Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bowling for Welfare

I am stuck on my documentary project, whose provisional title is Bowling for Welfare.

Here, all these years, I studiously practised my three-step approach, got to have a pretty good eye, won a few bets--and the next thing I do is bowl for welfare.

I had fallen in with some pretty baroque company--certainly not as heinous as the trenchcoat guys in Columbine--but bummy enough to be real dipsticks and sh*tkickers.

Actually, I'm pretty comfortable with dipsticks and sh*tkickers.

Really smart people can be a threat, can make your a**hole snap at fifty paces, they're so smart. They end up with jobs in government and they can do crossword puzzles in fifteen minutes, organize little assembly lines in copy centres at work and spell just about any word in the encyclopaedia.

I mean, a dipstick is pretty well on the surface. He isn't up to very much save maybe break into somebody's apartment and take not only the poor man's pornies but the cleaning lady's fifty bucks as well, the money sitting there nestled inside your old Air Force drinking cup.

I lose more pewter drinking cups and Paris Hilton tapes.

Don't know why, but Paris is my favourite skank.

And then she is developing a sense of humour: "You know, like most women, I like to shop. Shop a lot.

"But then I also like to turn a trick every once in a while"


Anyway, I fell in with some really strange company. Fifty years later and they still affected "boogie cuts", sideburns ducktail haircuts and pegged pants balloning at the knees. Blue suede shoes.

Sh*tkickers. "Marty" type from the old movie.

And all of them bowlers.

The bowling alley nearby has been open for 50 years and it still seems to have most of its original clientele.

The women in their silk bowling windbreakers and skirts hemmed just over the knees, the men, some of them in porkpie hats and "strides", the ballooning pants. There was a tendency of this set to boogie. No, not Saturday Night Fever boogie, actual jitterbugging.

That's when they weren't bowling.

I wondered what most of them did for a living.

Apparently not much.

One day they pooled all their welfare cheques together and the winner would have access to one.

I bowled like I never bowled before.

Some poor kid is going without his breakfast and some dad without his ciggies, but I had been dumpster diving for some months and he seven hundred dollars was first payment for an apartment.

And I got on local cablecast as the guy bowling for welfare. Pooled welfare money.

Fame at last. King of the a**holes.

The closest thing to this kind of success was at summer camp, when I was the first kid to whistle after eating a box of crackers.

And I ended up with real Crackers.

As I say, I am trying to put together a documentary on all this, but I am at a loss to find a camera man and a soundman.

They are actually in my circle of dipsticks, sh*tkickers and bowlers.

The soundman, with his beard down to his chest had been fired by Magna for being a fire hazard, and the cameraman was probably the guy who stole my Paris Hilton tapes.

There are so many of the disinherited and the fired in my bowling group.

I finally traced the stolen the Paris tapes to the cameraman, but decided to let him keep the footage. I needed his services. So together, we'd watch Paris and her trick with the salami.

He ejeculated halfway through, lost interest in my project and said "I don' want to read your stupid book anyway."

Ah the problems of a budding documentary maker.

Oh well.

Another evening of bowling tonight. I still haven't even started on my shooting script.

The problem, as always, is in the writing.

I did know an author who had fifty book titles in his hip pocket. Also a film script. He had been fired by the CBC
for not being able to spell. This was before the days of spellcheck.

I noticed that when he was bowling, some folded pieces of paper fell out of his hip pocke

I plucked them forth after his team was through.

I mean, this is serious business.

Sometimes when you're stuck on a project, you have to steal.

I mean, I'm a pro at this.

I am not fooling around here.

I am bowling for welfare.



the walking man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

Just hope your case worker doesn't discover your winning ways because those civil servants will say you made to much money last week so no check this month.

Besides if you're used to stealing Ivan go cop a small video cam and take a few of your shit kicker friends into the pro shop of the most high end bowling alley in TO and start filming asking things like why can't their balls be in your alley...just wing it

Then edit the shit out of the footage 'til it proves your point that shit kickers are an under served dumpster diving community and they need better benefits in their welfare.



ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

The Walking Man.


And you're breaking me up.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

right on the mark!


Josie said...

Ivan you are the funniest person I have (n)ever met. You are hysterical.

I have always been very partial to sh*tkickers. They are my favorite people.

What a hoot.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks you, Josie!


