Through a friend of a friend, we were privy to the following wild scene last Monday night: after walking through unmarked doors, my friends and I found an all-inclusive, all-night ping-pong extravaganza, topped off with cheap beers and a decent DJ. But what is an all-inclusive, all-night ping-pong extravaganza? Let me fill you in.
Put down a refundable deposit of $5 and you get a paddle, and if you are able to return that paddle at the end of the night then you get the deposit back, if you aren't able to return the paddle, at least you will have some kind of story to tell. Once you have your paddle–and, let's be honest, your beer–you are ready to go. When you hear the knocking of paddles on the ping-pong table, then a new game is about to begin. Find a spot in the line of 20 or 30 people and begin your dance around the maypole. On your turn, if you successfully return the ball, then you are free to remain in the game–otherwise, you take your seat on the sidelines, drink your beer, and watch the match play out. As more and more players are eliminated, the action increases, growing quicker and quicker until the game is a mad scramble around a beer-slicked floor, and half the success is just being able to get from one side of the table to the other, which is, of course, easier said than done. Indeed, as I watched the game (lucky me, I wasn't able to return my first ball and was thus immediately benched), one overzealous man, sprinting with beer and paddle in hand, fell; he shattered his bottle, tore his arm to bits, and most likely very nearly died. But with a few paper towels thrown on the ground and the glass shards kicked to the side, the game could go on. And it did.
In all, our group of potential ping-pong all-stars didn't fare too well; although, Mr. Chicken did make it to the final four in one game, while Eve claimed (though no one can verify this) that she had made it to the finals in her last outing. Nevertheless, winning or losing is hardly the point here. We weren't ping-pong champs, but we enjoyed ourselves all the more. Mit Dr. Pong haben wir Spass gemacht!