For those not familiar with Maryland’s climate, it is diverse, especially in its eastern half where the winters can bring blizzards that deliver two feet of snow and the summers regularly unleash 95+ degree days with humidity so thick that, when you go outside, you feel like you chugged a bottle of prescription cough syrup and put on a wet wool sweater. (Meteorologists will tell you it’s due to our proximity to the
Chesapeake Bay and other topographical conditions. Personally, I think Lord Baltimore built his city on an Indian burial ground and the rest of us are paying for it in perpetuity). You get used to it after a few years and some even justify living in it by saying how much they love the dramatic "changing of the seasons" which is like justifying prison life by saying you thrive in a "structured environment." The oppressive July weather is just Mother Nature's way of bringing her quality stuff to the mound and we lifelong Marylanders can scratch out a few runs against her on those days. What she brought last Friday, however, was some no-hit cheese with which we were previously unfamiliar.
My partner for Day 1 was a casualty right out of the gate as he either had a legitimate conflict, a vulnerability to heat stroke or an ounce of common sense. As the man riding solo, I was given the cooler as my co-pilot and made good use of it on the front nine but we were so far ahead of the other groups that access was an issue so I left it on the 10th tee and filled a plastic bag with ice and a few cold ones for the back nine. By the 11th tee, the ice was gone. By the 12th tee, the cold ones were warm and I first said to myself, “holy crap it’s hot” (the fact that I needed to drink a warm beer to tell me that is well…sad). The forecast for Friday was worse, much worse. But hey, how bad could it be?
That night we followed the perfect pregame regimen for a round of golf in Death Valley…if our goal was to die. We started with a feeding frenzy at a seafood restaurant including crabs, shrimp, oysters, fried clams, French fries, Bud Light and a shot of Absinthe (defined as a recently legalized highly alcoholic beverage). Considering the conditions forecasted for the next day, the training table was a little heavy on salt, alcohol and uncooked bottom dwelling creatures and noticeably light on things like water, vegetables, foresight and prudence.
The next morning I slept through the 8:30 a.m. wake-up call and was startled by a pounding at the door (which I initially thought was the cops) and then someone yelled what I thought was “MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE TO DIE!” but it turned out to be the guy who my roommate had promised to drive back to pick-up his car from the night before. Better him than me because it only took one cracked eyelid to realize that at least two of the items I had chosen to consume the night before were engaged in a hotly contested divorce somewhere in my stomach. I’m guessing it was the third Irish Car Bomb against the raw oysters with their girlfriends the fried clams in the background egging them on. “You gonna take that from that drunk Irish pig?!?” Without getting graphic, my shower was interrupted a couple of times before the dispute was resolved. As I packed to leave, I realized I had no footwear because my flip-flops were laying in an alley somewhere in town. Nothing says “Stay Classy
!” like checking out of a hotel barefoot (except maybe wearing a May I Suggest the Sausage t-shirt). Easton
When I arrived at the course in Queenstown, Maryland for Day 2, I was pretty sure a sausage egg biscuit and a Bloody Mary were all I needed to get me back on track. That theory was quickly discarded as I gave-up on both of them about halfway through and headed for the course. It was 10:30 a.m. and it was hotter than anything I’d ever encountered outside of a sauna - the only difference being, there is no cruel, unrelenting sun in a sauna. The comedian Larry Miller calls the sun in these situations “God’s flashlight.” Apparently I wasn’t getting off scot-free for pissing in the alley.