This is a dangerous sport we’re engaged in. Who would have thunk it? Ping Pong? Hey, you should be asking yourself whether you should you let your toddler start playing ping pong in the first place (think football as a possible safer alternative; maybe rugby). Your little rugrat can get a finger caught in the net. His head could hit the table. And then there are the rest of the injuries connected with the sport – that’s the quandary parents are facing these days. I’ll tell you straight out: I wouldn’t let my kid play ping pong. No way! I mean you’re talkin’ real pain and suffering from arthralgia, myalgia , neuralgia, proctitis (well, maybe not that), arthritis and rheumatism – all kinds of ‘itis’es and ‘isms’ and ‘algias’ – enough to make you sick. As I write this, my shoulder is killing me, and that’s after taking two Advils. And, of course, I can hardly put any pressure on my right knee – the one without a meniscus. My Achilles is acting up, too, which is right next door anatomically to my plantar fasciitis (that’s not a political affiliation, by the way). I blame it all on ping pong.

Editor: Lao Du, you aren’t an orthopedic surgeon, how would you know about Ping pong injuries?
Lao Du: I’ll tell ya how I know: I’ve had ‘em and I’ve got ‘em – that’s how!
Editor: Are these purported conditions that you profess to have, would they happen to be just some more excuses for why you are losing to just about everybody these days? I hear that some baby tots and moppets are even wiping the floor with you. And they’re still in elementary school!
Lao Du: Well, for your information, this one baby tot that you’re referring to, has lessons just about every hour on the hour.
Editor: But, come on, my Chocolate Labrador weighs more than she does. She’s tiny, and maybe not even potty-trained yet.
Lao Du: Yeah, but your Lab can’t beat me ‘cause he doesn’t take lessons like she does. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s not fair – all of that there professional instruction.
Editor: Well, what’s stopping you from taking lessons?
Lao Du: They charge more than a buck and a half an hour.
Editor: Oh, yes, I should have known. It’s your penny pinching.
Lao Du: Frugality! Thriftiness!
Editor: Okay, okay. Well, tell us more about your ping pong injuries. You were telling me you had some loss of muscle, is that right?
Lao Du: Yep, it’s called sarcopenia, and it’s so inconvenia. I’ve got all of these “itus-es”, too. I’ve got tinnitus, bronchitis, dermatitits, vaginitus. ..
Editor: You have vaginitis???
Lao Du: Sure, I don’t discriminate.
Editor: And how would you explain your irrational behavior.
Lao Du: I know what you’re thinkin,’ that it’s dementia because my brain is in absentia. Nothing further from the truth ! My brain is not flickering, so stop your snickering.
Editor: How would you explain your keratosies and the lack of elasticity of your skin?
Lao Du: I can’t. It’s true: my skin has the elasticity of all of my worn-out underwear.
Editor: Which you refuse to throw out, right? What about the keratosies?
Lao Du: I practice good eating habits. Why should a guy who eats Post Toasties get the most keratosies? And why we’re at it, why should a guy who eats Wheaties get diabetes?
Editor: Probably because they rhyme. What about your knee and ankle? How could they possibly be ping pong injuries if you keep saying that you tore your meniscus on a hibiscus and ruptured your Achilles in the Lesser Antilles?
Lao Du: Well, I happened to be playing ping pong in Tortola with a woman named Lola, who all of a sudden demanded some Cola. When I reached for a bottle of RC, that’s when I incurred the wrath of the ping pong gods.
Editor: What happened to Lola? Did she beat you?
Lao Du: No, she slipped a disc while sipping some bisque.
Editor: I though she was drinking Cola?
Lao Du: She changed her mind.
Editor: All in all, it sounds like you’re falling apart.
Lao Du: I am falling apart. I got degeneration. I got necrosis. I got tendinosis and tendinitis (which hurts me during the day, too). I got microtears and macrotears in my joints.
Editor: You are indeed very tearful. Maybe you should give it a rest and stop playing ping pong. Or, can’t you think of another sport to play where you’d have a good chance of beating prepubertal children?
Lao Du: Tiddlywinks. I could probably do well in that, but there’s no glory in it. “Tiddlywinks Champ 2020” is not something I want etched on my tombstone.
Editor: All right, I’ll think I’ll end it there. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Lao Du: Yes. I just want to wish everyone a Happy Ash Wednesday and a good Lent season.
Editor: Eh, you may have the wrong holiday. I think you mean you want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Lao Du: Yeah, okay.