Realistic Pessimist : …….by Jove, that wasn’t in the least rational mate.
Imaginative Optimist : I know, but a good hearty laugh never killed anybody, ya? You heard of the Tennis Racquet Theory?
RP: Never. Tell me about it.
IO: It was something I read about…in a….. erm…..
RP: It is something you made up on your own yesterday then. Go on.
IO: Well. Yeah. Heh! How do you know that?
RP: You blink a lot when you are bluffing.
IO: Me? What? Ridiculous! Well the theory goes like this – You are put on earth to excel at one thing- one and only one thing. No matter what you want, your purpose is pre-defined and pre-determined.
RP: I have an objection to-
IO: Wait a minute dear sir! An example would clear the whole thing up. Take up Andy Murray, the Tennis genius! Have you seen his sweet serve? Now say you are….. Alistair cook- the best batsman on earth.
RP: THE best? Forgot a chap called Sachin?
IO: I said ‘earth’, did I not? Are you even listening to me?
IO: So you are Cook. Now imagine Cook’s father to be this annoying knob head, who forces him to work his socks off in tennis when he’s young. According to my theory-
RP: Do you happen to possess a sound scientific mind?
IO: Definitely. In fact I have a graph to explain the example with, only if you would let me-
RP: In that case how can you-
IO: Be patient dear sir! I knew you’d pounce on me like this. Let me finish. So irrespective of how hard the little Cook works on his slices and serves he shan’t match Murray. Because he was meant to cut and drive on a cricket pitch in the first place.
RP: All that is fine but-
IO: In a moment dear sir! I know exactly what you are trying to say. Exceptions to the rule, right? This is where the graph comes in.
So you see, Cook can get to be Awesome, but he’ll take ages to cook his way up. But Murray will reach there in no time. Cook picked up the wrong toy. It is all about picking the right ‘racquet’. The racquet here ofcourse, is a metaphor for our purpose in life. It can be a brush, a pen, a chisel etc. Are you getting the feel of the theory?
RP: Not quite. You see, all I have to say is that-
IO: Hold your horses dear sir! Surely you aren’t missing the practicality of this amazing line of thought. Ever heard of the adage- “You ought to know when to stop beating a dead horse”? I am telling you that there is no need to ride a dead horse to start with!
RP: As much as I appreciate your progressive thinking, it wasn’t the argument that I-
IO: Indulge me for an instant dear sir! I presume that you were not able to follow me entirely. I will put forth another analogy to expl-
RP: WILL YOU SHUT UP FOR CHRISSAKES?
IO: Ahem. Yeah. I shall. You were saying something?
RP: SINCE YOU JUST BLOODY MADE IT UP, how can it be a THEORY? Isn’t it fundamentally wrong to call it a GODDAMN THEORY? You barmy parrot-brained muppet; it is a HYPOTHESIS. What you have is the TENNIS RACQUET HYPOTHESIS. Get it?
The frowning face of IO, quickly re-materialized into that of my mom, who had been trying to wake me up for the last ten minutes.
P.S – The ownership rights to the intellectual development of the Tennis Racquet Hypothesis goes to my dear friend Rahul Krishnan (M.Sc, B.E). Thanks pal 🙂