Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tetherball Deniers

Gentle visitors, did I not warn you of the brooding presence of tetherball deniers? They're out there.

Your humble Contributor was recently reminded of this by a foreboding message from an old nemesis.

Dear Remainderman,

Well, well, well. So, we meet again.

You did not think you could hide from me forever, surely? Our resources are not what they were, but we have been methodically scanning the web for a sign of your re-emergence. When the key words "tetherball", "politics", and "intrigue" found a match, we knew we had found you.

Ah, yes. I have never forgotten my first sighting of you: September 1987 (just after the Harmonic Convergence, if memory serves); Bratislava; a wet and worn schoolyard on the East End, near Tranavka; you, still relatively fresh-faced, a flourescent orange tetherball tucked under your arm; you tying the ball to a rusted pole; the young school-urchins gathering around in curiousity; you speaking to them in your broken Slovakian, and punching the ball in a great arc; the ball appearing almost sun-like against the gray sky and drab stone; their laughter; their joy. Of course, I reported this to my superiors; but, they laughed, and went off to find some good vodka.

And, yet, I trailed you to Prague. More schoolyards; more luminous tetherballs; more delighted children. The smokey meetings with Havel. Then, you were off to Krakow. Indoor tetherball! My god, the genius of it. I can recall so clearly the dim-light Gdansk diner, the pungent aroma of keilbasa and kapusta, the laughter, and Walesa embracing you as you left. Yes, remainderman: I was that close.

Of course, I filed my reports; but, by then, it was too late. And, do you think I landed on my feet? Hardly. In two years, I was behind the counter at the new McDonalds in St. Petersburg. "Would you like fries with that,comrade?" The manager shooting me an icy stare: "Nyet 'comrade'".

But, times change, and new opportunities present themselves. Good to have one the old regulars at the helm. And, ironically, it appears that what we had sown a generation ago is now bearing some fruit in the West. Am I surprised that your enigmatic orb has suddenly re-appeared? Nyet.

We both know that the tetherball will make the difference: between the spiritual and material, freedom and slavery, light and darkness: but, the Olympics? Really, Remainderman, this is too much. It's bad enough that the former East German women no longer shave, but we will not let this stand.

Count on it! Yuri is back on the job.

Gentle visitors, fear not: your humble Contributor remains ever vigilant.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Yuri? Not Yuri Ivanov Galenchev surely? Yet the style is the same... He will not remember me since that was so many name changes ago, but I recall well the covetous look on his face when he gazed upon that hallowed tetherball in Krakow. I was working for a power of no account at the time; hence his complete ignorance of me, the watcher of watchers seated at that table in the darkest corner. And Remainderman was so absorbed in the delight of his fans that, of course, he would have noticed nothing. Ah, those were the days...

But now the game is played out. The seedy bars have become computer stores; the safe houses, hairdressing salons. And there remain only the players, unemployed, confused and trying pathetically to resurrect old glories.

Myself, I found a job with another international organization sufficiently unknown as to be whispered about in chess clubs as "the power behind it all". And I look back with no nostalgia to those days when I was the mysterious, much-rumored but unconfirmed Chameleon.

Nazdrovia, kamarad Yuri and good buddy Remainderman.

1/23/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...


Of course. A wiley fellow you were -- and still apparently are -- but, you have not changed your colors.

1/23/2005 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

By the way. It still bugs me that this excellent post received only two comments. Time and again I return, hoping that some bright spark might have contributed his/her thoughts on so pertinent a matter. But no; a dreadful silence hovers over all. I consider the writing and the setting of the scene, the wry humor that enlives every sentence, the hard work undertaken in creating so many explanatory links (which I tend not to look at, I must admit), the sheer craftsmanship of the post as a whole, and I think: where are they, these noble commenters? Did they come and go, awed by the intellect that penned this masterpiece and unable to comment as a result? Or did they not understand, perhaps intimidated by a feeling of having stumbled upon something not meant for their eyes, and retreated hastily through the door marked "Next Blog"?

I ponder the matter, taking into account that previous revelations on the important but obscure subject of tetherball have been ignored in similar fashion. And I smile as I realize the answer. This matter of tetherball, with all that it implies, is too great a thing for mere mortals. How can we, who have studied with the masters, expect that understanding will lie in all human hearts? We have forgotten that tetherball was never revealed to the world as the force that it truly was, that it retired humbly to honorable retirement, unsung, unhallowed, unappreciated.

Well, on such sad speculation my thoughts dwell for a moment. Yet I know that, in the great scheme of things, this is a mere instant, a mote of time to be swallowed up in the great hereafter. I depart the scene of tetherball's finest hour, humbled by such melancholy proposals, yet satisfied at last that this gallant field be without mark or comment deserved.

1/26/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Gone Away --

You are, as my dear departed mother used to say, a gentleman and scholar.

It is a joy simply to write this stuff and more joy to have someone not only enjoy it, but also expand upon it.

What's more, we can expect a special consolation when the world discovers the secret sway of tetherball.

1/27/2005 12:47:00 AM  
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