Dropping Things

There are certain characteristic noises that can be heard in my rented flat.

One is a manic squeaking and hammering of pipes whenever one uses the toilet – a phenomenon that started for no identifiable reason last year. It was almost as if the toilet decided that it was underappreciated, and resolved to thenceforth announce whenever it is in use to all the other residents in the block.

Another noise is the summon to battle when an arachnid intruder is encountered, an event that occurs with alarming regularity. And a third noise is a howl of despair upon opening the cupboard where the biscuits are kept, when one discovers that no biscuits are there to be found.

But there has been a recent entrant to this list of noises, a sound characterised by a series of small pat pat pats, followed by between one and three loud thumps.

That’s right.

I’ve been learning to juggle.

I’m not very good at it. I don’t think I’ll ever be very good at it. I’ve been taking it seriously (as seriously as I take anything – which actually makes the use of the word serious quite inappropriate) for about six months. I borrowed a trio of juggling balls from a friend – prior to this, the most I could manage was three pats, followed by three thumps. Now, on a really good day, I can manage about twenty pats, with just one thump.

I live on the ground floor, which is fortunate, otherwise my neighbours would probably be out for blood at my insistance on dropping the juggling balls all the time.

But if I’m really so bad at juggling, why do I persist at it?

The answer is precisely because I’m so bad at it.

We all know exercising is boring. The Problem of Exercise is not a conundrum that can be solved. But juggling isn’t exercise – juggling is playing a game. It’s performance art. It’s fun. You get three brightly-coloured things full of beans, and fuck about with them until you’re bored.

If ever become good at juggling, I’d have an impressive notch on my belt. I could do it at parties, or at the beach. I could do it at night, with luminous juggling balls, or use my talents as a mating display to seduce sexy clowns. But if I never get good at it, that too will suit me fine – because my ineptitude makes it a great workout.

Every two seconds I have to run around the room chasing one of those little fuckers. I have to lurch around like a drunken fool to stay underneath the bastards. I have to duck and dodge and sidestep to meet their downward trajectories, only to have my slow and stupid fingers fail to close on them anyway.

And so, when I juggle, I work up a hell of a sweat. I juggle like I’m wrestling carp covered in baby-oil; chasing after runaway guinea pigs with preternatural gymnastic abilities; trying to snatch bats out of mid-air while they duck and dive and laugh at me with their squeaky bat-voices, actively using their sonar to avoid my flailing hands.

This is how I get my aerobic exercise.

Juggling is a fun way to work out, if you’re shit at it.

Of course, there is the danger that one day I’ll get good. I’ll drop the balls less and less over time; train my brain on those parabolic arcs; hone my muscle memory and develop something approaching talent. But if that becomes the case, I’ll just switch to four juggling balls, then five. I’ll try to juggle one-handed, then blind-folded. So long as the juggling balls keep hitting the ground, I’ll keep chasing them. And if I ever run out of ways to improve, I’ll be the best juggler in the world anyway, and the attentions of all the sexy clowns I’ve seduced will probably keep me in shape instead.


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47 Responses

  1. Lady in Red says:

    If I had this sort of dedication I would learn how to ride a unicycle. No! Not unicycles – I would learn how to levitate. How cool would that be? I so want to float around and observe people from above – I would never have dirty feet again… ahhhh yes… where do I sign up?

    • Ash-Matic says:

      Yeah… twenty to thirty minutes of trying to levitate? I bet that burns just as many calories as, say, twenty to thirty minutes of jumping!

    • Lady in Red says:

      The powers that come along with levitation also burn calories. So, not only do you get to float around, but you get to have a bowl of snackies on your stomach to feed your face with. It’s all good.

  2. Rachel says:

    Sounds like a brilliant plan to me!

  3. Mark says:

    I’ve tried to juggle a few times. It never really went too well. I’d never actually considered being bad at juggling as a form of exercise but you’re right, it does work quite well. If you get too good you can always make it harder on yourself. Or juggle chainsaws. Running to the hospital would probably make for good exercise.

  4. MOV says:

    Ha! Love this. I was going to take up cross-country biking so I could look like Muse (you’ve met her on my blog, I’m sure) but I think juggling is way smarter and does not involve fixing deflated tires. I’m in!

    OMG, I am on your sidebar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wowza! I just noticed that! Did I already know that? Did I thank you already? Thank you! How nice! Yay!


  5. jaybird says:

    I think learning to juggle is a brilliant form of exercise! (As long as you keep sucking at it) I might even suggest it to The Husband, since his favorite form of exercise is sitting on the couch, eating meatball sandwiches, and watching me, while I work out!

  6. K.C. Shaw says:

    My brother taught himself to juggle many years ago. He finds many uses for this skill in his present life, including Impressing His Small Sons and Being Boring at Parties So His Wife Will Say They Have to Leave Early. I will ask him if he has tried seducing sexy clowns with it.

    • Ash-Matic says:

      Hang on… nobody told me that it would be boring to juggle at parties? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round? I think somebody lied to me…

  7. Leauxra says:

    I spent the summer after the third grad learning to juggle and playing pac-man until I could keep going without stopping until after I got to the repeating keys (I guess that part makes me old).

