Some time back, while in a severely weakened mental state, I added my name to something called the Cyberdarts' Darts E-Mail List Server. It's run by Cyberdarts guru, Rick Osgood, from down in Houston.
Ever since, my laptop has been slammed with e-mail messages about darts from people all over the world. It's really exciting. I have learned a lot.
For example, I have learned that the proper height -- from the floor to the center of the bull -- for a steel-tip board is 5'8". I have learned this 42,003 times.
For those of you unfamiliar with high-tech computer stuff let me explain how the Cyberdarts List Server works.
Basically, it's a computer "program" that blasts out e-mail messages to a bunch of people who, while also in severely weakened mental states (such as New Jersey), subscribed to the same list as you. According to Osgood, the way this actually works, from a technical standpoint, is that somewhere inside the actual "program" a little humanoid named "Mac Jordomo" physically grabs the e-mail messages and distributes them to everybody else on the list.
Actually, there are two lists. Getting on either list is easy.
The first is for steel-tip enthusiasts and can be subscribed to by sending a blank e-mail message to substeel@dartboard.. The other list is for soft-tip aficionados. Just send a message to email@example.com.
No. No. Sorry. I'm just kidding. If soft-tip is your game send your email to subsofttip@dartboard.
Getting off the lists is impossible. So don't even try. You need to be a close personal friend of Mac Jordomo to accomplish this.
If you do subscribe to both lists you will find that there seems to be more e-mail traffic among the steel-tip crowd. Perhaps steel-tip is just more popular than soft-tip and hence, there are more people subscribed to the steel-tip list? Perhaps steel-tip shooters are just more computer literate than the soft-tip crowd and hence, better able to figure out how to subscribe? I really don't know...
What I do know is that recently Osgood found it necessary to post a message to the soft-tip subscribers to encourage some activity. What follows is the actual exchange of e-mails. Be forewarned however: the dialogue which follows raises doubt about far more than just the computer literacy of the soft-tip darts community.
RICK: Hi Darters. There has not been much traffic here in quite awhile. Surely something must be going on in the world of soft-tip darts! Feel free to post tournament notices and results here, as well as questions and comments on darts topics.
DARTOID: Soft-tip. What is that?
KEVIN: Electronic darts.
DARTOID: Electric? Really? Do the darts have little wires on them somewhere? Is it dangerous? I mean, can you do it near water?
ANDREA: Soft-tips are plastic tipped darts thrown at a board with a bunch of holes in it. It's a safer way to play darts than steel-tip. It's still the same game, just safer for kids if they're around.
DARTOID: Oh. Are there lots of people getting hurt with the steel ones? The electrical ones sound sort of dangerous. What if one falls in the bath tub? Yipes!
KEVIN: The boards themselves are electric. The darts are normal.
RICK: Paul is just picking on you guys. He is very much aware of what soft-tip and electronic darts are. That sort of post is called a "troll," as in trolling (fishing) for comments by posting something outrageous to a mailing list. In fact, I've heard that Paul's wife only allows him to play with soft-tips these days, since that unfortunate accident last New Year's Eve involving his Hammerhead steel-tip darts and their water bed. Fortunately no electronics were involved.
ALEX: So, anyone heard any results of Bullshooters? Anyone go?
DAVE: If anyone knows of a soft-tip darts league in the San Jose area please let me know. Thank you.
TED: What would you like to know?
DARTOID: What's soft-tip?
Naturally, I got to thinking about all this. I wondered: is it really possible that the mental acumen of the soft-tip darter, at least as indicated by my small sample, is approximately the equivalent of a Saltine cracker? I doubt it. The soft-tip darter may have to use a small computer to keep track of their score but I know from personal experience that it takes some serious brain-power just to turn on the machine and figure out the right combination of buttons to push to set up a game.
So I decided to cast my line into the steel-tipper's pond as a test. I posed the following question: "According to Rick Osgood this is the place to come if you have a question or comment on darts topics. My question has to do with these new-fangled electrical darts. For example: if you have your darts in your shirt pocket and it rains will they act like a defibrillator and save you from a heart attack? If you carry your darts in your hip pocket and sit in a wet chair will they shock your butt? Inquiring minds want to know. Thank you in advance for your comments."
I received three responses, two "on-line" and one "off-line." To receive a message on-line means that everybody who subscribes to the List Serve can read it. To receive a communication off-line means that it comes in the form of a private e-mail message -- usually (at least in my case) from Randy Holmes in Florida, containing some really weird photos of girls with squirrels. Nobody but the sender and you and sometimes, Mac Jordomo, can access it.
The first message was from Ed Edwards from Washington, D.C. Ed is an expert on our sport (translation: he can't actually throw) and also a kind of darts historian (translation: he's getting old). He's the creator of the excellent Tournament Darts International web site at http://personal.boo/net~tdi/http://personal.boo/net~tdi/. So I value Ed's opinion.
Ed astutely pointed out that "unless they are plugged in" electronic darts will not function as either a heart or rectal defibrillator.
The other on-line message, with a bit of a contrary view, came from Gavin McLeod. I don't know Gavin, though I think he used to pal around with someone named after a garden animal as the captain of the Love Boat.
Having had personal experience in the area of my inquiry, with steel-tip darts, Gavin called into question Ed's suggestion that a power source is required. "Been there - done that," he wrote. If you sit on your darts, "the effect can certainly be shocking."
For those of you who would like a copy of the off-line message and the bizarre attachment that I received from Randy Holmes, I respectfully refer you directly to him. Thanks to Mac Jordomo he can be reached anytime at the Florida State Penitentiary.
So, there you have it. I guess. If you have any idea what "it" actually is please let me know...
Beyond my well-researched advice that it's safer to carry your darts in your shirt pocket than your pants (and the subtle suggestion that if soft-tippers have the mental power of a Saltine then I have the mind a crumb) I haven't a damn clue what the point is of what I've just written.
Not that that's unusual...
From the Field,