“What are you doing?” I asked my husband as he knelt on the floor in front of his golf bag and some 40 dozen or so golf balls spilled all over the floor.
“I’m sorting these golf balls,” he said. “I have to leave some of these here because you can only take a dozen golf balls with you on the plane,” he said. “I dumped these out of my golf bag.
“You carry THAT many golf balls around in your bag?” I asked incredulously.
Then I added, “I bet Tiger Woods doesn’t need that many golf balls. He probably only carries like one golf ball with him when he travels.
“Yeah, well,” my husband replied, somewhat huffily, “Tiger Woods is a PROFESSIONAL.”
“Ah, so that would be the difference,” I said.
My husband, you see, was packing to go out of town last weekend to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday. The entire weekend was a surprise for his friend, Chad. Chad’s wife organized the weekend, including gathering all of Chad’s friends from near and far to help celebrate with a Dinner Cruise, a day of golfing for the guys, and a fun-filled family bar-b-que.
My son and I turned down the invitation to join in this revelry because:
a) he had a tooth to lose (and so I’ll refer to him as Snaggletooth in this story) and
b) he had two other birthday parties he’d already agreed to attend. Plus,
c) I get sea sick in the way that Dinner Cruise equals Vomit Fest, and that would have surely put a damper on Chad’s birthday.
By the way, Happy Birthday, Chad! My present to you is that I didn’t come and throw up all over your shoes!
Anyway, our Saturday back home was filled with birthday parties and a visit from the Tooth Fairy, which, in case you missed it, you can read about here. But on Sunday, Snaggletooth and I splashed around with the hose in the backyard and caught a frog and some kind of large pretty beetle that I think was a scarab. We put the frog and the beetle in a container and watched them wrestle and try to escape. The beetle, by the way, won the match hands down. At least as far as I could tell, considering I’m not a wrestling referee so I’m not entirely clear on the rules and scoring and such.
Eventually we set the beetle loose and dumped the frog into our barrel fountain. We caught 2 more frogs and dumped them in the fountain too. We watched them swim for awhile then prodded them with a stick when they appeared to have drowned; however, it turned out they were only faking death, and they shot out of the pond aiming for our faces (but luckily just missing) as we jumped back and screamed in abject horror at the trick. Later, we watched SpongeBob SquarePants on television, read stories, and made giant paintings of Christmas trees with twinkling lights on butcher paper rolled out on the floor of the garage because Snaggletooth kept saying, “I wish it was Christmas and I wish I could paint now.” And because he woke at 5:45 in the morning, we had finished all of the above before noon.
Sometime after lunch Snaggletooth became contentious and cranky. He was crying over nothing and whining in that irritating way kids have. I pronounced him “tired and in need of a nap.” But to those of you with a 5 year old, you know that uttering the word “nap” is akin to unleashing a stream of invectives at your boss. That is to say, it’s a very bad thing.
This led to even more contentiousness, crankiness, and crying, with the whining ratcheted up several notches as Snaggletooth argued with me about how un-tired he was. But I put my foot down and insisted that if he wasn’t going to take a nap then he had to at least rest by lying down on the sofa and watching TV QUIETLY. I joined him there, hoping to get a chance to read a few pages of a book, and perhaps, if I was lucky, get a short nap myself.
But after only 20 minutes Snaggletooth sat up and said “Mini Golf! I know what we can do. Let’s go play mini golf!” I figured that was a better option than shushing him on the sofa for the next hour, and he seemed to have been refreshed by the 20 minute TV break because at least he wasn’t whining anymore. I grabbed my license, car keys, and some money, and we hopped in the car. Of course, not five minutes after we started off, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw his head nodding back and forth, rolling from side to side, with his eyes glazing over. “Hey!” I called. “You’re not falling asleep back there, are you?”
“No.” He lied. “I’m not tired.”
But 30 seconds later, he was fast asleep.
Crap! I thought. Now what should I do? Turn around and drive home? He’ll be really pissed off if he wakes up back in the garage and realizes that we didn’t go play mini golf after all. I considered tricking him. I could tell him we did play mini golf, but he fell asleep afterward and just doesn’t remember… Nah, I reminded myself. That doesn’t work anymore. He’s too old now. He stopped falling for that kind of stuff 2 years ago. Plus, I knew that as soon as I stopped the car he’d wake up. He wouldn’t stay asleep long enough for me to carry him in the house so there was no way I could claim he’d fallen asleep watching TV and only dreamed we’d gotten in the car to go play golf.
My only option then seemed to be to keep driving. I figured that a fifteen minute nap was better than nothing, and so we continued on.
I passed a place that sells riding mowers and tractors. The sign out front advertised “New and Used Zero Turn Mowers in Stock.” Zero Turn mowers? What’s that, I wondered? I have to believe they turn. Who would want a mower that doesn’t turn? I assumed they meant they could turn with a small radius. Turn on a dime, as the saying goes. Or smaller yet, on a fraction of a cent, almost nothing — hence, the zero. Still, I couldn’t help but contemplate the use of a mower that didn’t turn. Perhaps, I considered, that’s why they have used ones in stock. Maybe people bought them, took them home, gassed them up and turned them on, only to realize “these don’t turn!” I bet, I thought, they took them back. “Yes, I want to return this mower. It doesn’t turn. I’ve got one strip of grass cut but that’s it. I really need something that turns so I can finish mowing the rest of my lawn…”
Anyway, that kept me occupied for a few miles, and then I was turning the car (lucky for us it wasn’t a zero turn car) into the mini golf parking lot. “Hey kiddo, we’re here! Wake up. Do you want to play mini golf? We’re here…”
It turns out that I’m pretty good at miniature golf. I ought to be though. It’s the only golf I’ve had a chance to play. I’ve considered going out sometime, playing 18 holes on a real course, but my husband swears that you have to know how to play golf before they (they being the golf course police I assume) will even let you step foot on a golf course. But I find it curious how that “rule” doesn’t ever apply to my husband’s friends, especially the few that aren’t golfers. I know for a fact that at least one of those non-golfing friends attended Chad’s 40th birthday bash AND joined the guys on the golf course, AND played golf. Maybe not as well as Tiger Woods, but still, look who’s been carrying 40 dozen golf balls around in his bag. Also, I am pretty certain they didn’t sneak him in by the trunk of the car, either. Funny then, how nobody stopped him, nobody asked for his golfing credentials, don’t you think?
But me, I’m supposed to learn by playing miniature golf. By putting the ball through the windmill without hitting the turning blades, or through the clown’s mouth while he opens and closes it in an evil sort of way, where it looks like he’s chewing something. A small animal, or a person perhaps, like the clown from It.
And Snaggletooth. Well, he has his own way of playing. He refuses to hold the club properly and he hits the ball over and over again without once allowing it to stop rolling. His version of miniature golf looks suspiciously like hockey.
Also, it occurs to me that maybe the scoring used in golf was invented by a loser. Somebody who could never score high enough in other games to claim a victory, and so like a petulant child, changed the rules: “No! It’s not the person with the highest score that wins! It’s the person with the lowest score. So that’s ME! Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha! I win and you lose!”
In the end, the score was:
Snaggletooth’s score would have been, if I hadn’t finally stopped counting after 8 or so strokes at each hole, something much higher. Much, much higher. If we’d been bowling, say, instead of playing miniature golf, professional bowlers worldwide would have kneeled at his feet in awe and appreciation.
He does though, seem to understand that in golf at least, less is more. He said at one hole after a very lucky shot “Wow! I got a hole in two. A hole in two is pretty good, huh?”
“Yep, Snaggletooth! A hole in two is great, I replied. “Your Dad would be proud!”