Revisited: Looking for a new hobby (perhaps in the lobby)

I like to think there’s a deeper meaning to life, that there’s a rhyme and a reason for why natural calamities wipe out whole nations and why that guy cut me on in traffic just now and had the nerve to give me the finger. There has to be some unifying force that holds the universe together and makes order prevail over chaos.

I think it’s in the rhyme. I believe there’s a relationship between words which sound alike that goes far beyond any other connection they might have. When I’m preparing to make life-altering decisions, I consider what activities are already a key part of my existence, then take on new enterprises that rhyme with these.

When I bought my current house, a major selling point was that it was located at the corner of Shadowbrook and India Hook. When I was looking to buy a reliable car, I remembered how touched I was by the Oscar-winning performance of Henry Fonda in “On Golden Pond,” and chose to purchase a Honda. Since my favorite processed dairy products are all cheeses, I selected Jesus to be my preferred Living God.

Now I’m looking for a new hobby that aligns with what are currently my two predominant pastimes, jogging and blogging. Both of these diversions have given me enormous pleasure in recent years but they need a supplement. I’ve been a casual runner for over 30 years, and I’m rapidly approaching the age where I need to take on an exercise that’s physically less taxing. I’ve tried walking but I’m afraid it will lead to caulking or stalking, and I’ve never been very good at home repair or serving 30-month prison terms. Blogging holds no significant health hazards, if you don’t count neglecting to take your cholesterol medicine because it would make a good post topic, and I look forward to continuing it.

Perhaps I’ll also take up clogging. This traditional European dance has migrated to the Appalachian Mountains and become popular with country folk in my part of the South. Once danced with wooden shoes, more sensible footwear now predominates, though the emphasis on stomping out a downbeat with enthusiastic footwork lives on. While creating audible percussive rhythms has its appeal, I’m not sure I can do it with my feet. I’ve never been a coordinated hoofer, and I’m afraid my fellow dancers would look unkindly on audible percussion I made with my face.

How about logging? Though typically considered more of a vocation than an avocation, I’m sure there are elements of commercial forestry that could be amusing. Have you ever seen those lumberjacking competitions on TV where guys balance on floating logs or race the clock to chainsaw a redwood into submission? I suppose it’s dangerous, yet I could probably stand to have a little more peril in my life. I wonder how you get started in such an enterprise. Is there an association I should contact, or do I just show up in the nearest woods and start hacking away? This may take more research.

I also understand there’s an activity called mud bogging. The popular off-road motorsport involves driving a vehicle through a pit of mud, with the winner determined by whoever goes the farthest before sinking into the underworld. Typically, vehicles competing are four-wheel drives, but I’m not sure that’s anywhere in the rules. I wonder if they’d let me use my old ten-speed bicycle. I can’t imagine I’d get very far at first, though I’m willing to practice diligently until the ooze declines to absorb me.

I’m also intrigued by fogging, as it’s practiced in movies and the theatre. There’s nothing like a looming haze hovering just above the floor to create an atmosphere of menace. Until recently, it took expensive equipment and huge quantities of dry ice to create roiling banks of smoke, but cheaper fog machines have now become available to the public. I’m thinking of employing such a set-up to increase the drama that accompanies my entrance into an office at work. My proposal to re-price inventory on a weekly rather than quarterly basis stands a much better chance of being accepted by management if the ominous threat of supernatural intervention is implied. And the PowerPoint presentation would look a lot cooler, too, especially if I supplemented it with lasers.

I don’t know that there are many opportunities in modern American society for flogging. I’m sure there are those who deserve a ritual whipping for a variety of offenses, yet our so-called “civilized” structure of law typically forbids it. Singapore was in the news a few years back for planning to flog a young American caught chewing gum or passing notes and letting his shirt tail out or some such crime. Maybe I could practice my new hobby there. On my next business trip to India, I can arrange for a connection through Changi Airport, and the authorities could have a collection of miscreants lined up for me near the baggage claim. As long as I don’t have to go through security twice.

Other than these options, I’m running a bit short on ideas. I went to a rhyming dictionary online and found a few other possibilities.

Hogging has several meanings, though most don’t lend themselves to leisure pursuits: one involves shredding waste wood, one is cutting a horse’s mane as short as possible (what fun!), one refers to the stress put on a ship as it passes over a wave, and one is the practice at some fraternities of rounding up the rotund for a party. Hardly the stuff of hobbies.

Nogging refers to brick masonry built up between wooden uprights or studs. I’ve started an interest group on Facebook for this topic, but don’t hold much hope of a response.

Pogging, according to the Urban Dictionary, is the act of talking on a cell phone while driving, causing horrible annoyance to those nearby or, alternatively, the act of performing sex with a female with the use of a … whoa, hold on there. How can the same word have one meaning so innocuous and the other so provocative? The UD offers an imaginary conversation among the hipsters who speak this lingo, but it’s not much help in clarifying the difference: “Hey, do you want to go pogging?” “Sure, we can pog all night. I hope there is a good turnout.” “Oh, there will be. I’ve called grandma, and she’s got all her book club coming.” My grandmother just recently became comfortable using a cell phone, and I don’t want to be part of anything that further confuses the meaning of “wireless device” for her.

I’m not sure this rhyming strategy is going to work. I suppose there’s Always Alliteration. Let’s see what the Urban Dictionary might suggest: There’s Belly Bracelet, Jingle Jowels, Joe Jonas, Jewfro, Juggalo …

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