I was in a bind that wasn’t getting any tighter, and the sound of my fingers drumming on the table made passers-by wonder if Ringo Starr was in the building. Or Gordon Ramsay. I started wishing I had a useful hobby.
Originally a hobby was a gentle-looking Irish horse that has become associated with the gently swinging child’s toy – a wooden stick with a horse’s head and attached reins. Rock on, but watch out for the splinters.
Hobbies these days can take many forms: making things, learning things, collecting things – coins and banknotes come to mind – or going to look at things, like icebergs and tropical forests, before they completely disappear. At this point you will need a new hobby.
They say playing darts is a half-athletic, half-cerebral pastime – you need to be able to throw a small javelin and count to 180. Or less, if you’re not a world champion. People invited to join a pub darts team have been known to show up with a sick note from their doctor (who may then show up on the opposing team.)
In times of stress and uncertainty, do pandemics matter? – it seems that our social and mental activities and routines are disrupted, and many of us are learning Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art in which “you attack anytime and anywhere, with occasional use of ‘weapons’. It feels like a Saturday in a Glasgow pub on a darts night.
Hobbies apparently make you more interesting, to another piper, perhaps, or another train watcher. I remember the definition of a Scottish gentleman as someone who can play the bagpipes, but doesn’t. And I guess origami must be useful for reading a newspaper while standing on a crowded commuter train. But some people go the extra mile when choosing their hobbies.
This is especially true for “extreme ironing”, have you ever tried it? It consists of ironing clothes in unusual places, such as rock climbing or surfing. A clear case of your workhorse that turns you into a clotheshorse. How do you balance an ironing board on a surfboard when the sea is choppy?
One person actually made Suing a hobby, suing Somali pirates, Britney Spears, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! and the President of Iran. All this while he was locked up in a federal prison in Kentucky. The local hatches must have been full.
“Newsraiding” is the vexing pastime of appearing as a viewer in the background of live television broadcasts outside. Not recommended if the frustrated reporter has a big microphone in her hand and is staring at you with daggers. When it comes to competitive duck breeding, well, what can I say? See a charlatan.
The weirdest hobby of all has to be faking your own death, how many times can you do that without losing all credibility? Overall, I think I’ll stick with my stamp album, no pun intended. It’s much safer than riding a horse.