The Squeezing of the Sphere

We learn a great deal about ourselves when we are thrust outside our routine. Our true nature tends to hide behind habitual events until something out of the ordinary forces it out into the open. And then, sightly or unseemly, we must deal with who we are – our true selves, in plain view for the world to see. Put in such a situation, I recently rediscovered something I already knew about myself.

On Sunday, we held an outdoor event for which the weatherman promised 100% chance of thunderstorms. That turned into a few minutes of light showers that didn’t dampen the event one iota. It did, however, make cleaning up on Monday interesting.

One of the things I had to do was pack up a thousand or so stress-relief spheres to be used at future events. The problem being that some were soaked and some were not and it was impossible to tell which ones were wet just by looking. I had to squeeze each one and separate the wet from the dry. This forced me out of my Monday work routine for a few hours.



When given such a mundane task, the mind begins to wander… at least mine does. As I squeezed sphere after sphere, I began to giggle a childish giggle thinking of joke upon joke pertaining to my situation. Guys always appreciate good sphere humor – which ranks just under fart jokes on the Official Male Scale of Wit & Whimsy (OMSWW). Unfortunately, I have no guy at the office with whom I can share such humor. In taste and decorum, I could not share my comedic stylings with my coworkers. Also, I’m trying to pull-off this professional façade and really don’t want to deal with one of those pesky harassment suits.

I am nearly fifty – a mature man by proxy, right?


I sat in my office squeezing my spheres and giggling, teeheeing, and chortling.

But one can’t keep such hilarity to oneself forever. Male humor at this extreme bubbles up and must be shared before the risk of explosion becomes too great.

So I started texting my jokes to my wife in between squeezes and I laughed uproarious guffaws as each one went through. The text conversation was completely one-sided. I figured with the amount of funny I was sending, she was probably having trouble typing as she heaved in laughter or could no longer see through the veil of tears streaming down her face. Maybe Verizon limits the amount of funny someone can receive like data minutes and they were blocking my texts!

Finally, she replied with just five simple words: “You are 5 years old.”


Boy Covering Face Hands Baby Emotions Boy Tie

And this is the fact I already knew about myself.


(Still confused, ma’am? Replace “spheres” with its more commonly used stress-relief moniker and you’ll understand. You can just roll your eyes and walk away now. But if you’re a man, “Yeah, I know. It’s freakin’ hilarious!”)

I Could do That!

Have you ever watched any of those survival shows or National Geographic where someone is trekking through a jungle deep in the heart of Africa against all odds? My favorite was Man vs. Wild. I would sit in my comfy recliner with my bowl full of ice cream while a guy named Bear faced temperatures of -30° and a pack of rabid polar bears and I would think, “I could do that.”

I once watched him squeeze water from elephant poop to avoid dehydration. I could totally do that.

Seriously, that’s how guys think!

We think that if forced into such a situation, our natural instincts would take over and we could do anything. Of course, the first month or two in the wild would force us to shed our extra thirty pounds of office-chair flab to get down to our raw fighting weight. Never mind we aren’t former Commandos with years of training – that isn’t what we lack. We lack only the opportunity. If we had the opportunity, we could discover new lands just like Magellan or lead armies like Alexander the Great. It’s just that we came along too late; there is nothing new to discover. The lack of opportunity is what is preventing us from being bold and daring… oh, and a slight case of bursitis.

But I was recently forced into a survival situation.

My situation started in Walmart. Now I know that can be the very edge of humanity, but I didn’t have to wrestle a 400-pound man in a thong or anything quite so appealing. I had to get dinner. My wife and daughter have been busy with a show, leaving me to spend many evenings as a bachelor.

Let’s define “bachelor” because I was certainly not a good-looking, rich single guy chased by thirty beautiful women. Wrong reality show. No, I was just a lonely man facing dinner choices. I’ve been there before. I have lived in a world of condiments, nachos, and little substance. Granted, it has been nearly twenty-five years. But I can do that!

With errands to run, I stopped at Walmart, which has a full grocery store – two birds, one stone. Saving precious resources already. I meandered the meats and seafood but thought they looked long on preparation and dirty dishes, so I grabbed a what I thought was a name-brand frozen pizza. When I got to the register, my first clue should have been that it rang up for $2.89. Seriously! A large pizza. I should have taken it back to the freezer section immediately. But then I thought, maybe I was about to discover a new delicious, low-cost meal. Maybe it is good. And besides, the frozen food section is way over there…e8a8519c-82e7-4e4b-95cf-5bfc3a7959ae_1.60114a2b9cfe831bc05231c97ee30748

When I took it out of the box, it looked very segmented. Not at all like the picture on the box. A glob of frozen sauce here, some meat there, and fake cheese in an altogether different location. At $2.89, you don’t get mixing. That internal voice in my head told me to abandon ship and go to Zaxby’s, but being a man, I shunned reason and baked it.

I don’t know what price-point the people at Walmart are afraid of. Maybe the $3.15 pizza guys really have the market cornered. But this thing was nasty. The crust was cardboard, the cheese rubbery and the ranch sauce tasted like the antifreeze that dripped into my mouth once during a car repair gone wrong. I seriously considered calling poison control.

I threw it out and left a scathing review on which I am sure will cause them to change their ways. I made a condiment sandwich and turned on the TV to catch a Survivor episode where they were standing in chest-deep, shark-infested water fishing with twine.

And although I cannot master bachelorhood, I knew in my heart that I could totally do that.



*feature image credit:Lwp Kommunikáció via CCI