Painting A Picture

Since I make my living attempting to make my words paint a picture—or at least a good doodle—I don’t usually subscribe to the hooey about a picture being worth a thousand words.

Not everybody feels this way, of course. Napoleon said, “A good sketch is better than a long speech.” And, truth be told, I find myself sometimes agreeing with Napoleon, even though I do think it depends largely on who is doing the sketch and on who is speaking. For example, I have no idea whether Martin Luther King Jr. could draw. But, still, I imagine that a sketched version of “I Have a Dream” delivered to the crowd in Washington via overhead projector would have been something of a train wreck. You see my point.

On the other hand, this photo of me, above, actually illustrates Napoleon’s philosophy nicely. I could give you the background here: Setting the stage by telling you that I’m in Santa Barbara, California, at an alley called Zodos, competing in a company tournament with 30 or so of my coworkers.

I could describe the slickness of the lanes, and the tiny fear I had in my gut each time I went up to roll the ball down the lane that I would slip on the wax and land hard on my tailbone—as hard as my throws landed on the lane itself. I could explain that this was my first time with the big balls—since I’m a New England girl, I’m used to little balls. (I’m talking about bowling, people, bowling!) I could tell you that no one wanted me on their team.

And I could also tell you that, if you are looking for some durable hardwood flooring, ask the folks at your local bowling alley what kind of wood they use on the lanes. Because every single one of my throws landed like an H bomb on a New Mexico test site, and you’d expect a pretty big crater and perhaps a mushroom cloud from the rubble. But not once did the flooring crack or give way, which I thought was pretty impressive.

Anyway, I could tell you all that… or I could just let the photo speak for itself. If it could, it might say something like, “Holy shit! What is she doing? Is she having a seizure? Is she releasing a homing pigeon? This is bowling, lady, not slow-pitch softball! Geez, she really wasn’t kidding about that bit about being stunningly unathletic, more Eeyore than Seabiscuit. She really deserves to be the one standing on the sidelines, last-picked for the team. She really should be afraid of the ball—any ball—because I’m pretty sure that the lane management are terrified of it, at this point.”

Of course, that’s less than a hundred words, let alone a thousand. But still.

Photo credit: Sharon Edwards

Total Annarchy

Join at least a handful of your peers and all of Ann's relatives. Get new posts by email.

OR Subscribe via RSS Reader

70 Responses to Painting A Picture

  1. antje wilsch says:

    good story :) sometimes the pictures need explaining, sometimes the story needs a picture to put it all together

    happy storytelling!

  2. antje wilsch says:

    good story :) sometimes the pictures need explaining, sometimes the story needs a picture to put it all together

    happy storytelling!

  3. Kelley says:

    Hilarious! I actually went to Zodos today at lunch for a quick game with a friend, but all the lanes were taken due to this tourney….Too bad I did not know it was you guys!!

    BTW, pretty sure I look just like the pic when I bowl.

  4. I never have understood how bowling lanes stand up to the punishment. I think they’re made from kryptonite trees.

  5. Kelley says:

    Hilarious! I actually went to Zodos today at lunch for a quick game with a friend, but all the lanes were taken due to this tourney….Too bad I did not know it was you guys!!

    BTW, pretty sure I look just like the pic when I bowl.

  6. I never have understood how bowling lanes stand up to the punishment. I think they’re made from kryptonite trees.

  7. Bdot says:

    Are those rented shoes? I wonder what stories THEY could tell. Never mind, I don’t think I want to know.

  8. Bdot says:

    Are those rented shoes? I wonder what stories THEY could tell. Never mind, I don’t think I want to know.

  9. Cam Beck says:

    When you have a weapon in your arsenal like your writing, you don’t use photos to tell your story unless it’s really remarkable. :)

  10. Cam Beck says:

    When you have a weapon in your arsenal like your writing, you don’t use photos to tell your story unless it’s really remarkable. :)

  11. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all…

    @bdot: Yes — shoes are rented, and closed with a Velcro flap, to boot. Which seems fitting given my general lack of coordination there. I’m quite sure that the laces would have proved challenging.

