While I was at Half Price Books last week I found a book that led to my current Obsession du Jour… I mean “hobby”. Texas Hold 'Em! Just like everybody else, I love Poker. Really. I’ll play it in real life, I’ll play it on the computer, I would play it with a fox, I would play it in a box, I would play it here or there, I would play Texas Hold 'Em anywhere! I’ll even watch it on TV!
OK, not really. It’s not really Poker that grabbed my attention. And what is that, watching people play cards on TV? Golf is too exciting? Baseball doesn’t go on quite long enough? Let’s watch people play cards! Yeah, that sounds great! (Sorta like how everyone was smoking cigars, drinking Martinis and listening to Lounge Music pretending they were all the New Rat Pack or something a couple of years ago.) Although if there was a Slap Jack All-Star Challenge, that would be cool. Danny DeVito and Matt Damon teamed up against Minnie Driver and Gillian Anderson. The boys wouldn’t know what hit them. Yeah they would, it would be Minnie smacking them around. I’d almost pay money to see that. If there was an All Girl Slap Jack All-Star Challenge with bikinis and baby oil involved it would definitely be worth the price of at least basic cable.
Really, what I found was The Directory of Knots by John Shaw. Not I’m tying knots like a knot-tying fiend. All the good ones, like the Reef Knot (which is really the Square Knot, and if you can’t tie that, you suck), and the Clove Hitch and the Bowline. But that’s really cheating since those are all old Boy Scout knots I already knew. Although the Bowline in the Bight was a knot that always evaded me in Boy Scouts, but now I got that bastard down. Ha! to you, Bowline in the Bight! There’s the Midshipman’s Loop which is new to me, but it’s pretty much like he slider knot I learned in Boy Scouts. Only better. So my Knot Repertoire has grown!
But my new Knotting Adventure didn’t start out so smoothly. You know how many knots I got through that first day? One. Only one knot. I almost threw my string away and quit, it was so bad. All day I was trying to tie the Chinese Lanyard Knot. This is one hard knot, let me tell you. It’s more like weaving than tying. But I stayed with it, trying and trying it over and over. You know what my problem was? Cheap string. I dumped that junk and started using some better cord (you know it was better, it’s called “cord”) and voilá! A passable Chinese Lanyard Knot! There was nothing I couldn’t do!
Except the next knot I tried. The dreaded Arm-Akimbo Lanyard Knot. This is supposed to be a simple “decorative knot”, which means “a knot that doesn’t actually tie anything up”. And I was following the directions and everything. But the problem was, I was also looking at the pictures. Mostly that’s a good thing. If you follow the directions and your knot looks like the picture, you’re doing good, right? Well, usually. Unless, say, on picture #4 they drew the knot starting with an underhand loop and you’re supposed to tie an overhand loop. Can you believe that? Drawing an underhand loop? It was just crazy! So I just didn’t look at that picture and finished my knot and checked it against the final picture, and it was good.
In my pumped-up excitement I moved on to the Monkey’s Fist (which sadly won’t grant you five wishes) and the Turk’s Head. I say “the” Turk’s Head, but if you know anything about knots, you know there are four bizillion variations on the Turk’s Head. I’ve only tried two so far. I’m thinking of tying a Turk’s Head on a stick and ending it with two Monkey’s Fists on either end (the standing end and the working end). Then I’d have a Fighting Turk Monkey Stick. Tell me that wouldn’t be cool. (I’d bet my Fighting Turk Monkey Stick could beat up your Fighting Turk Monkey Stick.)
I think today I’ll try some of the exploding knots. But don’t worry, I’ll wear safety goggles. Because I’m all about knot safety.
P.S. Kittens are cute.