'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)
FUN AND RELAXATION ON THE LINKS
When I was young, I used to pass the time by sticking needles in my eyes. Later on, I enjoyed shoving sharpened Number 2 pencils into my ears. Now that I’m middle-aged, I get my kicks by playing golf.
OK, I’ve never actually stabbed myself with sharp objects (on purpose, anyway), but the fact that I play golf is strong evidence that I have some serious masochistic tendencies.
Golf is, to be charitable, a psychotic sport. It takes up too much time; it is way too expensive; and it is so maddeningly frustrating that my blood pressure reading often shoots off the charts and my facial expressions routinely resemble Donald Rumsfeld after reporters question one of his decisions.
And yet, if someone says to me, “Hey Bill, do you want to sneak out of work early this Friday and play golf?” my immediate reply is, “Yeah! Let’s do it!”
For some bizarre reason, the more pain golf inflicts on me, the more I want to play. I think this calls for some professional counseling. At $200 per hour, a therapist would actually save me some money compared to golf.
One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this definition, when it comes to golf, I am certifiably insane. Every single time I’ve ever played golf, I’ve had, at best, three bad shots for every one good shot.
But every single time I go out golfing, I think to myself, “OK, today’s the day I get into a groove and hit only good shots.” I might as well be thinking to myself, “OK, today’s the day space monkeys from Mars land a flying saucer on my front lawn and give me a large crate filled with hundred-dollar bills.” (We all know this can’t happen because space monkeys never bring cash when they travel; they use their American Express cards. And even if it did happen, I’d just use the money to play more golf.)
Golf, in theory, is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Let me describe the last time I played golf earlier this week, and you decide if the words “fun” or “relaxing” can be found anywhere.
It was a miserably hot and humid day, and halfway through the round I already felt like a washed out dish rag. By the time we were finished, I was so sunburned people thought someone had splashed red paint onto my neck. I had a blister on my hand, and my back and feet were aching. I sliced so many drives and missed so many four-foot putts it made my head hurt. (Well, I’m not sure the bad shots actually made my head hurt. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that after each bad shot I would whack myself in the forehead with the shaft of my club.) And finally, when the day was done, I had spent over 150 bucks.
But that’s not the insane part. The really frightening aspect of this scenario occurred as I was limping toward my car in the parking lot. One of my playing partners said, “Hey Bill, I’ve got a tee time reserved for Saturday afternoon. Do you want to join us?”
Now, of course, the only rational response at that moment should have been, “Hey, pal, I can have you arrested for making threatening statements!” But instead, without hesitating, I replied, “Sure! I’d love to!”
During the ride home, rather than do what a normal person would do—call my friend on the cell phone and tell him I can’t make it after all since I just remembered I have to rearrange my sock drawer on Saturday afternoon—I got excited about how much fun it surely will be.
So, maybe you’ll see me on the course this afternoon relaxing and having fun. I’ll be the one whacking myself in the forehead after each shot.
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