10 Crabapples for the House of Marbles,
Pottery Road,
Devon, England TQ13 9DS

The home webbernets have been kaput for 4 days now.
I have tried power cycling. I have tried resetting endlessly. I have tried troubleshooting with the barely 13-year-old girl on the RCN tech helpline. I have tried pitching a minor fit. I have tried drinking wine and eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

I think the last one almost worked.
[And, I gotta admit to y’all… I just went so far as mixing whiskey and Reisling, just for the fuck of being gross and troubled. It made me feel, astonishingly, gross and troubled. And… uhh... Shut up.]

In fact, my webconnection comes in for about 34 seconds per 2 hour interval (I know because I try about every 34 seconds), so maybe I will get to post this sucker (which, btw, is being written so annoyingly inelegantly in Word) in a divine moment inspired by the Weblord of Corachua.

So, because I was sad about my current state of disconnect, I felt the need to steal things from innocent people. Sometimes it’s rawhide candy from puppies; sometimes it’s pastel binkies from infants; sometimes it’s cans from tiny, tiny goats. Today, though, it was nothing other than the MARBLE GAMES COMPENDIUM from my building’s laundry room.

Yea, what, get that, what, yea, wha, come on yo, whaaaaaaat?

You heard me, brothers and sisters: the MARBLE GAMES COMPENDIUM.
What’s up NOW, huh?

So this is how the robbery went down:
I go downstairs to switch my laundry from washer to dryer, as “people” do.
There are two minutes left, so I get antsy.
I pace.
I notice that on the table near the couch and bookshelf (cool, right? Laundry prizes!) there are the following things:
1. a spongebob pillow-buddy
2. a picture involving tie-dye and loaves of bread (that’s all I know./that’s all I can tell you.)
3. a marble game kit (sealed) circa, like, 1954, containing a little booklet entitled the MARBLE GAMES COMPENDIUM.

See, though, this is funny, right? Compendium?
When I think “compendium,” I think chestnut leather chairs, fat cigars, and a man who is the perfect combination of Winston Churchill, Wilfred Brimley, and the Masterpiece Theater guy.

I also a little bit think about a metronome, but that’s probably because I mesh together “pendulum” and “composition” and I think about what those words would be if you combined them linguistically (compendium) and definitionally (compendium).

So, as any asshole would do, I put it in the waistband of my mesh shorts and walked upstairs (like, um, someone might "catch me" if I was just, say, like, holding it.)
This is why I stole it: I think it might be a total riot.

Get this, amigos:
And I quote:
[from the introduction] “Marble games are generally played with cheaper glass marbles, but where expensive marbles are used in games in which fines are imposed, or where marbles are lost and won, it should be agreed in advance that fines or losses should be paid in cheap marbles.”

Wait, really???

Let me rephrase:
“Drinking games are often played with Keystone Light, but when Ketel One shots are used-as-props in Asshole, or Never Have I Ever, it should be agreed that fines or losses should be paid in ass-beer from the rolly cooler.”

Hold it.
There’s more:

[Shooting Strategy] “When aiming, it should be remembered that the target should be steadily looked at, its exact position being thoroughly taken in by the eye while the marble is held in the hand. The eye directs the brain which automatically directs the hand.”

Yo, MARBLE GAMES COMPENDIUM author: Uh, um, Sir Isaac Newton called;
He fucking HATES you, man.

The moral of this, quite obviously, is that Boomer parlor games are all philosophically dour.

As a final exercise, let's compare...

MARBLES: "The marble is held above the first joint of the thumb by the tip of the forefinger, The top of the thumb is held by the middle finger. The hand is kept quite still with the knuckle on the ground. The thumb is released with the required force. With practice, great accuracy may soon be obtained with this method."

HUNGRY, HUNGRY HIPPOS: "Hit the white plastic thingy on the brightly-colored hippo. hard. wicked fast. get marbles in the hippo's mouth. also wicked fast."

I'm so fricking glad to be a child of the 80s.

**Flickr thanks to i_love_naples.


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