It was family day at East Hampton Bowl, though I didn’t know it at first on Sunday as I took our 8-year-old daughter there mid-afternoon just to get out of the house.
Evvy and I had tried and failed to go bowling a week earlier, but had arrived after what apparently was a surprisingly early closing time; maybe it was just dark inside, but the lack of vehicles in the parking lot made it seem uninviting.
Anyway this time, it was family day, we were told by the nice woman at the desk. We could bowl for an hour, and as many games as we liked within that time, for $35, shoes included. Almost all the lanes were filled, most with what appeared to be parents and young children. We were set up in lane six, next to a couple with a boy and a girl who looked about 6 and 9.
Evvy and I got on our shoes, squared away the scoring, and started to bowl. Then we noticed the music. Top-40 pop was blasting from the speakers, no surprise there. But then, as we listened, we realized that the playlist was not, shall I say, family-friendly.
At home, my wife, Lisa, and I have been trying to enforce a no-cursing rule. I was cured of sailor-mouth to some degree by the kids’ imposing a $10-per-bad-word fine, which paid them considerable dividends, I am chagrined to admit. Over time, however, it worked. I cut back, reducing my use of profanity even around the Star office.
Lisa, who wanted no part of the deal, continued her merry ways. But now that our youngest, Ellis, is about to turn 3 and rapidly expanding his vocabulary, we have renewed our clean-up efforts. A foul word in his presence by anyone will result in that person suffering a 24-hour ban on the use of personal electronic devices, such as iPhones and laptop computers.
So Evvy and I were shocked and stared at each other silently at the first four-letter word to roll from the bowling alley’s speakers. Then there was another. And another. I wasn’t keeping close count, but heard a couple of F-bombs, several N-words, and one or two S-drops.
I couldn’t tell if any of the other adults in the place were listening. On family day, I guess, you just have to tune it all out.