Freudian Slips: Darkness on the Edge of Town

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

February 02, 2006

Darkness on the Edge of Town

In 2002, I completed a two year long immunotherapy program at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Graduating to a maintenance model enabled me to shed the beekeeper’s suit I wore outdoors and resume a relatively normal life.
Among other things, I looked to resume playing outdoor tennis, a game I had basically given up for two years. After not discovering the game of tennis until my adulthood, my passion to return to the game had no rival.
They say you can control everything but the weather. The weather made a believer out of me. Every time I went to play tennis, inclement weather interfered. I had been forced from the hard courts by pouring rain that wasn’t in the forecast, drizzle that was in the forecast, aggravating sun showers, puddling on the courts hours after the rain stopped, and high winds that kicked up suddenly. Name a force of nature and it interrupted my plans.
I harbored resentment and disappointment at forces beyond my control. My skin disease and the beekeeper’s suit had limited my outdoor activity the last couple of years so I had gained extra weight that I now wanted to shed through vigorous exercise. By the tail end of summer, I still had little tennis under my feet. I was determined to right the inequity and put the love back in tennis.
My partner and I picked an absolutely gorgeous night for tennis underneath the lights of Bethel Mill Park. A comfortable seventy degrees and emerging stars in the night sky had me certain that Mother Nature would not doom play. An end summer’s night dream, it looked to be a can’t miss opportunity for tennis. In fact, the ideal weather had invited everyone outside and into the night. Couples walked arm and arm. Bicyclists, roller skaters, and skateboarders took to the illuminated paths. Basketballs bounced on the blacktops.
Early in the first set, the cool perspiration sliding down my torso felt invigorating. I was pounding the felt off of the ball. My faulty knees felt spry and I covered the baseline with reckless abandon. Nothing but a sandstorm could stop me! While volleying break point in a pivotal game, the screech of tires could be heard from the road. Crash! A flicker ensued before every street light went out in the park. The switch to pitch black proved quite startling. Coal miners enjoy better lighting underground. We couldn’t even locate the stray ball we had been playing with. We found our way back to bunk on the courtside bench. After a few minutes of utter darkness, the gravity of the moment came full circle. I wasn’t meant to play tennis.
My friend asked, “Joe, do you think the lights will come back on?”
“This must be a sign from God. I think we’re done playing tennis tonight.”

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5 Comments:

Blogger Maja said...

A half hour walk every night will help you lose weight and it's not as bad for your knees. You could work your way up to an hour if you like. Oh, and when I say walk, I mean fast walk. Not a saunter.. a vigorous walk. That's good exercise, I tell ya! You'd be amazed at how many muscles you use to walk.

1:50 AM  
Blogger honkeie2 said...

I always get that feeling when ever i head to the gym and everything from work to the wife seem to be trying to keep me from my mecca. And it irritates me to no end when these things win the battle!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

maja,
i have lost almost all of that extra weight but thanks for your suggestions. wish I could have done it through walking.

honk,
yeah, Bally's member over here. Any Bally's up in North Jersey?

8:33 AM  
Blogger eatmisery said...

We love tennis in this house. My husband put himself through college on a tennis scholarship and my Mom works for the USTA. We're trying to figure out how soon to put a racquet into Baby Jack's hands. Heh...

6:01 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

eatmisery,
it's a great game, weather permitting.

10:59 PM  

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