So You Want To Be A Pro?
Then you better read the
25th anniversary edition
of this 1983 article
<<< HUMOR TIME SPECIAL >>>
( This is a reprint of an article that appeared in three 1983 issues
of Bowling Highlights, Denver Colorado –Jim Chestney, publisher)
“LEFT- WINGER’S VIEW”
The following is a 3-part story. But, like all tales, it is based on
an element of fact. How much fact? Let your imagination decide.
Any resemblance between the names of the characters, and real
persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. And, if you believe
that - I’ll sell you a bridge… (…at the touch of a button)
THE PBO PLOY - PART 1
THE PBO… Professional Bowlers Organization
PBO Founder… Eddie E. Liar
PBO Commissioner… Joe Anti-moral
PBO Director… Hairless “Juice” Goldwig
AC-DC TV Announcer… Chris Stinkel
AC-DC TV Color Man… Nielsen “B.O.” Bourbon
PBO Lane Maintenance Directors… Lane Marshall & Al E. Gator
Bowling fan and tourist… Joe Bowler – and countless other
bowlers and weirdos.
Our story begins on the palm-lined sandy beaches on a resort
island in the Florida Keys. Lane Marshall and Al E. Gator, are
sipping on pina coladas under a large umbrella, shielding them-
selves from the hot tropical sun. Lane and Al have served as
lane maintenance directors for the PBO for the last ten years.
“Al, maybe we went too far to prove our point. If the PBO
catches up with us they’ll shoot us, Eddie E. Liar will have us for
lunch! ” (Eddie is the Founder of the PBO).
Al chuckled nervously. “ Maybe. Or, maybe they’d pay us a
hundred grand or so, to keep quiet and not let the cat out of the
Lane eyed his pina colada passionately. “One thing’s certain,
the bowlers would love to hear what really goes on out there.
And I’m sure they’re wondering after watching last week’s show.”
A voice from behind their view startled them. “Did I hear you
say bowlers?” Lane almost choked on an ice cube. A balding
overweight man in his early forties stood there in checkered
bermuda shorts, his white legs reflecting the sun to a point that
Al’s eyes were watering from the glare. “Hey, I know you guys.
My name’s Joe Bowler. You are the PBO lane men, right?”
The strain had been too much. The rich Jamaican rum was
starting to act like a truth serum, and the boys ached to share
the weight of the heavy secrets on their chest. “We used to be
the lane men. We quit last Friday. Did you see the TV finals on
Saturday, Joe?” Al was squeezing his glass so tightly it seemed
it would break any second.
“ No, just the first few games of qualifying. I’m a bowling nut,
but my wife didn’t want to spend our whole vacation in a bowling
alley. Why, who won? ”
The question seemed to almost bring on an anxiety attack,
and Al ushered the dark-tanned cocktail waitress for two more
pitchers of coladas. “And hurry!” he added, tipping her five
“I’ll tell you who won in time, but first I’ve got to tell you the
events that lead up to the thing. It started back in the sixties,
the dawn days of the PBO. Very little was understood about lane
conditioning. When someone won, like Fully Rollwick or Carmel-
corn Saliva, it was simply assumed that they were bowling the
best that week. But, sometimes it happened that nine or ten of
the sixteen finalists were left-handed, and since only ten lefties
were entered, common sense told us they couldn’t be bowling
that good. So we studied the lanes, and hired Big Hogloo to
control the lefty-righty thing. If there were too many lefties after
the first block or two of qualifying, well, he’d just slop a little oil
out there on the left side. Well, then we found out that some
weeks there would be 14 full-rollers in the 16-man finals, and
some weeks there’d be no full-rollers. And, some weeks every-
one in the finals were down-and-in players, and some weeks they
were all swingers. So the situation had to be studied in depth.
Sam Blocker was put on the staff. During the ensuing years the
PBO learned how to make sure that if 16% of the bowlers were
left-handed, 16% of the total purse would go to them at the end
of the year. If the swingers were making too much money, the
down-and-inners would soon catch up. The PBO was learning
with leaps and bounds, how to control the lanes, and yes, even to
determine the winners. And that’s when Eddie E. Liar came up
with this crazy idea.”
Joe Bowler looked puzzled. “ What idea was that ??? ”
PBO PLOY - PART 2
Joe was puzzled. “ What idea was that, Al ??? ”
“ Image, ” Lane broke in. “ Image. ”
Joe Bowler was totally confused. Lane was plucking the
feathers from the ornamental bird on his pina colada stir stick.
“ You see, Eddie was thinking, ‘ Who cares about equality in
Bowling. What really matters is the Nielsen ratings. And AC-DC
TV. That’s where the big bucks are! ’ And how do you have the
highest ratings? It’s Image. Surveys have shown that when
certain interesting colorful bowlers are on the show, the ratings
soar. But get some drab ho-hum dude on there, and it’s disaster.