(Graduate sh*tkicker, dipstick and
much overrated bowler)

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


You are your own piece of art work, dressed up in bright colors that just paint on my smile.... what am I going to do with you? too dang funny.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I guess one is grist for one's own mill, bowling shirt and all. :)


EA Monroe said...

Offer them some Cherry Cola. :-) What a colorful picture you paint of the bowlers. Good luck shooting your documentary -- just getting the documentary made is a documentary in itself! You need a cameraman and sound person following you around. "The making of a documentary!"

I'll be looking for you on HBO or PBS in the near future!

Move over Michael Moore!

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


We're going to make it into a Superbowl.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to Liz,

Cherry cola.

Oyez, cherry Cokes and Rick Nelson on the juke box!
Ye malt shop.
Beach Boys!


JR's Thumbprints said...

May I comment here? Is that alright? I recall a game show on television called "Bowling for Dollars." The contestants got to keep their winnings. I apologize, but for some reason I'd rather do that then bowl for welfare.

Sienna said...

Okie dokie, I think I can help; I can work a movie camera, it has good sound (when it works).

I did drop it and spill beer into it...and also came a cropper off the motorbike with it; me, the camera and Lily the wonder dog.

I could follow you around and film you, documentary style, this would be perfect, it would encompass everything!

You are a great story waiting to be told...it's that simple.

You are so funny, I bet Paris will never realise what a friend she has been to so many.


http;//www.creativewritng.ca said...


Thank you for helping me with the concept.
I thought "Bowling for Dollars" happened a long time ago. I was barely aware of that old program.

Ah but Bowling for Welfare is an entirely different concept.

I really wish I could have watched an episode or two of Bowling for Dollars so as to do a proper satire on this kind of show.

What came out instead was what was in my blog.

Oh well.



"Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"


ivan@creativewritng.ca said...


You seem to be one of those people who can do anything.
I've got half a mind to take out a passport and head for Victoria, Australia--and I'm sure all the Quarks want to join me, even the sick one...Betcha a germ-killing winter in Australia would be just the thing for ailing Donnetta.

Ah that Paris Hilton quote.
It took years of self-denial and dedication to glean that gem from the programme, "The Next Best Thing".
Actually, I have no compunctions at all about being a glamorous heiress' womb mate.
Of course, she has a lot of those.


Ruth said...

well, believe it or not, I was on the TV show "Bowling for Dollars", the local version here in Minn., and I'm not THAT old!!! or am I???

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You were obviously one of the younger bowlers on that show.

Here's what I've googled:

"Bowling for Dollars was a TV game show from the '70s. While one could catch Bowling for Dollars in many cities across North America, it was not a nationally produced show. Each community would produce its own version. Since it was local TV, prize money was meager. One had to do things like throw three strikes in a row to win the grand prize of $300. Most of the contestants were elderly and not very good bowlers to begin with."

It's the next paragraph that gives me a laugh:

"Bowling for Dollars" (or "Bowling for X") has entered the popular lexicon to describe an activity that's motivated by greed, conducted for little more than some small gain, and requires little skill in acquisition of the object desired (money, votes, attention).

...I guess that's what I must have been doing with my "dipsticks".


Ruth said...

lol....for money??? That's what I wanted from the show. I didn't get 3 strikes in a row, but a spare. So my prize was a cheap costume jewelry that I ended giving away. It was fun though.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...


Hey, at least you didn't end up like that Marlon Brando character, where he keeps reviewing his life and says, "I could have been somebody. I could have been a contendah!"
You were at least a "contendah".
And you got something like fifteen minutes!


Sienna said...

No, really I am serious, if the Gov't would fund an Oz documentary on you Professor...I can do this, I made a documentary on menopause for our final thesis in nursing....I have made a documentary (using an old super 8) of Lister House Medical Centre, Bendigo...and life from a student's perspective; then did one on Mildura Base Hospital, Rural Northwest health services, small town athletics, and a small one on harness racing...if you were an Australian this would be a done deal...it could be applied for and granted in an instant...you as a character, your life story, it maybe bowling for welfare but ask any of the people here, you give great news/story.....it would be raw, heartfelt, emcompassing and funny sweet.

There must be a way to do this...please, keep well, stay healthy and let's get you on film.


Anonymous said...


This bowls me right over!


Sienna said...


Jack High it is.


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