    @cam beck — Thank you. This photo was it for me.. particularly since I had an entirely different picture in my head of how I looked bowling. I thought I was more fluid and graceful… then I saw the evidence to the contrary!

  12. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all…

    @bdot: Yes — shoes are rented, and closed with a Velcro flap, to boot. Which seems fitting given my general lack of coordination there. I’m quite sure that the laces would have proved challenging.

    @cam beck — Thank you. This photo was it for me.. particularly since I had an entirely different picture in my head of how I looked bowling. I thought I was more fluid and graceful… then I saw the evidence to the contrary!

  13. Peter Kim says:

    I’m thinking we may have to have a Wii Sports bowl-a-thon at the B2B Forum in June.

  14. Peter Kim says:

    I’m thinking we may have to have a Wii Sports bowl-a-thon at the B2B Forum in June.

  15. Mack Collier says:

    Can you imagine the reaction of the guy that buffs the lanes if he was walking by at this moment? That ball would have been his life flashing before his eyes.

  16. Mack Collier says:

    Can you imagine the reaction of the guy that buffs the lanes if he was walking by at this moment? That ball would have been his life flashing before his eyes.

  17. Christian Gulliksen says:

    You can’t teach people to lob balls like that, Handley. Pure awesomeness and very fun to watch.

  18. Christian Gulliksen says:

    You can’t teach people to lob balls like that, Handley. Pure awesomeness and very fun to watch.

  19. Katybeth says:

    Well, did you at least get a strike for the team in the other lane? And your shoes matched your shirt–pretty darn stylish!

    Thanks for the laugh after a very long week.

  20. Katybeth says:

    Well, did you at least get a strike for the team in the other lane? And your shoes matched your shirt–pretty darn stylish!

    Thanks for the laugh after a very long week.

  21. Ann,

    Someone did tell you that jumping is actually not a part of bowling, right?

    And, I am positive if we could somehow see the other side of the visual….your concentration would be evident by the tip of your tongue sticking out from between your lips!

    Drew

  22. Ann,

    Someone did tell you that jumping is actually not a part of bowling, right?

    And, I am positive if we could somehow see the other side of the visual….your concentration would be evident by the tip of your tongue sticking out from between your lips!

    Drew

  23. Burbanked says:

    That’s some serious hangtime.

    I like to bowl using Newtonian physics: that is, if I hit just one pin hard enough, it will bounce around with enough force until – eventually – it hits all the other pins.

    Aim? Direction? Finesse? Poppycock. Its all about pure, brute force.

  24. Burbanked says:

    That’s some serious hangtime.

    I like to bowl using Newtonian physics: that is, if I hit just one pin hard enough, it will bounce around with enough force until – eventually – it hits all the other pins.

    Aim? Direction? Finesse? Poppycock. Its all about pure, brute force.

  25. Dana Ironside says:

    Ann, I needed a good laugh tonite and you sure gave it to me. I loved that picture and at first I was like – nah that’s not Ann. And then I thought well, she did say how she wasn’t athletic, maybe it is her. But then I thought again, nah, it can’t be. And lo and behold, it’s you.

    I love your ability to poke fun at yourself and have a good time no matter the situation. It’s better to keep it light and fun and still enjoy than not to do at all. So kudos to you for being the last picked and still going out there and “dancin” on the lanes. Oh wait, this was bowling, not dancing! :)

  26. Dana Ironside says:

    Ann, I needed a good laugh tonite and you sure gave it to me. I loved that picture and at first I was like – nah that’s not Ann. And then I thought well, she did say how she wasn’t athletic, maybe it is her. But then I thought again, nah, it can’t be. And lo and behold, it’s you.

