Let me begin with a difficult admission. I was wrong last month about soccer.
I mostly enjoyed the World Cup and congratulate Germany for achieving an aspect of global domination that doesn't make history-minded pacifists like me nervous.
I’ll never love soccer the way I do, say, baseball or hockey, but I’m now convinced futbol will surpass football in America within 10 years.
I believe this if for no other reason than soccer lacks commercials, so watching a quality soccer match played by great athletes — and not great 4th grade athletes — was a revelation. Unlike the NFL, the action was non-stop, and didn’t pause every 90 seconds for ads urging me to buy cheap domestic beer, a new truck or suggest it was time for me to dash off to the urologist to express fears my penis is about to become a chronic loafer.
So good riddance, NFL. You’re crass, boring, over-commericialized and increasingly dangerous to many of the lunkheads who used to cruelly bully the hapless band nerds around in high school.
Does that mean in 10 years soccer will be the world’s most dominant sport?
I predict in 10 years the world’s most dominant sport will be splinkton.
Never heard of it? Until last week, neither had I.
But I did a little research — just a lick — and found it has the potential to be the most compelling sport on the face of the earth.
Anyone with a tongue and a stealthy bit of guile can play.
Heck, I played and didn’t even realize I was splinktoning.
I was washing dishes when I saw just a flash of my daughter, 13, race by. Moments later she came back and asked if my right elbow was wet.
I felt and said why, yes, indeed it was.
“That’s because I licked it without you knowing it. You can lick someone’s bare elbow and if they’re not paying attention they won’t know it. Saw it on the internet.”
My first reaction was relief the internet wasn’t around when I was a kid. There was no part of my old man I’d ever wanted to have licked even on a money dare.
“I guess kids are doing it to strangers in parks and stuff.”
I told her if I ever find out she’s licking bare parts of strangers in public the only time she’ll ever leave the house without duck tape across her lips is when she’s scheduled to sing in the church choir.
She promised she wouldn’t.
Still, it set off a predictable round of sneaky elbow licking in the Rodell house. Val and the 8-year-old got into it, too. I was the most frequent target. The girls said it was because I was the most oblivious, but I like to think it was because my elbows are extra tasty.
The whole episode sent me to the internet to investigate elbow licking.
Of course, there’s the predictable elbow fetishists and bunches of stuff about the rarity of humans capable of licking their own elbows. One said about 1 in 100 can do so, but that 75 out of 100 will make an attempt immediately after reading the pseudo-fact.
Whether any of that is true or not, I do not know. But I can verify that those who do should never snap a selfie doing so. The poser inevitably looks like a dog licking parts of themselves that makes humans either uneasy or jealous depending on their level of loneliness.
Then I found out about splinkton. This is from Urban Dictionary:
"Splinkton is a game in which players attempt to lick the elbow of an unsuspecting player or stranger. It is a little known fact that if you lick someone’s elbow when they're not paying attention they cannot feel it. There are various types of Splinks and amounts of points rewarded for each type of Splink.”
The entry says a splinker can get one point for licking the elbow of a fellow splinker without he or she knowing; two points if you surreptitiously lick the elbow of someone they know who’s never heard of splinkton.
“If a splinker licks the elbow of a complete stranger who is in a group that watches you lick their friends’ elbow the splinker receives 25 points.”
That 25 is the highest number of points possible indicates a lost scoring opportunity.
If I were the splinkton commissioner I’d declare 500 points goes to anyone who can successfully splink the elbow of Dick Cheney; 1000 points if the splink is achieved while he’s drunk and out on a Texas quail hunt.
And there’d need to be referees because once splinking grows in popularity it’s bound to attract its unsavory share of perverts who see a snazzy splinkton uniform as a license to publicly lick things other than elbows.
We’d need to be on the look out for cheaters, too, men and women who surgically lengthen their tongues so they could snap out a quick lick on someone reading on the other side of the subway car.
These logistical considerations are all minor and can be solved so splinkton can flourish.
Dedicated splinkers know the only thing they’re better at licking than elbows is problems.
I foresee a huge potential. It’s all people will be talking about.
Tongues everywhere will be wagging.
So bare elbows beware.
Consider yourselves warned.
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