…

Okay I’ll jump in. In my late 20’s I had never lost a single game of Scrabble in my life. I have a pretty large vocabulary and a talent for pattern matching, so I was always able to come up with very long words and find high bonuses to place them on. (The true Scrabble players are already laughing at me.) Well I was looking for something to do with my time and decided to try the local Scrabble club.

I’ll cut to the chase: I didn’t win a single game. I didn’t even present a challenge to a single player there.

As a 23 year old birder, it’s humbling to be beside a retired 70+ year old who can see birds where none seem to be… and IDENTIFY them!

My dad likes gardening and loves his plumeria. He has about 30. He recently found a local plumeria club on Facebook and went to a meetup. He was the only one there with less than 100. My mother has stopped complaining about him having too many plumeria.

Guitar Hero. I never met anyone who could beat me, then I saw a dude on youtube 100% Bark at the Moon with his back to the screen and I’m done.

I think I’m a pretty solid writer.

Every now and then I read a novel that just makes me think, Well, I love you. But also fuck you a little bit.

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