    I love your ability to poke fun at yourself and have a good time no matter the situation. It’s better to keep it light and fun and still enjoy than not to do at all. So kudos to you for being the last picked and still going out there and “dancin” on the lanes. Oh wait, this was bowling, not dancing! :)

  27. Jo Tyler says:

    well I’d say you’re VERY athletic, Ann! You appear to be bowling, playing basket ball, and landing a Triple Salchow all at the same time!
    :-)

  28. Jo Tyler says:

    well I’d say you’re VERY athletic, Ann! You appear to be bowling, playing basket ball, and landing a Triple Salchow all at the same time!
    :-)

  29. John Wall says:

    Damn, I can see why you are afraid of falling!

  30. John Wall says:

    Damn, I can see why you are afraid of falling!

  31. blog nerd says:

    my question is: when you were done with the release did you end up with your back to the pins? Because, THAT, my friend, would be BRILLIANT.

  32. blog nerd says:

    my question is: when you were done with the release did you end up with your back to the pins? Because, THAT, my friend, would be BRILLIANT.

  33. Laura says:

    Hey. I know that butt.

    And that release technique.

    Using an assumed name, I assume?

    L.

  34. Laura says:

    Hey. I know that butt.

    And that release technique.

    Using an assumed name, I assume?

    L.

  35. euonymous says:

    Lanes are made of hard rock maple wood. There’s a reason they call it that. Trying to cut it with a saw is more likely to burn out the saw and char the wood than cut it. Impressive stuff. Kitchen floors used to be made of that. The United States used to have forests full of it.

  36. euonymous says:

    Lanes are made of hard rock maple wood. There’s a reason they call it that. Trying to cut it with a saw is more likely to burn out the saw and char the wood than cut it. Impressive stuff. Kitchen floors used to be made of that. The United States used to have forests full of it.

  37. larzini says:

    “more Eeyore than Seabiscuit”

    That’s just spectacular. Be sure to wear your wrist strap at the Wii Sports bowl-a-thon.

    As a New Jersey native with family in Boston, I was always amazed at the existence of candlepin bowling. Must be experienced in real life, doesn’t exist on the Wii.

  38. larzini says:

    “more Eeyore than Seabiscuit”

    That’s just spectacular. Be sure to wear your wrist strap at the Wii Sports bowl-a-thon.

    As a New Jersey native with family in Boston, I was always amazed at the existence of candlepin bowling. Must be experienced in real life, doesn’t exist on the Wii.

  39. Ann Handley says:

    @katybeth – Believe it or not, I actually manage to land a few strikes… *IN MY OWN LANE*. I know.. what a weird alignment of the planets possibly caused that, right? ; )

    @Drew — It’s *as if* you were watching me… how did you know?

    @Burbanked — I love that… “Poppycock. It’s all brute force.” My problem was that the force was improperly aimed. Apparently “loft” doesn’t help.

    @Jo — That’s why I love you.. it’s all perspective!

    @blognerd — ha! NEXT TIME…!

  40. Ann Handley says:

    @katybeth – Believe it or not, I actually manage to land a few strikes… *IN MY OWN LANE*. I know.. what a weird alignment of the planets possibly caused that, right? ; )

    @Drew — It’s *as if* you were watching me… how did you know?

    @Burbanked — I love that… “Poppycock. It’s all brute force.” My problem was that the force was improperly aimed. Apparently “loft” doesn’t help.

    @Jo — That’s why I love you.. it’s all perspective!

    @blognerd — ha! NEXT TIME…!

  41. Ann Handley says:

    @euonymous — Learn something new every day. Thanks for that!

    @larzini — I was a young adult before I even knew balls CAME in bigger sizes. And not to beat the same drum… but the small balls really are easier to handle!! (Just sayin’…)

  42. Ann Handley says:

    @euonymous — Learn something new every day. Thanks for that!

    @larzini — I was a young adult before I even knew balls CAME in bigger sizes. And not to beat the same drum… but the small balls really are easier to handle!! (Just sayin’…)

  43. Julie Roads says:

    You need to know that I didn’t immediately realize that person in the pic was you. The black sleeves looked like arms and the hair – against the neon of the bowling alley – looked like an afro. So I thought it was some kind of 70′s throwback. Only made it more hilarious to realize that was your adorable self.

