I did a little research before writing this article and Googled “unusual hobbies.” One of the largest sub-categories in my Google hits was “Strange Collections.” I learned that some people make a hobby of collecting air sickness bags, handcuffs, cigar wrappers, and (it sickens me to type this) navel fluff. Other people engage in unbelievable competitive sports such as “extreme ironing,” in which participants find the most challenging places on earth, such as on the side of a mountain, to accomplish removing wrinkles from a shirt using a traditional iron and ironing board. Others make a hobby of following the “fighting beetle circuit” or they create art by carving egg shells. Members of one enthusiastic hobbyist group practice the art of catching thrown javelins. Some of the photos I saw still haunt me.
It was not necessary for me to consult Google to come up with pastimes that seem to me more like torture than fun. One of these is the putting together of 2000-piece jigsaw puzzles. Why would anyone find it relaxing to put together a puzzle whose pieces are the size of baby teeth? In addition, who can suspend the use of their dining room table for the six years it takes to complete one? I suspect that the overcrowding of our prisons might be eliminated if, instead of being sentenced to serving a certain number of years behind bars, convicts were sentenced to completing ten to twenty 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. Surely, the very threat of such a penalty would scare straight even the most hardened criminal.
I refuse to participate in any activity that involves being out in the cold. Thus, ice skating, sledding, snow skiing, snowboarding or polar bear swimming are not options for me. A few years ago a group of friends asked me to accompany them to Chicago in December for a day of Christmas shopping. Were they kidding me? Had those people never heard the term “lake effect winds?” I declined, stating that instead I would just crawl inside my freezer and spend the day gnawing on raw meat.
I want no part of any pastime that involves mathematics. Therefore, playing Sudoku is out of the question for me, as is the solving of riddles, especially those beginning with the words, “Two trains left separate stations . . .”
Please do not ask me to meet you at the gym for a workout. I don’t like to sweat, lift heavy objects, put on leotards, experience leg cramps or push the envelope on my occasional urinary incontinence.
I can no longer see well enough to attempt intricate embroidery projects; plus, I got tired of finding lost needles by stepping on them with bare feet. I tried my hand at quilting, but when I spread my project out on the floor so my husband could admire it, he asked, “Did you intend for it to be in the shape of a parallelogram?”
It seems that I am left with only one viable hobby option: writing. I do sometimes get eyestrain from staring at the computer monitor and headaches from trying to retrieve from my brain the exact word I am looking for, and yes, I may occasionally be embarrassed by letting such errors as split infinitives, dangling participles, comma splices, pronoun-antecedent disagreements, and run-on sentences like this one creep in, but my readers generally forgive me if the article makes them smile.
Thus, whether it is collecting four-leaf clovers or flying remote control planes, here’s to your success in finding the perfect pastime for you! Cheers!