'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
ALLERGIC TO (GOLF) NUTS
That’ll teach my wife to make suggestions.
For years now my darling bride has been concerned that my only physical activity was getting up to look for the remote control. I always assured her that I was in excellent shape because of my devotion to athletics. Every single day I spent at least four hours watching football, basketball, or baseball—sometimes all three in the same day (via the magic of video cassettes).
Unconvinced that watching sports does much for one’s cardiovascular health, my wife often suggested that I actually try doing sports. Well, this year I finally took her advice. I started playing golf—a lot of golf. My wife is now begging me to stay home and watch some TV.
Golf is a funny sport. Not funny like, “Ha ha.” But funny like, “Why am I spending more money than the national debt of Bolivia to do something that makes me so darn frustrated?”
I’ll tell you why. Because there is always one shot during a round that feels perfect and goes exactly where I want it to go. And after hitting that one shot, I always say to myself, “Oh yeah, I can play this game. If I just take some lessons ($90 per hour) and buy some better clubs ($1,500) and join a decent country club ($30,000) and play every afternoon (loss of job), I could really get good at this game.”
While playing a round of golf, two scary things often happen. First, my brain dwells only on that one perfect shot and ignores the other 99 terrible shots (more, if I decide to play the back nine). My brain actually tells me that I’m playing well and having fun, despite the fact the rest of my body is seething with frustration, smashing clubs against trees, and spewing more expletives than The Jerry Springer Show during ratings week.
The second scary thing is that my brain analyzes the financial aspect of my plans—the lessons and the new sticks and the country club and the loss of employment—and concludes, “Hey, no problem. We can afford that.”
Golf is actually a very complex sport, requiring a player to analyze many variables before making the proper decision. (“Let’s see, the wind is from the east at about 15 mph, it’s fairly humid, and the greens are rather hard, so I’d better go with … a light beer before starting today’s round.”)
Since I want to join the right country club, I must analyze many variables before making the proper decision. (“Let’s see, my boss is angry at me again for leaving work early to play golf, my wife just called a lawyer, and my kids won’t talk to me anymore, so I’d better go with … a country club that’s more expensive than a 12-bedroom house overlooking the beach in Malibu.”)
I could fit right in at a fancy country club because I’ve spent years studying the mannerisms of rich people. For example, after guzzling down a drink, one is required to extend a pinkie while letting loose a room-shaking belch. Also, when greeting a fellow club member, it is not proper to say, “Hollingsworth, old boy, while you’re in prison on embezzlement charges, can I borrow your Porsche?” (The correct thing to say is, “While you’re in prison on embezzlement charges, may I borrow your Porsche?”)
In the meantime, as I conduct further research about which country club would be best for me—research consisting mostly of buying lots of lottery tickets—I’ll continue to hone my golf skills on public courses (where one is not required to extend a pinkie very often, unless one is digging a glob of wax from one’s ear).
If you’d like to join me out on the links, feel free to send me an email. And if you’re concerned that our round might interfere with my business and family responsibilities, don’t worry. I just checked: my boss said I now have plenty of free time, and my wife’s lawyer said I won’t have to appear in court until winter.
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