    I will be sure to take you bowling – because from the looks of this, you’ll make me look way good.

  44. Julie Roads says:

    You need to know that I didn’t immediately realize that person in the pic was you. The black sleeves looked like arms and the hair – against the neon of the bowling alley – looked like an afro. So I thought it was some kind of 70′s throwback. Only made it more hilarious to realize that was your adorable self.

    I will be sure to take you bowling – because from the looks of this, you’ll make me look way good.

  45. Wow! That is so funny! Don’t worry I’m not good at bowling either!

  46. Wow! That is so funny! Don’t worry I’m not good at bowling either!

  47. Wow, incredible form. I don’t even know how that’s possible! And you’re going to freak, because I’m just some random blogger, but I actually learned to bowl on those lanes in Jr. high; only, it wasn’t called Zodos back then. And my family used to go to “Breakfast Bowl” (You’d get breakfast and a few games) on Sunday mornings (after church, I’m pretty sure). So much for bloggy coincidences :)

  48. Wow, incredible form. I don’t even know how that’s possible! And you’re going to freak, because I’m just some random blogger, but I actually learned to bowl on those lanes in Jr. high; only, it wasn’t called Zodos back then. And my family used to go to “Breakfast Bowl” (You’d get breakfast and a few games) on Sunday mornings (after church, I’m pretty sure). So much for bloggy coincidences :)

  49. GiGi says:

    Ann-can’t believe that’s you. Thought it was an afro, too! Hmm…some things are better left to our mind’s eye of how we think we look in certain situations rather than actually seeing it…but…it does make for a good laugh, right? Funny post and good sense of humor. And, once again, I feel like I was there! A picture isn’t worth a thousand of your words!

  50. GiGi says:

    Ann-can’t believe that’s you. Thought it was an afro, too! Hmm…some things are better left to our mind’s eye of how we think we look in certain situations rather than actually seeing it…but…it does make for a good laugh, right? Funny post and good sense of humor. And, once again, I feel like I was there! A picture isn’t worth a thousand of your words!

  51. Cass says:

    Ah, Ann, your bowling looks better than mine. You don’t want to know. . . .

    When we lived in a “gentrified” neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side, one of our friends refinished floors for a living — bowling alley floors. Let me tell you, the old wood floors in his 4-story brownstone outshone every other floor in the neighborhood! It was just a little bit eerie.

    Thanks for the laugh. You write a treat, as my grandmother would have said.

    Cass (off to the vet now with Connie and Dion!)

  52. Cass says:

    Ah, Ann, your bowling looks better than mine. You don’t want to know. . . .

    When we lived in a “gentrified” neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side, one of our friends refinished floors for a living — bowling alley floors. Let me tell you, the old wood floors in his 4-story brownstone outshone every other floor in the neighborhood! It was just a little bit eerie.

    Thanks for the laugh. You write a treat, as my grandmother would have said.

    Cass (off to the vet now with Connie and Dion!)

  53. Karen Swim says:

    Ann, I would pick you for my team! :-) You’ve got quite an arm…for pitching! ;-) Seriously though the best part of bowling is the laughter and company and in your defense the ball did at least stay in your lane.

  54. Karen Swim says:

    Ann, I would pick you for my team! :-) You’ve got quite an arm…for pitching! ;-) Seriously though the best part of bowling is the laughter and company and in your defense the ball did at least stay in your lane.

  55. Tabitha Dunn says:

    So funny – I think I look like that when I bowl on our Wii in the living room although I am more of a lunger than a spinner. Nice that you were my neck of the woods – I live in Santa Barbara and was just at Zodo’s two weeks ago for a six year old girl’s birthday party. That was so fun to watch-some impressive bowling positions too!

