Learning Day: Bowl Better Using Self Hypnosis

Throw the ball at the pins. A second bowling tip. These are the traditional ways people do bowling. But what if I told you your very mind held the secrets to even more bowling success? What if I told you your brain could be rewritten to achieve anything and yes, yes, that includes better bowling. Better bowling! What fool would squander this gift on anything else!?

HOW YOU CAN BOWL BETTER USING SELF-HYPNOSIS by Jack Heise, author of HOW YOU CAN PLAY BETTER GOLF USING SELF-HYPNOSIS, is a 1961 guide on tricking your subconscious into playing your favorite sport for you. And yes, I know that sounds dull. “This doesn’t sound crazy at all,” you might complain to the recent critic of NINJA MIND CONTROL and HOW TO MAKE THAT BITCH SQUIRT. You’re wrong, though. As you’ll see, the author of this book is filled with the most shrieking demons, but first, look at the back cover:

Since the title already explained the book better than perfectly, Jack Heise had no more words to sell you on the idea of hypnotizing yourself to bowl better. So for the back cover, all he did was put eight frames of Buzz Fazio over the words “Buzz Fazio in action.” “Dear fucking God I’ve created a masterpiece,” he must have said. “I will give this child the name of a star pirate in a bowling cartoon,” Buzz Fazio’s parents must have said. “It’s a no on Strike Dakota: Bowling Commando,” Hanna Barbera must have said.

Speaking of Buzz Fazio, like I will be for the rest of my life, the book opens with bowling tips from the bowling stars. Buzz tells readers to relax, but to never give up in the battle of wills against the pins. Buzz Fazio has seen too many spineless weaklings give up before the ball has even been thrown, and has no further advice. Buzz Fazio comes complete with ball and war saddle; Tenpain the Bowlsteed™ sold separately.

Next we hear from Therm Gibson, which is what a FAMICOM SUPER BOWLING programmer would call you if you were the 9th reserve member of USA BOWL STAR TEAM.

Therm Gibson (Member, Brunswick Advisory Staff of Star Bowlers)’s bowling advice is complicated, but if I’m understanding him correctly, he thinks you should knock over the pins you goddamn idiot. And if you don’t get them all at first, get the rest next time you fucking son of a bitch. And also like Buzz Fazio, Therm Gibson says you should relax because I don’t think there’s a lot of bowling tips available. Once you know which direction to throw the ball, you’re mostly done learning. All that’s left is to look within… to find that which isn’t bowling, and destroy it. But first, Don “Anxiety Hunter” Carter:

The author of this book asked “Mr. Bowling” Don Carter for some soothing hypnosis tips and got back a declaration of war against Tension. Strangle it with your concentration! Relax until it’s begging to die!! “Mr. Bowling” Don Carter never really came back from World War II!!!

Jack also asked honorary “Queen of Bowling” Marion Ladewig for her take on concentration. And since it was 1961, Marion said, “Us dames don’t think we can do anything right, and maybe we’re right. Not about most things, but probably that. What was the question?”

You’re maybe wondering, “What does any of this have to do with self-hypnosis? These are dry bowling tips from 63 years ago!” Slide a bayonet into that tension, pal. Sometimes crazy hides in a dark maze behind 63-year-old bowling tips.

After the celebrity bowling essays, Jack includes several pages of basic bowling instructions. If you’ve ever had bowling star Therm Gibson impatiently tell you to, just, knock the fucking goddamn pins over, you know all these, so we can skip to page 27 which is when Jack finally begins Chapter 1: Here’s A Promise For Better Bowling.

As someone who has recently read the distilled wisdom of every top mid-century bowler and a twenty page bowling manual, I find myself instantly out of my depth. Three paragraphs into the first chapter, I’ve discovered I don’t understand about 40% of bowling words and I was expected to have had multiple bowling instructors before reading this. This is like opening your lovemaking book with, “Look, we’ve all unmonned a pubis during a double penetration. Maybe your wife can’t sit still on strangers or the chili was room temperature. Hi, I’m Buzz Fazio.”

What I’m getting at is author Jack Heise is absolutely certain every person reading is a Grand Ballsman or higher bowler. He’s also pretty sure you are terrified of bowling in front of people, so the first chapter is mostly about the coward living inside you.

