Sunday, September 15, 2013

Still Life With Robin: Ping Pong Balls in the Aisles

by Peggy Robin

Boy, am I out of it. The other day I was in the wine/beer section of a grocery store, where I saw ping pong balls for sale on a hanging display by a over a shelf of Cabernet Sauvignon. "What are these doing here?" I wondered aloud, thinking someone had mis-shelved them. A twenty-something audibly snickered as she pushed her cart past me.

I faced her head on. "You know why they sell ping pong balls in the wine and beer aisle?" I asked.

"Of course," she answered. "All the liquor stores sell them."

"Really?" I said. "I've been in plenty of liquor stores and this is the first time I've seen ping pong balls on sale."

"Well," she said, "they're usually not in the wine aisle. They're supposed to be in the beer aisle." As if that explained it.

Now I was determined to find out what she knew that I didn't know but that everyone else (she implied) already knew. "The beer aisle? Is that supposed to tell me something?"

She was just as determined to make me guess. "Put the words together," she prompted.

"Ping pong beer," I responded obediently

"Opposite order."

"Beer ping pong."

"Now drop the middle syllable."

"Beer pong!"

I had my answer. Beer pong. A drinking game I had never played, and at this stage of my life, I am sure I never will play. But something so commonplace that it had become hard for someone of the beer-pong-playing demographic to believe anyone would find unusual. While I do feel a bit out-of-touch for not having known, in some ways, I'm proud of my ignorance. But just in case you are as ignorant as I have been about this aspect of contemporary life, and if --unlike me-- you would like to fill in your knowledge gap, here's a start: and


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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