  56. Tabitha Dunn says:

    So funny – I think I look like that when I bowl on our Wii in the living room although I am more of a lunger than a spinner. Nice that you were my neck of the woods – I live in Santa Barbara and was just at Zodo’s two weeks ago for a six year old girl’s birthday party. That was so fun to watch-some impressive bowling positions too!

  57. Pingback: 50 Years Later: Elements of Style (and Life with Strunk & White « Peg Mulligan’s Blog)

  58. Twitter Comment


    Chat Catcher Test

  59. Twitter Comment


    Chat Catcher Test

  60. JustinSMV says:

    Too funny, I love the picture. You know its like a double edged sword, having no captions can open your minds to boundless limits of your imagination while on the other hand having a caption opens more doorways too, both are good :-)

  61. JustinSMV says:

    Too funny, I love the picture. You know its like a double edged sword, having no captions can open your minds to boundless limits of your imagination while on the other hand having a caption opens more doorways too, both are good :-)

  62. Lori Magno says:

    Poetry in motion. You are fabulous!

  63. Lori Magno says:

    Poetry in motion. You are fabulous!

  64. Imagine the menace this individual would represent at Duckpin. The thing would go like ninety-plus miles an hour and be like a hardball in a professional pitcher’s hands.

    Balls are hardier in New England and last longer, even if they be smaller.

  65. Imagine the menace this individual would represent at Duckpin. The thing would go like ninety-plus miles an hour and be like a hardball in a professional pitcher’s hands.

    Balls are hardier in New England and last longer, even if they be smaller.

  66. Scott says:

    That’s hilarious (about “balls”)! Johnny Carson once had a guest who said she didn’t play tennis because she didn’t like balls hitting her face–and Carson replied, “I believe that’s called testiphobia!” There was also a film, “Flashpoint” (1984), in which a woman sarcastically asks two law-enforcement officers’ if they’re going to the policeman’s ball. One of them replies, “We’re Border Patrol, ma’am, we don’t have balls!”

    And these days alot of women talk about other women “not having the balls” to do something or other! That’s even more nonsensical than the idea of women “fucking” men!

  67. Scott says:

    That’s hilarious (about “balls”)! Johnny Carson once had a guest who said she didn’t play tennis because she didn’t like balls hitting her face–and Carson replied, “I believe that’s called testiphobia!” There was also a film, “Flashpoint” (1984), in which a woman sarcastically asks two law-enforcement officers’ if they’re going to the policeman’s ball. One of them replies, “We’re Border Patrol, ma’am, we don’t have balls!”

    And these days alot of women talk about other women “not having the balls” to do something or other! That’s even more nonsensical than the idea of women “fucking” men!

  68. Peg says:

    Ann, I thought of you this week, when I was bowling with new co-workers, a night after work. My first or second throw, the ball seemingly flew out of my hand and jumped over into someone else's lane. I cost the surprised guy in the other lane his turn, because it counted as his third ball, and it went straight into the gutter. If anything, my bowling only deteriorated, after that. My great comfort was thinking of this story, and the very good company I am keeping here. But seriously, what is about writers and “being stunningly unathletic…”? and that weird “on the outside looking in” feeling, that accompanies times like this…

  69. mbt outlet says:

    Well , the view of the passage is totally correct ,your details is really reasonable and you guy give us valuable informative post, I totally agree the standpoint of upstairs. I often surfing on this forum when I m free and I find there are so much good information we can learn in this forum!
    http://www.sin-game.com

  70. Adobo says:

    The white lotus is a shallow-water replica purse, night-blooming plant with a

    creeping rootstock (rhizome) that sends up long-stalked, nearly circular
    dark green leathery leaves, which float on the luxury handbags,

    surface. The flowers, up to 25 cm (10 in) across, remain open until midday
    The blue lotus is a smaller, luxury handbag. less showy day-blooming

    plant leather bags.
    The Lotus flower has for thousands of years symbolized spiritual enlightenment
    leather bag. Indeed, this flower essence's purpose is to accelerate spiritual evolvement and enhance healing on every level within the system.jl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>