And those shoes! Snazzy. And butter-soft - a foot massage every time you put 'em on. Much cooler than flip-flops.

The sounds inside a bowling alley are so soothing, too. At the beach, you've got your crashing waves. At the bowling alley, crashing pins. Same thing. Only crashier. Once you get accustomed to it, the hum of the ball hurtling down the lane followed by the racket of scattering pins, in a sort of echo chamber of all the other 400 lanes, is kind of soothing. Considered that way, bowling is the poor man's day spa.

I spent an entire lifetime in a bowling alley one summer.

It was a few years after graduating from college and I was having a pre-midlife crisis. I was between, well, not jobs exactly, but between daydreams about what I thought I might do with the rest of my life. I had a pal who was going through the same thing. Somehow, we sought enlightenment - or, more likely, refuge - at the bowling alley. We went all hours of the day and night and we learned some important things about life, most notably that there are not a lot of people in a bowling alley at 4 in the morning on Easter.

My game was supposed to have had a head start because I took bowling in college. I didn't major in it or anything. I just took one class to fulfill what was my physical activity requirement. Yes, back then they had requirements. English, math, science, foreign language, stuff nobody ever uses in the real world.

Apparently, the school also thought we'd someday use a physical activity. I looked down the list of offerings and none of them clicked. Tennis, golf, rowing. They all seemed too ... what's the term ... active. Then I spotted the magic word: bowling.

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Bowling? When I looked again, I fully expected the word to have disappeared and been replaced by Really Hard Gymnastics. But there it was, still: bowling.