Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Love You, But If That Goes In...

“I’ve never had a hole-in-one.  Never had an Ace.  Not one.  Thirty-plus years playing golf (not continuously, of course), and I’ve never experienced writing a “1” on my scorecard, excepting the times it’s the first digit of an “11” and followed an expletive-filled sentence about how unfair the previous hole was, or how poorly the club manufacturer did their job.  I’ve come close - hitting the flagstick a few times, getting within a foot or so on numerous occasions, and even lipping out once (“Stupid Callaway 7-iron!!!  I should have bought the hybrid!!!).  Despite all of those close calls, I’ve never holed out from the tee.  I’ve witnessed holes-in-one, both on television and live.  I’ve slapped the high fives, jumped up and down, and yelled to everyone within earshot a distinct description who exactly is ‘Da Man,‘ but I’ve never been Da Man myself.  That’s why I’m here today, Your Honor.  See, since my wife had a hole-in-one right in front of me during her very first ever round of golf, I had no choice but to do what I did.  Am I sorry for it? Of course I am; she was the love of my life and my soul mate, and I miss her terribly.  However, any golfer will tell you that I was completely justified in my actions.  It had to be done.  I throw myself on the mercy of the court.”  That’s the speech I was practicing in my head as I watched my wife Carolyn’s tee shot roll towards the hole.
I’ve been a golfer since the late 70’s, when my Father first took me out on a beautiful expanse of green real estate in Ohio, and taught me the fundamentals of the game. (“Keep your head down!  Lock your elbow!  Lift your head up!  Why is your elbow so stiff? Harder!  Swing harder, so it goes farther!”)  Since I became a father myself I don’t get to play as much as I’d like, a common situation most middle aged, middle class married guys like me can understand.  I mean, it’s difficult to justify a habit as expensive and time consuming as golf when you’re responsible for a family. (“You’re OK with the kids this afternoon, right honey?  I’m going to go drop $200 we don’t have on a round of golf; see you in seven hours, when I get back I’ll reek of scotch and be ready for romance! MWAH!”)  It’s OK that I don’t get to play that often, I love my family and would rather spend time and money on them as far as they know, but I still miss the game.  Then two years ago, I got the idea that if I could get Carolyn - who had never picked up a club in her life - into golf, then I’d be able to squeeze in a few more rounds.  Yes!  Golf with your spouse!  Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?!?!  I’m a genius!  The idea was obviously gold, I just had to sell it right. *TIP FOR GUYS OUT THERE, THE RIGHT WAY TO SELL IT: “Honey, I’d love it if we could find an activity that will allow us to spend more quality time together, outside in beautiful scenery, getting some exercise and having fun, just the two of us.  I think it will strengthen our marriage.”  WRONG WAY: “Hey toots, let’s start playing golf together so I can play more golf.  They have short skirts you can wear while we play.  Bring beer.”  (Just a “Guy FYI,” because guys should always help other guys in situations like this.)
So after several tequilas, a notarized document she made me sign in triplicate regarding “help around the house” or something to that effect, and more groveling than I’m proud to admit, we agreed to begin playing golf together.  Following a few lessons with a local pro (an entirely separate, wonderful and not at all aggravating experience I’ll tell you about another time), we decided that my beautiful bride was ready to tackle the local executive course.  For those who don’t know, an executive course is one that consists of all short, par 3 holes.  These smaller tracks are so named because they’re often used by executives who aren’t really golfers but are only there to swindle other executives out of cash, or more likely to team up with other executives to swindle complete strangers out of THEIR cash. (Executive courses are big in Hollywood and Washington D.C.)  At any rate, all of the holes are short, which makes it easier for beginners, as the longer distance clubs are often far more difficult to consistently hit solid.  In some cases, and here I am certainly not referring to myself, it can take over thirty years to even gain a marginal semblance of “consistency” with the big sticks.  So we paid our fees, got our pull-carts, and off we went together, laughing and joking like a couple of newlyweds, when in reality we were a married couple embarking on one of the most frustrating games on Earth, a game which consistently drives the best of friends to sniping and yelling at each other, armed with two bags full of deadly weapons of varying  degrees of loft.  (“I’m a genius!  Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?!?!”)  I mean, we’ve been together over a decade, and any married person will tell you that no matter how in love you are, after that long anything can be fodder for an argument.  Anything.  (“Why are you yelling at me?” “Because you’re breathing so darn LOUD!!!”)  So together on a golf course, in the heat, I’m not sure if we expected to hear the theme from Love Story, but I swear I heard The Imperial March from Star Wars as we approached the first tee.  
Actually, I’m joking; the day wasn’t bad at all. and we had a lot of fun.  There was some typical married couple sniping here and there (“The way you’re wearing that glove is annoying.” “Oh, I have a white ball so now YOU have to have a white ball too?” “Stop walking so darn LOUD!!!”) but on the whole we enjoyed ourselves.  She’s been with me for over a decade, folks; even on a golf course, the universe can’t really aggravate her much more.  We stepped up to #1, and she wanted me to go first.  You know, with over three decades of experience, she wanted me to show her how it’s done.  I was supposed to be “the man,” and show my woman how this game is played.  So I did.  I checked the wind, adjusted my glove, set my stance and grip perfectly, and walloped that poor Titleist as deep into the woods as I can hit a 9-iron. (“Stupid Callaway!!”) Following my manly lead, Carolyn drilled her shot to a height of approximately 1/8th of an inch, so hard it killed almost all of the plant life in the first fifty feet in front of the tee.  Seriously, the the surviving blades of grass were singed and smoking.  A squirrel poked his head out of the charred remains of his hole and coughed “Jeez lady, that was my HOUSE!” Not exactly the start we’d envisioned, but we were off!  That’s how it went for five holes, both of us missing every green, and mis-hitting shots so badly the ball ricocheted off the clubface at angles that physics professors will tell you are impossible.  It didn’t matter though, we were together, and we were having fun.  Then we hit the 6th tee, and she nearly bought the farm.
