When I was 17, a few high school friends decided that it was cool to bowl, and five or six of us began frequenting the Rip Van Winkle Bowling Lanes here in Norwalk, Conn.
It's never been clear to me just how that bowling alley got its name. I'm reminded of Sunday afternoons in the living room as a kid, my father drowsing at full length on the sofa, two inches of ash suspended magically from the end of his Marlboro Red, while the late great, bespectacled southpaw Earl Anthony let it fly on ABC. (A six-time PBA Player of the Year, Anthony was the first pro bowler ever to earn more than $100,000 in a single season - take that, Roy Munson.)
My pals and I tossed the occasional turkey, but for the most part we were more gutter than gobbler. Back then, the bowling alley's bar was notoriously lax with respect to the federal drinking age, and we often spent most of our outings playing Golden Tee and sipping the drinks of newly indoctrinated alcoholics-to-be - pissy beer, amaretto, margaritas and kahlua.