Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 11.21.10
Stanstead, Quebec


Just stop it already!

Reasons why my 15-year-old son should stop bouncing a basketball in the house and/or incessantly popping it up in the air and catching it -- since he asked:

1. Because I said so.

2. Because you might break something. While it's true that very little in our house has any real monetary or sentimental value, the act of breakage will make a mess, which may require cleanup and, worse, my involvement, and I am terribly lazy.

3. Because the vibrations against our wooden floors might dislodge my already precariously anchored dental fillings. We are also worried about the cat's osteoporosis.

4. Regarding the option of incessantly popping it up in the air and catching it, which, as you point out, barely makes any noise and isn't doing any harm, and what is my problem exactly: because listening to the "pock, pock, pock" sound every time the ball lands in your hands is akin to sleeping next to someone making that clicking sound in their throat every time they breathe, which, no matter how hard you try, you cannot possibly ignore. Plus, your sister is in the other room bouncing the giant inflatable ball, which shouldn't be in the house at all, and, yes, I'll deal with her next. In short, my brain may explode.

5. Because someday I will be rich and famous, and some hack preparing a tell-all biography will approach my children for the truth behind the legend, and you will be able to offer up this nugget of oppression and intolerance, which has festered in your core lo these many years, preventing you from leading an entirely fulfilling life and resulting in commitment issues and alienation from your own children. I see an "Oprah" appearance! You're welcome.

6. Because I may suffer from undiagnosed sfairesphobia -- fear of balls -- so I'd appreciate a little sensitivity toward my condition, thank you very much.

7. Because if I lose my temper and physically seize the ball from you, I will later be filled with remorse, which will lead to a funk, which in turn will lead to raiding the fridge for half-finished cheesecake and jars of marinated artichokes, and down the rabbit hole of regret we tumble...

8. Because, while I appreciate your dedication to your sport and your coach's instructions to handle a basketball as often as possible, there is a time and place for everything. For example, the middle of a basketball game is not the time and place for me to set up a television and VCR to show your baby videos, which I am prepared to do if you don't stop bouncing and/or popping.

9. Let me tell you about the tragedy of the 2006 National Basketball Team of Yemen. Their star point guard was Kareem Abdullah Yumpin. Yumpin Yemini, they called him. He could run the floor like no other, an immaculate playmaker, always in control of the ball. His secret, he told Arab Sporting News, was always handling the ball, constant motion, tossing and catching.

He would lie in bed at night, just tossing that ball up and catching it. Some say he even did it in his sleep. Then something happened. Some say the cartilage in Yumpin Yemini's hands just wore out. Others say it was the CIA, which had supplied the rival Oman national team with coaches and M-16s. Whatever the reason, Yumpin could no longer handle the ball. Yemen went 4-and-16 in their 2006 season, resulting in their elimination from 2008 Olympic contention.

Humiliated and angry, many of the Yemin players joined Al Qaeda terrorist cells. Yemin has since become a launch point for terrorist activity and threats by mail, and now it turns out I can no longer have my favourite Yemeni Blessings Brand toner cartridges airmailed from overseas. In other words: because every time you bounce the ball, the terrorists win.

10. Also because I said so.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at