I sometimes enjoy watching one of the paranormal TV shows, “The Secret of skinwalker Ranch.” I don’t want to mention the word “skinwalker” too often because some people consider it dangerous to even say it loud because they believe the skinwalkers will latch on to you. It’s kind of a boogeyman thing. Anyhow, the actors on the show can be pretty funny, even when they don’t intend it. There’s even an astrophysicist involved. My spellchecker says the word “skinwalker” should be capitalized. I figure if I don’t do that, I’ll be safe.
Anyhow, it gives me an idea for another show some producers might want to consider, “The Secret of Wiffle Ball Farm.” It would probably get an astronomically high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It would have a similar format to “The Secret of skinwalker Ranch.”
The setting would be in Monticello, Iowa where the headquarters is located. It’s Whiffle Tree Mercantile. There is some controversy about whether or not you should leave the “h” in the spelling or not. If you’re the least bit superstitious, you might wonder if leaving the “h” in would open a wormhole vortex which would allow a giant Wiffle Ball to zoom in with a vicious curve trajectory and bean you on the back of your head.
This isn’t so far-fetched, at least not as far-fetched as the “skinwalker” capitalization phobia. There is a story about the cartoonist, Gary Larson, getting a letter from Wiffle Ball, Inc. lawyers insisting that Larson capitalize all the letters in WIFFLE in the future and should only be used in reference to a product made by The Wiffle Ball, Inc.
Everybody knows you can put a righteous curve on a wiffle ball, maybe especially if you alter it in sneaky ways (see below). The ball has holes in it and I think I might have played it when I was a kid. If I had been a kid in 2011, I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to play it in New York instead of Iowa. It was banned as unsafe for a short while by the state legislature. People laughed at that so hard they probably peed their pants.
The name Wiffle Ball got its name from the whiff sound you heard when players struck out, mainly because of the outrageous curve a pitcher could throw with it. I think I read somewhere the inventors left the letter “h” out because it cut down on the cost of advertising. Regardless, you’ll still sometimes see Wiffle Ball spelled as Whiffle Ball.
But to get back to Whiffle Tree Mercantile (is it too late?), the mystery about it is whether or not you can find Wiffle balls for sale there. There might be a controversy about maybe a conspiracy to hide the ball from the public by favoring another meaning for “Whiffle” by tying it to the word “tree”.
Hang on to your hat, it gets pretty confusing pretty fast. The whiffle tree (which is often spelled “whiffletree”) is supposedly a mechanism to distribute forces through linkages. It can be used to connect an animal harness to a vehicle like a cart or plow. The name would be understandably be used as a cover for an antique store in Iowa.
But wait. There’s another dimension to the meaning of whiffletree. One guy says it’s a mechanical digital-to-analog converter. It’s based on the mechanical one described above, but it was a kind of calculator used in typewriters. The comments in the YouTube video are pretty enthusiastic about it, which makes you wonder what star system they’re from.
But hang on, the conspiracy and mystery go deeper than that. Some say that the whiffle tree is where you hang your whiffle bat. Okay, we need an astrophysicist or at least a scientist of some kind to play a serious role here—sort of.
In fact, there’s a story on the internet posted in 2010 about a mechanical engineering professor who studied the unhittable Wiffle Ball pitch and possibly discovered the secret. Dr. Jenn Stroud Rossmann studied the aerodynamics of the Wiffle Ball as well as something called “scuffing” which is to cut or scrape the ball so as to give it almost magical properties to make batters strike out. Scuffing is legal in Wiffle Ball, but not in regular baseball. What’s up with that?
The connection of all this with Whiffle Tree Mercantile in Monticello, Iowa is the biggest mystery, of course. What are they hiding? Why don’t they just tell us on their web site whether or not they sell Wiffle Balls? Is there an underground cache of scuffed Wiffle (Whiffle) Balls somewhere in the back of the store? Did extraterrestrials teach humans how to scuff them? Why does the internet story about Dr. Jenn Stroud Rossmann show her juggling Wiffle Balls? Is there a wormhole connecting Jones County (where Monticello is located) with Area 51 and when will the Federal Government simply admit that?
These and countless other questions could be answered in the soon to be considered blockbuster paranormal TV show “The Secret of Wiffle Ball Farm.”