Thus, joy was experienced a few weeks ago when C was trawling through a second hand shop for furniture so that we would have things to sit on in our new home and he discovered for a paltry sum of money an old foozball table. (We originally called it babyfut, as taught to us by our French friends during a long ago holiday in Spain, but our funky youth worker HRS who has her thumb firmly on the button of all things fashionable laughed scornfully at us.)
Whatever the name, it is truly fantastic.. There are little red men. There are little blue men. There is a little ball that gets slammed from one end of the table to another via the turning of handles on the side. You can keep score of your goals via a series of numbered cubes!
What need us of foolish fripperies like, say, chairs, now we had entertainment, and more importantly for a couple of sleep-deprived parents, a suitably exciting substitute for sex.
Yet, and here was the true joy of the foozball, it was not just for the two sad old people vicariously reliving their youthful European travels, but for everyone, arts workers, youth workers, visitors, the man who delivers the Australian Post express mail. All who gazed upon the pleasingly marked out mini soccer field, with its two teams of equally matched little plastic men, would be smitten with its charms, would be aching for a match, and then another, and then a best of three.
And, as the great wheel of life turns, so too did we experience tragedy. A couple of days ago when a new arts-worker, a younger, more vigorous, need I say male, arts worker, was playing against C, he managed to snap one of the little red men in half.
And lo the cries of grief were legion.
In vain did C say “let’s pretend he committed a foul and got red carded off, play on…”. Without a little red men to guard that exact spot it was too easy for all the little blue men to concentrate their efforts and play the ball into that area and then, how deeply frustrating that proved to be for the human being who was playing red and twirling the rubber handles to no avail.
And like a drought stricken paddock, the foozball field was left fallow and proclaimed to be “stuffed”.
But then, another few days passed, and time brought perspective and calmness and also an opportunity for judicious googling. And the company who made the foozball table was discovered to still be in existence albeit in a completely other country ie the US which may just as well have been the moon. But also, on the instructions for the foozball, an email address was discovered. And a plaintive plea for help was emailed. And replied to.
And this morning as I made myself a coffee I heard a whooping in the loungeroom and went out to discover C and HRS jumping for joy. The company had emailed back with a phone number for their supplier in Melbourne. And the supplier in Melbourne said that they could replace the sad little broken red man. In fact they could give us a few of each colour in case of any more overly enthusiastic arts worker accidents. And they would be sent in the post today. For free!
It remained to be seen whether our small plastic team mates would arrive. But for now, the promise of renewal was enough. New energy flowed through our wrists, new games were played by disabling the little blue man that corresponded with his broken opponent. Round the wheel spun again, much like a little plastic foozball man determined to kick the bejesus out of a little plastic ball, and life was good.