Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fore!


Many summers ago, I was in Denver visiting my sister and her family. One morning, someone suggested a game of golf.

I don't play golf. But I figured, nice day, get some exercise, move the legs, see some scenery, try my hand at it. What the hell. So, off we went to a course whose name I no longer remember. My brother and brother-in-law were playing, and my nephew was there, too. Playing at a high altitude helped, since even a bad shot went further in the thin air. The course was fairly narrow, and some new houses were being built on either side of the fairways. Around the third hole, I realized I was actually having fun.

Not that I knew what the hell I was doing. I just reared back and let her rip. Sometimes the ball went somewhere, and sometimes it trickled off the tee disconsolately. I took a lot of mulligans. No one cared. It was just a good time on the links.

Somewhere along the seventh or eighth hole, I teed up. It was a par five. I would have been happy with a ten. I wielded some kind of driver, a number five, if memory serves. I liked that little head. I did some obviously fake warm-up stuff, stepped up, reared back and swung. Thwack. Miraculously, the ball took off from the head of the club and sailed high and long away. That felt good!

And then mid flight or so, the ball began to curve right. What is that called? A slice? Or a hook? Well, it curved right and headed directly for the houses that flanked the side of the course. "Uh-oh," my brother-in-law said. "Get ready to pay for a window," my brother said. I didn't hear any glass breaking, but of course we were pretty far away. "Nice shot," my nephew said. "Even better of it had gone straight."

We walked down the fairway until we came to where I thought the ball had gone. There was a house, and then, next to it, a house in the middle of being built. I walked to that house, the walls of which hadn't been raised yet, and encountered a man, obviously a carpenter, lying face up on the wood floor, arms outstretched, a hammer in his open hand. One of his fellow carpenters was kneeling next to him and saying, "Dude! Dude! Can you hear me! Dude, are you ok?"

Next to the prostrate man was a golf ball. Indeed, as it turned out, my golf ball.

Restraining my first urge to flee, I walked toward the poor guy who was moaning, but not dead. First good stroke (no pun) of good luck.

"Dude! Speak to me!" his friend said. And, thank the gods, he began opening his eyes.

"Whappened?" he asked dreamily.

"You got beaned by a golf ball, Dude. I think it was this dude who did it." He looked at me.

"Hi there!" I said.

"Oh, my head hurts," the injured party said, rubbing the back of his head.

But the fact is, he came around. He even sat up. I apologized like an insane man, offering to take him to the hospital and pay whatever bill there might be to be paid, hoping an operation wouldn't be necessary.

"No, man," he said, continuing to rub the back of his head. "That's ok."

"What are the odds of that happening?!?" I said cheerily, picking up my ball.

And guess what--it was ok. I got his number and called him the next day, and he couldn't have been sweeter. I apologized again, and he really was all right about it.

But for years afterward, I would hear that refrain at family gatherings,

"Dude! Dude! Can you hear me? Dude!"

                                                                 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Getting rid of my sex toys


I saw a column in The New York Times a while back by a woman urging older people to get rid of their sex toys before they die so said toys are not found afterwards by their children. Who will be embarrassed.

"Look, Timmy, Mom sure had a big dildo, didn't she?"

Or, "Is this garter and stocking thing Dad's?"

Or, "Sis, I just can't picture Mom shoving this up her butt."

I actually feel the opposite.  I don't have any sex toys.  But now that I'm getting older, I may get some just to give the impression that I had a tumultuous sex life.  I want to appear rakish, daring, uninhibited.  I want them to whisper things about me.  I want them to be envious. Awed

"Gosh, he must have had a lot of wild sex in here!  Look at this box labeled, Handcuffs. Don't lose key!  And this leather mask!  Wait, there's a note under it: Too small. See if can exchange for Large and a knitted scarf."

"Oh, look over here!  Is this ring for what I think it's for?  Whoa."

"I didn't know you could buy condoms in bulk. But look at this tub from Costco!"

So, hand me that "Sex Toys R Us" catalog. I'll make them think I was the Marquis de Sade, Warren Beatty and Frank Sinatra all rolled up in one.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Courage of Thomas Lanier

I'm living in New Orleans, not far from where Tennessee Williams once lived.

He lived in several places in the French Quarter, and my current apartment is close to where he sets A Streetcar Named Desire.

I have always looked to him for courage, and now that I am growing old in his favorite city, even more so.

Every so often I pick up the marvelous biography of his early life, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams.  It's a highly under-appreciated book.  I like to to read about those early struggles of his, many of which took place just a few blocks away.

You get the impression in letter after letter, journal entry after journal entry, that, no matter how bleak the situation was for him, it never came close to dissuading him.  He hocked his typewriter, he hocked his only suit, he hocked his bicycle to pay the rent, to pay for food.  He wrote.  He never stopped writing.  He was a courageous writer, a courageous man.

                                                                 
     
                                                    
Brave and funny.  I remember seeing him on a Chicago talk show once with three or four other people.  One of them was a Catholic priest.  Tennessee had recently converted to Catholicism.  The priest, knowing this, said, "I shall pray for you."

Without missing a beat, Tennessee said, "I don't require your prayers."

Years ago, I read something he wrote in a preface to one of his plays: "...time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition."

I can hear it, the ticking. 

Give me courage, Tennessee.