So yesterday I was at a baby shower in a back yard. Someone had brought a dog, one of those fairly big bounding happy playing dogs. It had (as dogs often do), a saliva-encrusted tennis ball, with which it liked to play fetch.
So I figured I would throw the ball, and the dog would fetch the ball, and we’d have a good time. So I picked up the ball (I should mention here that this was not a very big back yard), threw it, and with a trajectory that could not have been improved in accuracy and efficiency by NASA engineers, it gracefully arced… directly into the base of a cactus. The cactus looked a little bit like this one, with multiple upright parts, surrounding a little space at the bottom, about the size of a tennis ball. I guarantee that if you paid me $100 to throw the tennis ball directly into the heart of the cactus, I could not possibly do so… and yet there it was. The poor happy dog of course went bounding over towards the cactus, and would probably have injured itself, forcing the dog’s owner to retrieve the ball. (I was looking around for a stick to get the ball out with, and then she got it out with a fork, lest you wonder why I did not retrieve the ball myself.)
So, lesson learned, keep the ball away from the cactus.
So, I picked up the ball again, and threw it, not near the cactus. I threw it basically on the ground, bouncing a bit. So I was surprised and dismayed when it hit the corner of a brick firepit, bounced high up into the air, and landed directly in the middle of a bowl of dip on the refreshment table. At which point (a) the dog couldn’t get it, (b) I ruined the best bowl of dip, and © the poor dog’s tennis ball suddenly had a very surprising flavor to it.
After that, I restricted myself to petting the dog.