by Eric Miller
eminent Dr. Squire Bawles, from London, is on the
phone," my wife announced with a flourish,
as she handed me the receiver.
brings you to town, my good friend?" I asked
last minute substitute for a guy who was supposed
to give a lecture at the dental convention this
week, but primarily because I am so hungry for
your wife's cooking."
privilege comes with a high price, Squishy,"
price is playing squash with you, it's not high
at all, rather very demeaning," he corrected.
talking like that Squishy, and I'll be the chef."
not that. I guess I can handle shutting you out
in a few games, as usual, even though I still
have not gotten used to seeing you so humiliated,
even after all these years."
yeah, I know you have no bigger ego booster than
seeing me flat on my back in defeat on a squash
I never will. How about tomorrow?"
meet me at the squash club at four, and then we'll
prepared for a whupping."
Do you use that word over there?
fish and chips," I cried, "if you'll
pardon my American slang."
Squishy and I
attended the same college, and we met for the
first time on the college squash courts. He
complained that my American balls were too hard.
"I must introduce you to my squishy English
balls one day," he said, and which he did. But
whether our balls were hard or squishy, I always
lost. And it was there, in that dimly lit squash
court, on the American side of the pond, that the
kneeling Squire Bawles was knighted "Squishy,"
by an American college student who tapped each of
his shoulders with a squash racquet.
On our way
home for dinner, after I was predictably shut out
by Squishy, he couldn't wait to make sure he
zinged me with relish by saying "It's a good
thing that your wife is such a good cook, or I'd
be ashamed to call you my friend, or to even
acknowledge that I know you."
when I had to pull my trump card to remind him
that I was the one who created his unfortunate
nickname: the one which still stuck.
does everyone refer to you by your unfortunate
moniker; it's what you call yourself. Sticking
you with the name 'Squishy' was an act as
powerful as the gods handing that boulder to
Sisyphus. It keeps me way atop the scorecard. The
prospects of you tying, or even surpassing, the
score are grim, very grim indeed. It is the big
picture that counts, mon ami, not the numerical
win at verbal hardball, my friend, but your
squash play will always be soft and squishy,"
he cried out with his arms raised in victory.