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Thursday, May 1, 2008
A hearty welcome to HRTennisFriends

-----Original Message-----

To: HRTennisFriends
Subject: New members

Please give a hearty Hollow Rock welcome to new group members Jerry Eidenier, Steve Kennedy, and Bill McCaskill, the addition of whom clearly raises the tennis ability, intelligence level, and attractiveness quotient of our group as a whole!

On another subject, the next time one of our matches that I'm scheduled to play in is rained out, the foursome is invited to my house for a Beer Pong match.  I only live 7 minutes away from the club.  If you're not familiar with Beer Pong, check out  We also have some local rule variations which will remain undisclosed at this time.


-----My Reply-----

To the registered members of HRTennisFriends in general and Messers Eidenier, Kennedy and McCaskill in particular,

I have been out of out town so I have had not a chance to respond in a timely fashion to Lex Larson's missive regarding our list's new members. Sorry for the delay. First, and I think I speak for the group as a whole, Mr. Larson is not now nor has he ever been my official spokesperson.

And it should be noted that a "hearty Hollow Rock welcome," is most commonly displayed as a crisp backhand passing shot. As to Mr. Larson's contention that your collective addition "raises" anything, Lex may be speaking for himself. Tennis ability shall be determined upon the courts; intelligence by direct comparisons of PSATs, SATs, GREs, MedCats or in desperate circumstances, LSATs; and relative attractiveness shall be determined by the results of recognized beauty contests, or, alternatively, a valid poll of the dues-paying female members of the Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, Inc.

The excess consumption of alcoholic beverages is neither endorsed nor condoned by HRTennisFriends. Further, as per USTA regulations and in the interest of fair play, all rules shall be publicly disclosed, being published in an openly available forum. Further, I highly recommend that our new members decline this seemingly kind "Beer Pong" offer. Never play drinking games with a former bar owner.

Sincerely, representing himself and other like-minded individuals,

Gary D. Gaddy

-----Reply to My Reply----

HRTennisFriend Ben Elliott responded under his regular nom de plume of "Bud Wiser":


-----Further Reply to My Reply----


Thanks so much for responding to my email. I especially appreciate your input since everyone else (except Ben Elliott) appears to have been stunned into silence.

I want to assure you and others that my email was in jest. If the truth be told, the rest of us group members are every bit as athletic, brilliant, and drop dead handsome as Jerry, Steve and Bill. And as to the Beer Pong, this too was not a serious offer, though surely the regular late night Beer Pong matches at Hollow Rock could not have escaped your attention. Do you think it no more than coincidence that the beer keg sits so close to the ping pong table?

Take care,


-----My Final Reply-----

Dear Lex,

I can see that I forced you into your lawyerly mode. I certainly did not intend to do such. Being married to an attorney at law, I understand how awkward a posture that is. Clarification without admission of any culpability, however, should strengthen your legal position should a tort arise.

Your parenthetical "Except Ben Elliott" is a phrase I find myself using quite often as well. I expect that Ben was recognized as exceptional from his earliest school days. Mr. Elliott being stunned into silence -- now that would be exceptional. As for Mr. Elliott's political backing, I am not now a candidate for any elective office, but if I were would certainly welcome his endorsement about like I would that of Louis Farrakhan.

While I appreciate your attempt at repairing the damage your previous email wrought, you ain't gonna Lake Wobegon me. We are not all above average. If I thought you meant to imply that I am "every bit as athletic, brilliant and drop dead handsome" as, say, Bill McCaskill, you couldn't hire enough lawyers to win that suit. I am also certain that Messrs. Eidenier and Kennedy would be glad to join in said legal action, if they thought this unfortunate phrase was anything other than an extended typo.

And, finally, the United States Table Tennis Association, which strongly recommends against using the trivializing term "ping pong" (as well as "ping-ing" to determine who serves first), is currently running a significant media campaign to discourage mixing drinking and table tennis. I would have hoped you could have been more supportive.

Your HRTennisFriend,



Gary D. Gaddy, who was, at the time of this writing, a member of the HRTennisFriends listserv group, often wonders how Mrs. Larson knew when she named her son Lex.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 1, 2008.  Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:53 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 1, 2008 1:04 PM EDT
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