Up front I told you I’ve never had a hole-in-one, and this hole was no different, although I did manage to find the green with my tee shot.  Looking back, that may have been the problem.  Had I continued to pump balls into the woods, Carolyn may have kept hitting hers all over as well, but with me on the putting surface she apparently decided it was time to step it up.  My beautiful bride slapped one that headed for the flag like it was laser guided.  Mind you, it never got more than ten feet off the ground, but the line was dead on perfect.  It landed about thirty yards short of the green.  It bounced perfectly.  It took a majestic hop that looked like something Tiger would have hit back when he was still catting around and on top of his game.  It checked a bit as it crossed the fringe, took two more PGA-looking bounces and began to roll, directly towards the hole.  My wife got excited, as she should have; it was her first really good shot.  She had every right to jump up and down and start yelling “Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!  Look!  Look!!!”  However, as I watched it head towards the hole - and this ball looked for all the world like it was going in, there was no way it was going to miss, no way, no how - I didn’t get excited, but instead began to grow sad.  Not because she was going to get an Ace while I never have, but because I was going to miss her terribly after I killed her with my 8-iron, because once it went in that’s exactly what I was going to do.  I was calm about it, calmer that you’d think; like I said, any golfer will tell you “it had to be done,” but I was still sad.  After all, this is my wife, my favorite person in the universe, the mother of our child, not to mention the person I stood before God, our families, and Mickey Mouse (another story for another time) and swore to love honor and obey forever. So you can see why it was upsetting, I mean there was going to be a big gap in my life, especially in the area of household chores. Kidding! (Feminists, address hate mail to steve@starspangledcomedy.com) Granted, there was a silver lining, as if I could get acquitted and collect the life insurance money it would allow me to play FAR more golf, but I would still miss her on most days.  
With all of this running through my head in a matter of seconds,  I began to prepare the speech I mentioned previously, as well as my entire line of defense.  Hopefully I would get a married male judge who was a single digit handicapper, or even better, a married male D.A. who had also never had a hole-in-one (“Not enough evidence to prosecute!”).  I would instruct my defense attorney to try and stock the jury with names from the local country clubs.  I planned to call Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, fellow Central Ohioan Jack Nicklaus, and any other married golfer I could find as experts for the defense, to say that I simply had no ... other ... choice.  I was even running through which local car dealership might give me the best deal on a white Bronco.  Then, just when I was beginning to wonder what was an appropriate amount of time to wait before starting to date again, a miracle occurred.  The ball began to slow.  The line was still perfect, but the speed was now in question.  It slowed further, and as my amazing lady who should remember that I love her when she reads this began to yell “Go!  Keep going!  GOOOO!!” I saw a chance for our life together to continue.  Then, the ball stopped.  No more than three inches from the cup, it stopped.  “NOOOOOOO!!!!” I yelled, immediately morphing from murderous star of a future Movie Of The Week on Lifetime Network back into loving, doting husband.  Me: “Aw, Geez!  That was so CLOSE, honey!!  That would have been so  fantastic, and I would have been so happy for you!!!!!”  Carolyn: “Did you see it? Did you see that shot?!?! It almost went in!!”  Me: “I did see it sweetheart, that was awesome! Great shot, baby!!!”  (I’ve had some acting classes)  
So that’s the story of how my wife hit the best shot of her golf career (thus far) and nearly lost her life because of it.  Of course, I’m kidding about the part where I almost bludgeoned her with my 8-iron, as far as anyone can legally prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  Since that near fateful day, we’ve golfed together numerous times, including on a regular length course, and it’s been great.  We laugh, we spend time together on some of the most beautiful real estate in the world, and I get to swing the sticks more often than before. (Score) We’ve never faced that life threatening situation again, however.  Her game has improved tremendously, to the point where I believe the local squirrels have stopped putting “Carolyn is playing golf today, for your own safety put up the storm windows and stay inside!” into their newsletters, but she’s never come that close to an Ace again.  It’s probably best that way.  Now that she knows the consequences of a shot that good, she’ll no doubt be prepared.  (“Honey, why is the carving knife in your golf bag?” “Because you’re breathing so darn LOUD in my backswing!”)  By the way, she made the putt.  It was her first and only birdie.  I was genuinely thrilled for her.  After all, I’ve had lots of those.




*As always, see more of me including TV appearances, acting reel, comedy promo videos, schedule and more on my website at www.starspangledcomedy.com. Or follow my blog to the right -----> of the page and help get my numbers up!

4 comments:

  1. Emily has had a hole in one....kiawah island...just sayin....girl power...

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  2. walking here with a smile.. have a nice day ~ =D

    Regards,
    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

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  3. That was a really fun read. I can just imagine the embarrassment if she got that hole in one.

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  4. Hey,my ribs are cracking,gosh this blog just give me laughs that i don't get else where.thanks again.
    Admin@freebrowsingtime.blogspot.comHey,my ribs are cracking,gosh this blog just give me laughs that i don't get else where.thanks again.
    Admin@freebrowsingtime.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete