Are you talking to me? | Opinion

By Ellyn Laub

Special to the Sun Sentinel

Jul 15, 2021 10:14 AM

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Ellyn Laub

Ellyn Laub (Ellyn Laub/Courtesy)

So the other day, my husband Jeff told the funniest joke I’d ever heard. OK, yes he’s a comedian and I’ve heard him say plenty of hysterical things over the years. Actually, since the ‘60s, way before he ever thought of becoming a comedian, he’s been cracking me up nearly every day. But this one took the cake. He asked me whether I would consider entering the December Delray pickleball tournament with him as a mixed doubles team. I was taking a sip of tea at the time and nearly did a spit-take before I started laughing my head off.

I’ve been replaying that moment in my head for the last 48 hours and go into fits of hysteria each time I think of it. The funniest thing about it is that I think he was serious. Has he met me? Has he met us?

The December tournament is a real happening. The atmosphere is so much fun. I enjoy cheering him on in the Men’s Doubles category. I root for other friends both men and women who enter in their own categories. And if you want to know the truth, I feel a slight twinge of regret at the end of each tournament season that I didn’t enter, just for the fun of it.

But then I realize what a head case I am even during little tournaments in our community. Shots that I’d never miss in real life become monumental efforts to get when I’m in a contest situation. I overrun, I over hit, I overthink and before you know it, the match is — yeah you get it — over. Hey, I sometimes choke even when I’m playing a regular game in a court close to spectators who tend to watch. And never mind when Jeff is watching me. All he has to do is show his face and I hit that ball right into the net or out of bounds.

And forget about actually playing together on the same team. I can let just about anyone else in the world coach me, but once Jeff opens his mouth about what I should have done, I go nuts. And let me tell you, he hardly lets a shot go by without a comment. OK, so he does commend my good shots, but there are many fewer of them when he’s standing right next to me. The surprising thing is that for a while there during the height of COVID while our courts were only allowing singles play, he and I played together nearly every day. We drilled, we played and if you want to know the truth, I let down my wall and allowed him to give me pointers. Pointers that I’ve now taken with me into my own games with my own friends. Pointers that have raised my level of play. And so I should be grateful. But still, that was quite a while ago and I’ve since fallen back into my old insecurities as far as my husband is concerned.

And so you can see what a comical question he asked me. Funniest ever until just yesterday when he outdid himself. We’d lost cable and internet for most of the day and decided to watch “City Slickers” on DVD, a movie we hadn’t seen in years. Good thing we haven’t yet disposed of our old DVDs. Anyway, it was really wonderful, still and again. One of the bonus features showed real people who had been inspired by the plot of the movie, taking vacations on real working ranches and learning how to go out on cattle drives. Hey, think you would want to do something like that for our 50th anniversary? And when I just looked at him awry — you see, at the time he asked that question he was icing his knees, his back and his shoulder after playing a few hours of pickleball. What, you think we’re too old to go out on a cattle drive? I tell you I haven’t been able to catch my breath since. Maybe it’s time for Jeff to take his show on the road. This material is priceless.

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