Not to make it sound too scary, but Enrico Marino, who is named both Hank and Bowler of the Half-Century, says the fear of competition will “make a bowler a stranger to himself.” That’s where the obvious and only solution, self-hypnosis, comes in. You have to go deep inside your own mind and plant hypnotic bowling suggestions. You have to put yourself into a trance science can’t explain and replace your anxiety with strikes.

Here is where Jack starts to reveal what’s wrong with him. He knows you don’t believe in this hooey, so he’s going to prove it works. Not by teaching you how to bowl, but by teaching you how not to stand up.

So now you either can’t get out of your chair or Jack has shattered your faith in his mind powers. And it’s a great example of how the rest of the book is laid out. An avid bowler struggling to overcome his bowling insecurity with hypnosis gets very insecure about whether the reader is believing him, so he’ll pivot to desperately proving himself. For instance, he thinks bowling scores are determined by mental focus alone. Which means the next twenty pages are him explaining how there is no correct way to physically throw a bowling ball. It’s like stopping halfway into a book on lovemaking to say, “I’ve asked around, and no one knows what any of these holes do.”

Lee Jouglard, holder of the 10-year best average, and Eddie Lubanski, accolades unlisted, both teach bowling, and both agree you shouldn’t listen to them. This is only a small sample of the anti-bowling data Jack has collected. He is working backwards from the conclusion that hypnosis is the key to bowling, and he doesn’t care how many pages it takes to prove it. It’s what a logician might call “inductive foolishness” before smugly countering your fireball sorcery. And while I have you interested, ladies, let’s get a woman’s take on things.

Both women bowlers told Jack the same thing. “We’re not strong, or good at bowling, but our disproportionate interest in dance makes us strong bowlers!” It’s not a great point, but it supports Jack’s theory that the only measure of skill in this sport is how well you can hypnotize yourself. In fact, if good bowlers tell you they aren’t hypnotized, they’re liars. I’m not doing a bit. We’re at the point of Jack’s logic where unhypnotized bowlers actually are, even if they don’t know it.

This is madness, and may explain why Buzz Fazio and Therm Gibson’s essays were so strange. I think Jack asked them for hypnosis tips rather than bowling tips since he’s decided the latter is useless for bowlers. He’s now spent about 60 pages trying to prove it. This is like a book about making love with 11 chapters dedicated to drawing Sonic the Hedgehog, and what do I mean by that?

A: It absolutely works.

B: It might work, but not how or why you think.

C: Something terrible happened to you in a bowling alley.

D: You’re still hypnotically stuck in the chair from earlier and can’t quite get his ears right.

As I mentioned earlier, Jack is very insecure. He’s worried you might not believe him when he claims every bowler who isn’t hypnotized is lying. So now his book is about that.

“Those fools think relaxing and coordination aren’t hypnosis,” Jack complains. I mean, how else would someone get good at bowling? Rhythm? Like a woman!? Jack can’t fucking believe the reader is still arguing with him. “SELF-HYPNOSIS IS THE ONLY ANSWER,” he screams. This is the angriest a bowling book has ever been with me, and I left Marion Ladewig’s Adequate Bowling For Sad Girls at the altar.

Jack eventually wraps up his argument that all success is hypnosis even if you don’t call it that or it’s something else.

So to sum up: nonsense, incoherent straw grasping, insanity, IT’S THAT SIMPLE don’t MAKE JACK REPEAT HIMSELF. So now that you know there’s only one secret for better bowling, self-hypnosis, let’s move on to Chapter 7: Here’s the Real Secret For Better Bowling.

Do you know why Bobby Layne of the Pittsburgh Steelers was a good bowler? You have until after 1.5 Buzz Fazios in this sentence to guess, which means Buzz F– THE ANSWER IS SELF HYPNOSIS. All athletes use it, especially the ones who say they don’t, which gives them an advantage in bowling no bowler would have. This point is reworded more times than most people would consider possible, until finally Jack moves on to actual, real hypnotic techniques. On page 79, Jack finally gives three tests you can do on yourself to see if you’re capable of hypnosis: making your hand heavy, putting yourself to sleep, and desperately needing to swallow. Together they are the three pillars of bowling skills. And maybe it’s all this mental focus, or maybe it’s because his book is finally doing something, but this chapter has given a surge of confidence to our once sheepish author:

I’VE SEALED YOUR THROAT AND GIVEN YOU UNLIFTABLE HANDS, MAYBE STOP ASKING ME FOR PROOF,” says Jack. And good for him. Unfortunately, this conviction doesn’t last long.

