New York Times: Keys to Success in French Open (Note to Self: Explore Applicability to “Life”)

Open my New York Times of last Saturday (Self knows, she knows, she is sooo behind — almost a week behind — on her NYT reading, what’s up with that? Last weekend it was Saturday, and suddenly today is Thursday, and self honestly does not know what happened to the rest of the week)

Read in the Times that French Open began on Sunday (which means that game self watched Tuesday, Andy Roddick vs. unknown Russian, was an early round: pity for Roddick flares suddenly), and NY Times has thoughtfully identified the list of skills which player needs to win title.

First, you need a big forehand like Federer’s or Nadal’s.

Second, a great one-handed backhand is a plus. In this category, Amelie Mauresmo, Roger Federer.

If you only have a two-handed backhand, then it must be great. In this category, Sharapova, Marat Safin.

You could also use a good return of serve. Something like Serena Williams’ or Lleyton Hewitt’s.

You must be able to get that killer first serve in, Exhibit A being Serena again, Sharapova again, and Roddick.

Your second serve must be forceful, like Serena’s (wow, this is getting boring, but must soldier on) or Roddick’s.

You must have a certain “touch”, like Mauresmo and Federer.

You must be able to volley, like Mauresmo (again), Federer (again and again and again, ad infinitum)

You must be able to move — which, excuse me Dear Times Editor, but isn’t that self-evident? I mean, one cannot play tennis rooted to one spot! Not, that is, unless one wants to play human target for cannonball serves. But, I digress. In this category, Times favors Venus Williams (“Huge wingspan with foot speed to match”), Nadal (“the best mover on clay ever”), and Federer (“Virtuosity is the mother of invention”)

Finally, the slipperiest category of all, mental toughness, which Times feels the following players have in abundance: Serena Williams (“self-belief personified”), Maria Sharapova (“Despite the occasional meltdown, generally hard to crack”), Lleyton Hewitt (“Perhaps there is still time for Stallone to watch a Hewitt movie”), Nadal (“positive energy is the rule”) and Roger Federer (“Why not believe after winning six of the last seven majors?”)

Self, as usual, applies such lessons to herself. Self does have all manner of tricks up her sleeve, perhaps she would not call them forehands or backhands, but does have killer tenacity (as witness persistence in calling herself a writer, even though she has not sold a story to a magazine in — in — never mind how long), “touch” (subtlety?) and aggressive volleying tactics (well, all right, passive aggressive volleying tactics). But, self needs to improve in “movement” category, must be able to, as Times puts it, “shift direction like a W.N.B.A. point guard” (If this is not working, if self keeps butting her head against bugaboo of elusive exclusive magazines who persist in rejecting her work, then must quickly be able to switch focus: yo, vanity press, prepare to greet self!), and must develop that elusive “mental toughness”, which means self must stop feeling brittle, must turn hard! Hard like steel! Hard like iron! Go, self, go!

Self will kindly excuse herself from blog now, in order to begin her training šŸ™‚

Strange But True V

OK, self was bored. While visiting son last weekend, learned that son’s laptop was not actually * in his possession *, was in fact in possession of friend living in a place called Mustang Village (Cal Poly just loves horses, as teams are named mustang, bookstore is named El Corral, etc. etc.) So, this evening, upon prodding from dear hubby, sent e-mail to son demanding he retrieve laptop from friend in Mustang Village, FORTHWITH. Was not actually expecting immediate reply, but did check after half an hour: nope, nada (Sincerely hope son is studying — ??? Self also sincerely hopes son has not * yet * lent anyone his $169 Ray-Bans?).

While trapped in this state of uncertainty and anxiety over son’s rather lackadaisical attitude to expensive possessions, decided to amuse self by looking up ranking of latest book on (Self should have consulted horoscope first. But, why? Self would only have been told: “Today you will gain someone’s respect.” Which would not have stopped self from looking up ranking on Amazon. Horoscope should have said: Today is a day for careful evaluation, not hasty decisions. That sort of horoscope would certainly have gotten her attention. But, I digress)

Well, this evening, self has discovered that there is actually something worse than ranking of 1, 675,321, which was self’s ranking six months ago. Yes, if only self had not looked a gift horse in the mouth. Because today, self has made the rather disconcerting discovery that there is no end to the bottomless pit that is the Amazon rankings. For today, Wednesday, 30 May, ranking of beloved Mayor of the Roses is: #4,072,854

Dismay! Anguish! Bewilderment!

But, must desist from downing recently purchased quart of Coconut Sorbet. Must remember that this is still better than ranking of 8,075,621, which undoubtedly exists (Only where? Self has never seen any ranking even approach 2,000,000 — not, that is, until looking at self’s ranking this evening.)

Self, stop being so pathetic! This is only what you deserve! You write depressing stories and expect people to read them? Did not that learned professor write in The Multicultural Review that your stories were “depressing” and “sardonic”? (“Sardonic” is not so bad. And self cannot argue with the “depressing”) Looked him up on google and he was a rather aged gent, so perhaps this was a generational misunderstanding?

Self, stop it right this minute! As if gnashing of teeth can do anything to elevate self’s ranking on! Better to do as Sage Master Shih Cheng-Yen states, in Still Thought # 89:

Our hearts have three poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance. In giving we heal greed, with compassion we appease anger, and with wisdom we overcome ignorance.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

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