And image is much more than raw bowling talent, it’s much more.
It’s charisma. You’ve either got it, or you haven’t. Take Ernie
Schyecchel. He can dress up like Evil Kneivil or Julie Andrews
and he’s still going to be a duck. No charisma, no image. ”
A bikini-clad beauty wiggled by, stopping Lane’s flow of
thought. Al took over.
“So that’s when Eddie bought this computer. State of the art.
Cost three million five! It can do everything but make love. So
Eddie, and Joe Anti-moral, the PBO Commissioner, Sam Blocker,
and some of the best programmers in the world, sat down and
figured out how to make this thing work…
Before long, they were doing amazing things. If they wanted
Earl Unearthly on the show, but no other lefties, the IBM would
punch out the appropriate dressing type, quantity, distance, and
shim settings. Presto, enter Earl the Squirrel! If they wanted
Mork Wrath and Herschel Showman, there they were. ”
Joe Bowler was getting very uneasy. “ Are you telling me
when my idol, Mike Turban wins, that it’s a fix, a hoax? ”
Al was sucking hard into a pitcher of ice cubes. The rude
sound prompted Lane to usher the girl for a new pitcher of
coladas. “ Mike Turban is an exception. He bowls well in spite
of the computer. Remember, he has God on his side. ”
Joe nodded. “ That’s right, Mike’s a preacher. ”
“No, no, not that God! ” choked Al. “I mean Bull Taylor, his
bowling coach. With Bull’s help, Mike can hit a fourth of a board
nine out of ten times. But most players don’t have Turban’s
talent. They’re at the mercy of the computer. And that computer
will do what Eddie has trained it to do. Get the highest Nielsen
ratings. Earl brings the highest ratings, so Eddie’s made him
Bowler of the Decade. The viewers love Herschel, too, even
though he’s a bad boy. They identify with his violent temper and
rack-kicking. & Mork Wrath, they love to watch him twist it up! ”
Joe protested, “ But lately you see new faces every week. ”
“ Now you’re catching on! ” There was mania in Al’s eyes.
“ They got bored with Unearthly. After 200 TV appearances,
it’s like watching Father Knows Best reruns. The folks want new
faces, they’re hungry for new blood. Herschel Showman gets
great ratings so Eddie lets him make the show most every week.
Eddie can’t stand him, though, so he won’t let him win. He makes
the show, loses, and goes off to pout. It’s driving him bananas. ”
Joe couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you telling
me, then, that all these new dudes winning each week, that it’s
all planned? ”
Lane was getting blitzed on the rum. His eyes went out of
focus. “Right on, man. Eddie E. Liar is trying out new winners to
see if they have that certain image. Every week it’s someone
new. Gary Skidball, Art Trash, Skim Milker, Sal Who-am-I, Norm
Fluke, …the list goes on and on. To-be Contrary got the highest
ratings. He’s got an Ultra-Brite smile and jumps six ball racks at
a time. They love him.
“ So you still haven’t said why you quit. ” Al threw an ice
cube. “ Wouldn’t you quit? We remember when bowlers won!
Fully Rollwick would split boards. Dick Rubber would create his
own area with his finely tuned footwork and timing. Now, there’s
no game left, just politics. So we had our fill and quit. But before
we left, we gave them a week of bowling they’ll never forget! ”
By now Joe was so shook he poured himself a drink, and
looked at Al and Lane with wild, starry eyes.
“ What the hell did you guys do ??? ”
PBO PLOY PART 3 - “Button, Button, who’s got the Button? ”
By now Joe was so shook he poured himself a drink, and
looked at Al and Lane with wild, starry eyes.
“ What the hell did you guys do ??? ”
“ We couldn’t just leave knowing how they were manipulating
the bowlers and the viewers. We had to put a monkey wrench in
their machine. And where else to make the “exit la grande” but
at Don Smarters’ Bowl in Miami …the $400,000 Burger Queen
Open! “ Do you remember last time Burger Queen sponsored an
Joe was a die-hard fan. “Sure, who doesn’t? Randy Bigmouth
won. And when Chris Stinkel asked him what he was going to do
with all those greenbacks he said ‘I’m sure the hell not going to
buy any Boppers with it!’”
Lane gulped down a half a pack of Rolaids, then summoned
the girl for two more pitchers of drinks. But this time, instead of
coladas, it was tequila sunrises. “ That coconut juice will kill
you. ” He looked intense. “ Yes, that was a dark day for the PBO.
They lost one of the biggest sponsors they ever had. Last year
Burger Queen president, Wally Whaler called Eddie, and said,
‘ All is forgiven. We’d like to sponsor the richest PBO event ever.’
Eddie swore that he’d treat them like gold. So what’s the last
thing he’d like to see in Miami? ”
Joe’s eyes were like silver dollars. “ You guys didn’t ?!
Oh no, Randy made the show ?! ”
Al giggled, totally blitzed, Joe was afraid he’d pass out
before the story was told. “ You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.
