The Ball On A String

I arrived at a small town in a country I’ve never been to before. It had a traditional character of families and young people going for long, meandering strolls on promenades lined with sidewalk cafes and restaurants. No Starbucks or corporate chains in sight. Many people walk as slow as me, which is rare in all but a few Latin countries.

One afternoon, I noticed a small boy playing with a ball attached to a string. At the end of the string was a ring that you could place on your finger. He played with it as if it were a rudimentary yo-yo. I wanted to play with it, too. There were many vendors selling small toys, trinkets, and cotton candy. I found a man selling the ball on a string for a stated price of $2. I bought it without trying to negotiate.

After completing the transaction, I started playing with the ball. It turned out that the string was too short for me, perhaps because it was designed for little boys, not 39-year-old men. I looked up and caught a pair of girls looking at me. I felt self-conscious, but not enough to stop playing with the ball. After one minute of play, I got bored. I put the ball in my laptop bag and continued walking along the promenade.

I soon encountered a class of elementary school children on a field trip. I thought of handing the ball to one of them, but felt it would be too weird, so I took the ball out of my bag and discreetly rolled it into the center of the crowd like it was a bowling ball. Then I watched from the sidelines.

The tallest girl of the class was the first to see the ball. She picked it up and immediately started looking around. Her confused expression seemed to ask, “Whose ball is this?” She held it for maybe half a minute, asking her friends about the ball’s owner, but no one claimed it. She dropped the ball to the ground.

One of her classmates, a shorter girl with a chubby face, picked up the ball. She examined it carefully, inspecting it for any flaws or defects. She put the ring through her finger and bounced it a few times. Her class began to walk away. Instead of taking the ball with her, she threw it some distance in my direction. I couldn’t believe that no one from a group of thirty children wanted to claim a free ball.

Then a grandmother and a young boy walked directly toward the ball. Before the boy could notice the ball, his grandmother kicked it as if she were a professional soccer player and I the goalie on the opposing team. The ball settled only four feet away from where I stood. It came back to me! All I had to do was take two steps, bend over, and reclaim ownership of the ball, but I did not want it. I walked away from the ball and took a seat at the edge of a nearby statue. The poor ball had now been rejected by four people since it was set free with my purchase. If it had consciousness, I imagine it would be experiencing a deep feeling of rejection.

A man not much older than me, sitting on a bench with a woman who appeared to be his wife, caught sight of the ball. He stood up, walked towards it, and picked it up before returning to the bench. He did not look around or wonder if someone lost the ball. Instead, he started playing with it. He smiled while doing so, enjoying his good luck. After he was tired of playing, he embraced the ball with two hands and serenely stared off into the distance.

My ego stirred to action. It wondered about all the balls I could roll into crowds to watch the ensuing human drama unfold—how I could taint my gift by introducing a goal, an agenda, a benefit for me to receive. I was happy to see the man playing with the ball because the intention of buying it in the first place was also to play. My enjoyment came from the spontaneity, the surprise, and so I can never buy a ball on a string again and attempt to replay the past, but I will certainly perk up when I see someone in the future playing with a ball on a string.

Read Next: What Is The Tao?

Related Posts For You

22
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
avatar
  
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
14 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
zaqansamseauAhmadPaulJimmy Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
ldkjfmlsdjfs
Guest
ldkjfmlsdjfs
Offline

Nice story. I travelled the Balkans this summer by myself and did a lot of that sitting on a bench and observing others as well. There were Starbucks and McDonalds in many of the smaller cities as well so I’m curious where you are.

Who Cares
Guest
Who Cares
Offline

I’m guessing Albania.

Anon1
Guest
Anon1
Offline

Albania has a lot of muslims, i don’t think Roosh would go there. probs serbia

Anon1
Guest
Anon1
Offline

There’s probably a hidden layer to this story about hedonic adaptation as well and the joy in the novel and unexpected but i’m not able to fully grasp it

Arnold V
Guest
Arnold V
Offline

Perhaps it’s about moving on from distraction.

Clark Kent
Guest
Clark Kent
Offline

Nice little story.
Left me with a good feeling.

Ball
Guest
Ball
Offline

So you’ve set yourself a destination. The boat is not drifting errandly. It will come sooner than you think. Why it works like this I have no fucking clue. Looking forward for the next chapters.
If you tell the universe what you want. Generally the universe will find a way to provide it.

I have an idea. Create a website where every week you publish a page. And you charge a page of the book per week through a login.

Rooshes
Guest
Rooshes
Offline

When the railroad companies wanted to raise prices to Rockefeller in the oil business. He said fuck them and created pipelines of oil.

Augusta Ebert
Guest
Augusta Ebert
Offline

nice well

Augusta Ebert
Guest
Augusta Ebert
Offline

2″Start producing dollars right now. Get more time with your family by working that only require for you to have a Laptop and web access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to 8596 dollars a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with y0u,

so you can try it too….

Ahmad
Guest
Ahmad
Offline

Please, can you teach me how to make this happen?

splooge
Guest
splooge
Offline

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz8w4JWOqBs
dont be analt right 4chan incel guys.
just get out there into your small towns like roosh has and chase what you can. Rural game is the way to go not big cities like bangkok and kiev …suddenly sioux falls has their charms

Pedro
Guest
Pedro
Offline

Nice history, reminds me tchekov.

Pedro
Guest
Pedro
Offline

Story

Redwan
Guest
Redwan
Offline

The aliens will have your balls on a string soon enough.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy
Offline

Gettin awfully mature
I like it

Paul
Guest
Paul
Offline

I thought for one horrible moment that you had decided to wear a string bikini – I was thrilled that you hadn’t.

samseau
Guest
samseau
Offline

I saw it as a metaphor for alphas are used for enjoyment by women to only be casually discarded, but the old man at the end ruined that thought.

zaqan
Guest
zaqan
Offline

I thought it was about a cheap clingy slut