Jack is worried most bowlers won’t have time to induce a coma before every frame, and you might try to just “picture” bowling better to save time. First of all, nice try– that’s self-hypnosis, dummy. And second of all, m-maybe time isn’t constant? Oh no, Jack is losing a weird argument to a strawman. That means it’s time to spin it off into its own chapter:

TIME MOVES DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU’RE HYPNOTIZED! This means you lose again, ceaseless voice telling Jack he’s wrong about bowling, wrong wrong about everything. And this time Jack has indisputable proof of how time distortion exists and will help your bowling score! Well, not proof, but some very convincing anecdotes. Okay, one anecdote, and it isn’t about bowling. Or sports. What Jack has is a Linda Darnell story about a time she ran lines with her doctor before a play:

Jack never provides another example of time dilation other than an actress flying her Beverly Hills physician halfway across the country to read her a script. “Oh, it felt like time was just dragging? Yeah, that was definitely some… metaphysical aspect of t-the, the hypnosis!” said Rosemary Casey, writer of Late Love.

So we’ve established all bowling success is determined by self-hypnosis, and all things are self-hypnosis when you think about it. Also, self-hypnosis slows down time because one -only one- actress used it once. “The bowlers will still fail,” hissed a voice from inside author Jack Heise. “No! You’re not listening! You don’t get it!” Jack howls at the reader.

Jack has explained this basic concept as many ways as he can. He’s answered every single one of your goddamn questions. So he’s only going to do it for one more chapter. And then another. He has lost the argument over whether this exists, and if it does if it works, a thousand different ways. You might be thinking, “Wouldn’t this drive a person crazy?” Yes. And finally, on page 119, his mind has had enough.

Jack ends his book like he wrote it. By screaming at some ignorant fool who knows he’s a liar. HE IS DONE ARGUING WITH YOU, UNHYPNOTIZED BOWLERS. Hold on, it looks like there’s an addendum where he… oh my god, no. No. It’s an entire chapter where he answers difficult questions he imagines the reader is asking him. This was already your whole book, Jack! WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JACK!?

Is Jack “certain” self-hypnosis is this simple? Um, try “absolutely certain.” Go ahead and check the other books! Any of them! They’ll all tell you the same thing: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOWLING BETTER AND A SECOND THING! aaaiiiIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!

Imaginary reader, I have imagined a friend for you, but they have called our powers IMPOSSIBLE! Oh, is “science” now “impossible!?” THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! STOP FUCKING LISTENING TO THEM, THEY’RE IGNORANT! I SHOULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED THEM IN YOUR LIFE!!!

He shouts at himself like this for eight more pages. Eight. And then, without warning, he informs us this was all some kind of crucible and we are now members of Bowling League, a fraternal hypnosis free bowling league. The book has a third ending and it’s a reveal this was all a trap!

Congratulations, Bowling League brothers and sisters! We watched a man wrestle his demons and lose for an entire book, but we leave not with pity. We leave with official documentation of how we’ve “attained the upper level in bowling thinking.” Oh, and I bet you think that’s nothing? Well, IT’S NOT NOTHING MAYBE IF YOU’D OPEN YOUR MIND TO BOWLING SCIENCE YOU’D LEARN IT’S EVERYTHING ELSE THAT’S NOTHING, OH, TORRAK SHALL HEAR OF THIS, I KNOW YOU THINK TORRAK IS NOT AMONG US, BUT YOU’RE WRONG; YOU AND YOUR FRIEND WHO QUESTIONS TORRAK WILL ANSWER TO TORRAK.

4 replies on “Learning Day: Bowl Better Using Self Hypnosis”

Holy cats, the address for his bowling league is only a block and a half from my place. Now its a home supply store called Glaze n Seal. Well, back to bed, or “marital bowling lane”, where Ill tap the 1-3 hole for a clean splash.

Therm Gibson’s choice to look directly into the camera has ensured that the man will stalk my dreams forevermore, just daring me to leave any pins still standing. I’m sure, over time, his definition of “pin” will become more and more warped until I’m wandering the woods chopping down trees and other random things until nothing is left standing.

Therm will still insist there are pins standing.

There will always be pins standing.

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