'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
GROWN-UP HOBBIES ARE NOT CHEAP
When I was a kid, my hobby was playing baseball in the backyard with my friends from the neighborhood. We would play all day long. The total cost of my hobby was exact $7.49 (six bucks for a bat, one dollar for a cheap baseball, and 49 cents for a roll of duct tape to repair the bat when it eventually cracked and to wrap around the baseball when the cover started to rip).
Now, almost four decades later, I don’t really have a hobby anymore—unless you count sitting on the couch and watching TV every evening. So I thought it might be a good idea to find an activity which didn’t turn my brain into a big bowl of guacamole dip, only stupider.
Unfortunately, I encountered a major problem trying to find a grown-up hobby: I have yet to win the lottery. You can’t have a hobby nowadays unless you’ve won Power Ball or your name is Rockefeller. Here is a list of some hobbies for adults and their respective costs:
Boating – Owning a boat is a lot like having a cocaine addiction, except it costs a lot more and it produces much more anxiety. Small boats cost as much as a BMW automobile; mid-sized boats cost as much as a Porsche; and large boats cost as much as a 7-bedroom colonial on four acres in Greenwich. But the cost of purchasing a boat is only a fraction of the true cost. You also must add in a trailer, the new truck required to pull the boat and trailer, docking fees, gas, insurance, and maintenance.
Fishing – The cost of fishing is identical to the cost of boating, but you also have to add in a zillion dollars worth of “fishing gear.” Plus you have to consider the “social cost” of having your hands always smelling like bait. Yeah, I’m sure that really attracts the ladies.
Skiing – The proper equipment for skiing costs thousands of dollars. Lift tickets are close to $100 per day. And a new Volvo station wagon with a ski rack—which I believe is required by law in certain Yuppie areas of Vermont—is rather pricey these days. But the largest expense about skiing is the fact you have to hire your own personal orthopedic surgeon. Those guys do not work cheap.
Motorcycles – A few of my co-workers are into motorcycles. As best as I can figure, it’s a lot like boating, except when you fall off you don’t go “splash,” instead you go “crunch-crunch, scrape-scrape.” Maybe you can pair-up with a skiing enthusiast and share his surgeon. To give you an idea of the cost of motorcycling, if you want to buy a $12 black tee-shirt, you pay $12. But if you want to buy a $12 black tee-shirt with the Harley-Davidson logo on it, you pay $74. And the tee-shirt is the least expensive item in the world of biking.
Camping – Insects crawl into your nostrils while you sleep. Case closed.
Golf – The financial cost of clubs, clothing, lessons, and green fees is outrageous, of course, but the emotional cost of golf is worse. Few people know this, but golf was actually invented by sadistic Nazi scientists to measure how much frustration human beings can endure. Apparently the answer is “a lot,” based on the number of people I know obsessed with golf.
After analyzing the cost of various grown-up hobbies, there’s only one thing to do. I went to Wal-Mart this morning and bought a bat, a ball, and roll of duct tape. Now I have to round up a few neighborhood kids.
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