I read with interest Dick Allix's recent column in Bull's Eye News -- his 128th -- and took note of his observation about how difficult it is for him, sometimes, to knock out a few paragraphs of fresh copy. I've read Allix's column for years and while I now know more than I could ever have imagined I'd know about the politics of darts, why Eric Bristow is God and how to stage a dance with Cliff Lazerenko, my mind still burns with questions about our sport that only someone of Dick's experience and pedigree can address. For example: If ,after sixteen pints of Tenants Extra you stick the chalker in the ear, do you say "Sorry mate" and toddle off or do you sing "God Save the Queen", score a Yahtzee and order another jar? If you draw Prince Charles in a Luck of the Draw do you bow or curtsey before or after you tie the bloke down and inject him with a personality steroid? If you throw a 180 during league competition do you really have your choice between a free beer or a night out with Camilla Parker-Bowles or can you substitute one of the Spice Girls instead?
These are serious questions. Why, in nearly a dozen years of posting columns, Allix hasn't addressed the questions that inquiring minds are dying to have answers to is truly one of the great mysteries of life. Surely there is no one better equipped than Allix to lay these questions to rest.
Similarly, there is a question that I, better than anyone else, can answer. In fact, I am the only person on earth who can answer the question.
If you are a regular reader of this column, and you haven't yet been checked into a mental institution, you are aware that each month I deal with one of the issues of great concern to those who love the sport of darts. Are electronic boards Y2K compatible? Where can you find a game in the rainforests of Congo? If you are shooting in Bangkok how much do you have to pay a prostitute to chalk? Yes, these are important matters.
And so, after nearly 80 columns of my own, it is time to answer the question that has perplexed the darting community for years: just what's the point of all this drivel? Put another way: what is the meaning of "Dartoid"?
If the truth be known, this very question is one that has plagued my wife for almost twenty years. In 1980, she married a guy with black hair who wore a blue suit and raised money for the Republican Party. Somewhere along the line the hair turned gray, a beard grew and the suits in my closet were taken over by darts t-shirts. Reagan's teflon years became my tungsten years.
It was around Christmas of 1994 that the drastic change in my lifestyle was accorded the respect that only comes when a moniker is assigned by friends. It was my buddy Tommy Molina who coined the nickname Dartoid. I suspect now that Tommy, an academic who used to teach Latin and Greek Literature at the University of Kentucky, knew years ago that someday the joke would be on me.
It was a guy named Allan Mandaville from somewhere in Brooklyn Heights who recently brought the joke -- the meaning of Dartoid -- to light. When his e-mail appeared on my computer screen all I could think of was YUCK! His message left my wife rolling on the floor in laughter.
"Thank you for entertaining" penned this darter from the Big Apple. "Moreover, thank you for providing me with a fine pejorative for one particular NYC darter friend of mine who (like me) has a particular interest in language and has read Bull's Eye News for years." "Why in the world did you pick 'Dartoid' as your moniker? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a 'dartoid' is 'like or of the nature of dartos.' 'Dartos' is defined as 'the layer of connective and unstriped muscular tissue immediately beneath the skin of the scrotum.' " "Hee, hee, hee" concluded Mandaville, "Guess it's too late for you to change, but if you were my buddy I'd never let you hear the end of it."
And there you have it -- the meaning of Dartoid. I've bared my soul. I've also noticed that if you rearrange the letters of Allan Mandaville's name it spells: "Damn! all anal evil." This probably means nothing.
So, as I continue to churn out copy about extremely important matters and as Allix, responding to my challenge, wanders the moors (or whatever it is they call the rolling English countryside) with his laptop under his arm contemplating the answers to the questions I've posed, monikers notwithstanding, I can take satisfaction in knowing that while Allix may have me beat by 48 columns, and I may never catch up -- I'm still Dartoid. I'm named after a scrotum. I've got something the Spice Girls want.
From the Field,