I was getting set to take my morning shower.  I stripped, then tossed my under-shorts into the washer.  It was the way I did it that Judi found fascinating, not the fact that I actually put my shorts in the washer instead of leaving them on the floor.  I was standing about seven feet from the washer when I launched my shorts into the air like a basketball jump shot.  What particularly caught her attention was my Michael Jordon style and the bent wrist follow-through as the shot left my hand.  Swish, the shorts dropped dead center into the washer. Judi exclaimed with a laugh, “What was that all about? Why didn’t you just drop them in the washer?”

Her comment got me to thinking.  I can count on my hands the number of times in my adult life that I’ve actually dropped a piece of paper trash in a waste basket.  Instead I’ve usually wadded the paper, faced the bucket, and taken what I considered to be a classic three point stance and shot.  I have no idea what I look like as I do this but in my feeble mind, in that moment, I’m the image of a great player making the critical three pointer that wins the game.

In gym class I was never much of a basket ball player.  I hit the rim more often then I dropped the ball through the hoop.  In shooting paper wads, I must confess I’m just about as ineffectual.  I remember during my pre-retirement working days, feeling almost joyous when I had some paper to throw away.  While I had a waste basket under my desk, a neighbor’s basket across the isle was far more enticing and always warranted an attempt.  Sometimes swish, it dropped dead center into the basket.  More often it rimmed out and dribbled across the floor.  Or course, if my neighbor was another guy, he’d see my miss, pick up the wad and launch his own three point attempt at my basket. If his shot went in, you could often see his lips whisper an inaudible “Swish!”

Years ago, I went so far as to envision a national office workers paper wad tournament.  We’d establish rules.  You’d have to shoot from a seated position in a swivel chair.  Each contestant would shoot from various fixed distances.  There would be pressure shots, like a – “Hey the boss is coming!” shot or unannounced, we’d have a girl in a black leather ultra-mini skirt and four inch red, spiked heels walk by just as the shooter was about to launch.  As the game caught on, ESPN would probably give the tournament prime-time coverage.  Teams would have uniforms. We’d have cheer squads and hire coaches.  Scouts would video tape contests to prep paper wad teams for contests to follow. Of course things could get out of hand. As the game became international and wildly popular, companies like Microsoft and General Motors might hire retired pro-basketball players as $500,000 file clerks just so they could stack their team.  Guys like me probably wouldn’t even make the practice squad.

Some co-workers saw the potential in my paper wad tournament idea – they were all guys of course.  Female co-workers scoffed when I mentioned it.  That kind of surprised me because a male’s physical prowess would be neutralized in this game.  And there would be no sweating – girls would surely like that.

Unless someone reading this takes up the cause, I doubt I’ll ever see my paper wad tournament come to fruition.  That’s o.k. though.  I’ll just continue to go through life pantomime-shooting an ever widening variety of stuff into waste heaps.  Like when I take the trash to the township transfer station. They have big steel containers for glass, tin, plastic, etc.  You dump your bag of plastic into the plastic tank, your bag of glass into the glass tank, your bag of tin in the tin tank. You have the option of leaving the bags for the attendant to take care of later which, from what I’ve observed, virtually all women do. But I’ve also noticed that most guys prefer to do their own dumping and only one in twenty hold bags over the tanks and let the contents fall in.  The other nineteen, me included, take out each bottle, each can, each plastic container and launch it into the appropriate cavernous tank using their own all American point-guard shooting style.

I was tapping my maples today prepping for the sap run.  I finished drilling my last tap and installing my last drain spile.  I had one spile left un-needed. The bucket that held my tapping supplies was about twenty feet off in a field of deep snow.  A spile is a very small item and, if dropped in the snow, could easily be lost for weeks, maybe forever if the lawnmower found it before I did this summer.  I had to walk to my bucket to put my extra spile away but ….. you guessed it, the Michael Jordon in me couldn’t let the opportunity pass.  The scene unfolded: it was only seconds to go in the crucial game and we were behind by two points. I did my best point guard pose, squared to the bucket and launched a gorgeous shot from way outside the three point range.  Swish…….. and the fans groaned as the soaring spile missed by just ‘that much’ and disappeared into a field of white. A buck seventy five likely lost to the summer lawnmower.