Remember what was so unique about the Miami open ? ”
Joe thought back. “ Well, they let special non-members bowl
who had given a lifetime of service to the PBO. A one-time
honorary chance to bowl with the pros. ”
Right Joe. There was Hairless Goldwig, the PBO Director,
Chris Stinkel, and a dozen or so representatives from the
companies who sponsor all the big ones, year after year. Like
Wally Whaler of Burger Queen, and Rolly Hills of Miller Stills, and
B.F. Good-and-rich from Tireblown Rubber. They’re all about 165
Joe was getting impatient. “ Please Al, get to the point! ”
Lane looked over, obviously slurring. “ The point is, Joe,
that this time we decided who we wanted on the show, fed the
computer lots of data on these fellas, and out came the lane
conditioning printout. By the time Eddie E. Liar and Joe Anti-
moral got wind of what was happening, it was too late. They
flew to Miami, but we had already split. We also took the
necessary precaution of changing the entry code on the
computer, so they couldn’t change the programming. By the time
they got programmers out there, the semis were over. The top 5
were decided for the next days’ TV show. And here’s how it was;
- 1. Randy Bigmouth; 2. Wally (two-hands) Whaler;
3. Chris Stinkel; 4. B.F. Good-and-rich; and of course,
5. Mike Turbin. ”
So Eddie and Joe pondered the dilemma. Great damage had
already been done. With these yo-yo’s on the tube, the Nielsen
Ratings would drop just below Big Time Wrestling. But if anyone
won the title other than Mike Turban, they’d be laughed out of
the country. If Bigmouth won again, God knows what he’d say
about those hamburgers! So they punched in the new data. The
IBM printer clicked out new instructions for Saturdays’ lanes… ”
Lane was one toke over the line. He stretched out on the
sand and passed out. Al took over. “ You see, this computer is
so smart it knows that Turban likes to point it right up at ’em.
And it can give a 3 board area to the pocket, and yet shut out
anyone with a bigger hook or different angle. ” Joe’s jaw was
gaping, and he stood there listening, saying nothing. Al went on.
“ Eddie and Joe were so panicky they overdid it. Right out of the
box Turban shoots 279. His “opponent” shot 106. This poor guy
was humiliated. He was just a 160 shooter, no match for the
computer. So then Turban took on Stinkel. The really sad part
of Stinkel bowling on TV is somebody had to take his place with
B.O. Bourbon. Dave Biles was sick, so they called in Howard Co-
star. Talk about fallen Nielsen Ratings! Twice Co-star called the
Burger Queen president a common street bum. Stinkel bowled a
respectable 189. But guess what Turban shot? ”
Joe made a couple of odd, grunting sounds. “ A 300 !?! ”
The crowd was going nuts. The vice-president of Truly Worthless
Hardware was on hand to present the $50,000 check. He smiled
faintly, but you could see from the veins popping out in his neck
that he was about to have a stroke. So now Turban bowls this
Wally Whaler. Whaler shot 128. Guess what Turban had? ”
Joe looked like some Frisco freak on a bad trip. “ Another 300! ”
This time the hardware guy goes straight to a pay phone and he’s
So now it’s the grande finals: Turban and Bigmouth.
Turban is hitting a splinter every shot. And while E. Liar is having
this heated conversation with the hardware guy, Mike keeps
stringing ’em. Turban had the match won, so Anti-moral had the
security guards escort Turban’s coach, Bull Taylor, out the door,
hoping to destroy his bid for a third perfecto, & another $50,000.
Didn’t work. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Three 300’s !!!
The Truly Worthless Hardware man threw his drink in Eddie E.
Liar’s face. And Randy Bigmouth, was he hot! 145, and never hit
the pocket. ”
Joe was mumbling something incoherent. “ It’s not over yet! ”
Lane broke in, sobering up for the final act. “ Howard, had the
audacity to call Randy up for his 2nd place check. “ This $30,000
will buy you a lot of Boppers, right Randy? ” All he got out was,
“ I’ll tell you what you can do with those Boppers… ” when Eddie
came running down the approach, jumped three ball racks, and
tackled Bigmouth like Mean Joe Greene. “ Say it and I’ll kill you,
you *M<X%!>!$!X!/G!! blankety-blank !! ” It was such a mess that
AC-DC TV blanked out 20 million sets, putting them on terminal
technical difficulties. They never did come back for the wrap-up!”
No one said a word for ten minutes. You could hear the ice melt.
Finally, Joe asked weakly, “ What are you guys gonna do now? ”
Lane looked at Al. They felt better getting this load off their
chests. Al smiled at Joe. “ Lay low for awhile, maybe go to
Sweden for an identity change. Down the road, who knows ??
Maybe get involved with a respectable sport… like, Ice Hockey
or Roller Derby...
*Ed. Note: Jim Chestney is also, a former PBA national member.
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