Support the news

Andy Roddick Beat Me With A Frying Pan

Todd Gallagher, the author of Andy Roddick Beat Me with a Frying Pan, actually won that idiotic tennis match. But Gallagher claims Roddick took a point off him, so he says the title holds. Fair enough. It's his book.

In its most intriguing moments, the book attempts to answer questions that might have occurred to you, assuming that you have way too much time on your hands and that you are about half bright. Maybe you've wondered what would happen if a hockey team stuffed its goal with a man who was so fat that his bulk entirely filled the opening. Todd Gallagher tried to demonstrate empirically the result of that strategy. He discovered that it probably wouldn't work for long, in part because the man stuffed between the pipes would probably quit or die early in the game. This is because although hockey's rules don't limit of the size of the goalie, there is a limit on the size of the equipment a goalie can wear, which means that a lot of the very fat man's anatomy would be vulnerable to hockey pucks that would come at him very quickly and hurt a lot when they hit him, at least until they killed him.

The title of this odd book comes, of course, from Gallagher's attempt to determine how thoroughly a great pro tennis player would have to be burdened before an adequate amateur player could beat him. The frying pan proves to be a sufficient handicap, and Gallagher gets extra credit for his reference to the early Kurt Vonnegut story, "Harrison Bergeron."

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, look up the story and read it. It will help you to understand how silly it is that in some youth leagues nobody keeps score. Kurt Vonnegut saw the future, and it didn't work very well, although the story in this book about the man running on an airport walkway at one in the morning in his attempt to beat an Olympic sprinter might have amused Mr. Vonnegut, and may, in fact, still be amusing him, now that he has become unstuck in time.)

This program aired on November 15, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news