    1) Softballs are much better than bean bags. The extra weight will really help you improve, and don’t worry, it will continue to be a work out when you get good. I painted mine with acrylic paint with giant swirls so they would remain colorful.
    2) DO NOT USE WOODEN BALLS. The juggler’s bump, where two flying balls collide midair and shoot off into random directions REALLY HURTS if you use wooden Bocci Ball (huh huh, I said “wood” and “balls” in the same sentence).
    3) You should go ahead and try 2 balls in one hand (damn, why does this keep sounding dirty?).
    4) Oranges are AWESOME for juggling, just don’t let your mom catch you or she’ll get really pissed.

    • Ash-Matic says:

      This is some really good advice – only I think I’m a long way off putting most of those things into practice.

      I started with tangerines once, but they very quickly became leaky tangerines wrapped in sticky tape to hold them together.

  8. Addman says:

    For extra fitness, introduce a unicycle. You’ll make the initial investment money back by going on tour as a one man circus.

  9. sporkgasm says:

    There are no sexy clowns. That is all.

  10. I had a coworker who could juggle, and I thought it looked so fun and made him look so merry, so I said I’ll learn how to juggle too. After about an hour of dropping tennis balls everywhere I got frustrated, gave up, and have never tried again. The end.

  11. Haley Wolfe says:

    This reminds me of when Hubs and I play badminton. We can’t maintain a volley to save our lives, but we still manage to work up a sweat by constantly trudging back and forth to retrieve the birdie. We should be honest with ourselves and just call it a game of fetch.

    • Ash-Matic says:

      I swear renaming stuff makes it more fun. If you actually played fetch, but with badminton rackets on a badminton court, I bet it would be a better game.

  12. Dude… This is my first visit to your blog and I must say, you’re fucking hilarious. I’ve tried to juggle off and on for years. I’m complete shit at it, but I still try from time to time. You’ve inspired me to try it again tonight. My neighbors will hate you for this.

  13. Chiz says:

    I tried juggling once. “Once” in that I pick up some balls, threw them in the air, and stormed off once every single one of them hit the floor. Unless you count that time I unintensionally dropped a 25 pound weight on my bare foot. Anyway. I applaud you for your determination!

  14. lily says:

    Now if there is one thing I can do, it is juggling and I’m pretty good at it. So far I can juggle balls, apples, bean bags, babies, multiple dates, a healthy life style…er, maybe not the last one.

  15. Ash-Matic says:

    That’s an impressive list!

  16. Juggling is definitely a good way to work out. I’ve been trying to learn, but I’m still pretty bad at it. 😛

    Oh, and the toilet in our apartment does the same thing. I think it has to do with the pressure in the pipes, since they also hum during the night and sometimes during the day (especially in winter).

  17. Sofia J. says:

    I used to juggle a lot when I was younger, but my parents made me realize that I live in an apartment. By telling you that I’m also telling you that I must have sucked if my neighbors wanted me to quit. Now I practice with dust… jk they got me a bike (was part of the plan).

  18. Bersercules says:

    It would be simpler if you tried juggling with chainsaws…

  19. Bexstar says:

    Oh juggling is such fun. I like to do it with soft fruit such as mandarins or pears. And when I drop them on the floor, because obviously the realms of the universe will not allow my clumsy ass to be even slightly good at anything involving hand/eye co-ordination, I make my husband clean up the mushed fruit on the floor. Mainly because he watches on with failure in his eyes. Knowing full well that I hate clowns, & clown-like entertainment art harder than having boling water poured on my hands.

  20. mistyslaws says:

    Wait. Juggling attracts sexy clowns???? Why did nobody inform me of this before? Are they trying to keep all the sexy clowns to themselves? Selfish bastards!

    Thanks, Ash. You are a true friend for giving me this much needed info. Everything will be different now . . . .

  21. Tonja says:

    Juggling as exercise. That’s awesome!

  22. I can juggle! Once you learn, it is something that you will always know how to do.

    Maybe one day we can juggle together.

    Or do something more manly.

  23. Red says:

    Oh-oh-oh! If you got good at it, you could add the challenge of taking a walk while keeping all the balls in the air. Then if one got away, you might have to chase it across a busy street or through a park!

  24. I think your toilet is related to my toilet. It never occurred to me it was feeling unappreciated. Note to self: tell your toilet you love it.

  25. Juggling. Thats genius!

    Here I was, moaning and groaning while I dragged myself to the gym everyday, when I can just throw a few balls around to sweat out the calories!

    I guarantee I would suck worse than you. To juggle, I’m fairly certain you need this thing called “hand-eye coordination,” which apparently I suck at.

  26. G says:

    My toilet used to make an awful noise when flushed…we used to call it the ‘Horn of Gondor’

  27. I am into anything that has to do with fitness.
    Question: Can juggling be done to music?

  28. The Beans says:

    I have to wonder what Miss-Matic will have to say when your aerobically-trained body also has the pressure of running away from sexy clowns.

    Also, clowns are creepy. Sexy or not.

    -Barb the French Bean

  29. hey you won! I nominated you for a Liebster Award! you should have fun with it:) http://thecoffeeblogs.blogspot.com/2012/07/40-i-won.html

  30. those sexy clowns! i bet pam anderson is PISSED!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Dude, if you’re never going to post again, you should probably just take down your site. I miss your stuff.

  32. randy says:

    Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.



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