A Good Walk, Ruined

I generally don’t think of myself as a quitter. Well, except for diets, workouts, resisting nachos, yardwork, and learning Spanish. I’ve lost count of the number of boxed sets of learn conversational Spanish CD’s I have in the closet. Every time I see a new ad advertising a new method of “learn  Spanish in your spare time”, I buy it. When I had a monster daily commute, why not make productive use of your time? Within a week I’d be back to listening to late ’80’s angry punk rock during the drive. Much better to stoke the road rage fire with. My commute is now approximately five minutes, so at best I might learn a word a day. Two complete sentences every year!

Which brings me back to quitting. Specifically, golf. I’ve quit golf before. Several decades ago we moved to Houston Texas. Lovely people, terrible climate, and not much to do except eat and play golf. I was exceptional at the eating part. I took up golf  and used it mostly as an excuse to eat at the clubhouse. When we left Texas I suddenly once again had access to more diverse outdoor things to do, and the golf clubs disappeared into the garage somewhere. plaid

Fast foreword a frighteningly long period of time and a buddy began pestering me to play again. Having reached an age where my mountain biking, skiing, and rock climbing probably isn’t as sustainable long term as it once was… golf seems like something I can do for much longer. Besides, once you reach a certain age you stop caring what people think about your plaid pants.

So, I began the journey once more – with results about the same as I had in back in Texas. When I started purchasing golf balls by the truckload because I was losing so many, I decided it was time for lessons. I cycled through several instructors without much success until just recently.

My first lesson with the new coach went so well I ran out and bought a ridiculously expensive push cart because I was going to start playing every day. During my second lesson he made a few more changes and for the first time ever I actually hit a golf ball correctly. Not just correctly, spectacularly well. Crushing it distances I didn’t think were possible. I went to bed that night dreaming of turning pro. Senior tour, here I come!

The next morning I went to the range to practice and reinforce my amazing new swing… and chunked an entire large bucket of balls about twenty feet in front of me. I literally could have thrown a ball further and straighter than I was hitting with the clubs. Less than 24 hours later the brand new swing was gone. Even the old swing was gone. Expletives were flying.

I actually walked back to the car and left the clubs on the range. I was going to drive away and be done with this horrible sport. I came to my senses enough to go grab the clubs, but I was definitely done. Fuck golf. It’s for old people anyway. I’m going back to mountain biking.

I stewed for a solid two weeks. Then with my tail between my legs, I snuck back to the range. Same result. I’ve never felt so helpless and uncoordinated in my life. I’m not a superstar athlete, but I’m at least semi-coordinated. How is it possible for me to be so bad at something? The thought of quitting again just bothered me. How can all those little old ladies whack it down the fairway with some success and I can’t?

I made emergency calls to every golf course near me and found an instructor with an open time the next morning. Within a half-hour he had me hitting at PGA pro quality again (in my head anyway). I went to the range the next day and – the swing was still there.

I’m proud of myself for not quitting. I’ve never played a sport that I simultaneously enjoyed and hated so much. I figure if I can persist with this, maybe that resolve will spill over tclubso dieting. Anyway, I’m headed back to the range today. If I can sustain two practice sessions in a row, I may actually attempt to play a round again. If not, look on craigslist for a complete set of golf equipment. The clubs will be cheap because most of them will be in two pieces.

Sandy:  I want you to kill all the gophers on the course!

Carl Spackler:  Check me if I’m wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they’re gonna lock me up and throw away the key…

Sandy:  Gophers, ya great git! Not golfers! The little brown furry rodents!

Carl Spackler:  We can do that… we don’t even have to have a reason.



Life As A Hipster.

I’m not entirely sure how it happened. I didn’t plan on it. We traveled to see family over Thanksgiving and I didn’t feel like shaving or conforming to the standard “please get a haircut before we go so you look nice in the photos”. We got home and there was a lot going on, so I didn’t bother shaving. It wasn’t until the end of the Christmas break that I looked up and realized there was the scraggly beginnings of a hipster beard.

OH. MY. GOD. What have I become? I quickly ran to WebMD to see if I could self diagnose my condition. Rides a bike everywhere. Check. Likes craft beer and small batch bourbon. Check. Trendy tattoo. Check. Oh no… could it be true? Wait – vegetarian, skinny jeans, and young? Whew, I’m not a hipster.

What else could it be? I briefly thought lumbersexual, then remembered the part about good looks, muscles and flannel. Don’t have any of that. Metrosexual? Nah, that involves grooming and tailored jackets. Dammit, there must be a category I fit into. Then it dawned on me… I’m either an eccentric millionaire or a hobo. After checking the bank balance, yup I’m a hobo. Except for the train part. I get nauseous on trains. Probably more like a VW van hippy hobo.

When it comes to beards there are two distinct camps. There’s the folks who just think about it real hard and they have a beard the next day. Then there’s the folks who just can’t grow one and know it. They don’t even try. I’m in the unfortunate middle. It looks bad and deep down I know it. Fuzzy with thin spots that just don’t come together. It needs to come off. But then I look in the mirror and convince myself that in just the right light and angle it kinda looks like a beard. If I just let it grow another month I’m sure it will fill in. It’s the same delusion women have with Spanx and yoga pants. I’m sorry but some of you just shouldn’t. Yes people of Walmart, I’m talking to you.

I’ve reached that point where it feels like its taken a commitment to get this far. Shaving now would feel like giving up. Quitting. And I’m not a quitter. Except for exercise, diet, learning a new language, eating sushi, early morning hikes, and mastering Fortran. Other than that, I’m a go-getter. A trendsetter with my finger on the pulse of society. I’m on the twitter. I signed up for Ello. I have approximately 5 G+ accounts (the emptiness there is so vast I keep forgetting I already have an account). I keep trying to get back to Vine, but six seconds isn’t even enough time to find the volume button.

At the end of the day, it’s all just an attempt to deny reality. I’m a middle aged dude who still wears cargo shorts and rides a bike. It’s easier to pretend that by sporting a scraggly beard and long hair, the true hipster set won’t notice they grey hair, paunchy middle, and bad taste in music. Besides, the true challenge is to see how long I can keep telling my wife that yes, I’ve made an appointment at the barber. At some point she’s going to get wise, grab me by the ear and drag me down there and insist on the Bob’s Big Boy cut.