Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Promised Land* - Part 1

Let's take a break from doling out misguided fantasy golf advice and have some fun shall we?

It was already going to be a squirrely week. On Tuesday I would play in the annual Masters outing that has become the unofficial kick-off to the FGR's golf season. It's a one round tournament with teams of four followed by dinner and multiple forms of wagering on the year's first major. I generally play golf with three of my best friends then about another six join us for dinner. Combine that with the fact that winter has been steadily kicking us in the nuts for the past four months leaving us all desperate for an excuse to go out and get sideways on a Tuesday afternoon, and you had the recipe for a Hank Moody** type situation which was fine except for the fact that I would have to get up earlier than an a.m. DJ the next morning and pretend to be an adult (more on that later).

One form of wagering at this event involves lottery tickets and one of the traditions that goes along with the drawing is that a joke is told prior to the pulling of each ticket. I don't know how long this has been going on but when I first started coming, all of the jokes were told by one older distinguished looking gentleman who would make one of the events prominent attendees the subject and, best of all, the jokes were dirty. This was a bit of a revelation to me because up until then, I was under the impression that all Baltimore country clubs were uptight retirement communities where you would occasionally see a 14 year old kid dressed like a 50 year old man. So for me the inaugural version of this event was like Tom Cruise going to the party in Eyes Wide Shut but with dick jokes instead of an orgy and frankly, I'm more of a dick joke guy than an orgy guy. (That may not have come out right).

Anyway, the guy who used to tell the jokes retired and moved to Florida so for the last few years, there has been a rotation of "comedians" who have ranged from laugh out loud to pleasantly funny to I think you missed the point of the event. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that one guy thought it would be high comedy to recount (in agonizing detail) the intestinal issues he had on the first day he came to use the club as a member. I think the consensus on that story was that you had to be there to appreciate it . . . and we were all glad that we weren't.

"So I'm walking into the clubhouse and
I've got my sand wedge in one hand
and this pile of shit in the other!"
This year an announcement was made that anyone who had a joke was welcome to come up and tell it as the house comics had apparently run out of material. Needless to say, I started racking my brain but my problem was twofold: (1) I am not a joke teller. I rely on others to say and do things that I can comment on in a smarmy fashion. It's similar to the way I play basketball. I am a selfish role player in that I don't want to handle the ball and I don't want to play defense. I just want to come off a screen and have you throw me a well-timed pass so I can drain the three (and God help you if you don't hit me coming-off that screen); and (2) from a cogency standpoint, I had already begun sliding as the brown liquor had reared it's beautiful head on the back nine and the grip on the reigns was beginning to loosen.

I think we were about two thirds of the way through the lottery picks when I had an epiphany and marched up to the guys with the microphone to tell them I was ready to go in the game. Apparently, things were running really dry at that point because they told me I was up next. And when they handed me the mike, I proceeded to thank my host, announce how excited I was to play in this event every year and then I offered-up the following, inserting my host as the subject of course (we'll call him Al):

Al and his wife are having a bit of a struggle so they decide to visit a marriage counselor. After a few minutes of them airing what seem to be irreconcilable*** differences, the counselor stops them and says, "let's slow down and figure-out if there is anything you two have in common that could serve as our foundation going forward . . . Al, we'll start with you." Al sits silently for what seems like several minutes before saying, "well, neither one of us knows how to suck a dick."

At that point, I handed the microphone to the head pro and walked away. I think (hope) people laughed but I really don't remember as I was just trying to get the hell out of the middle of the room and back to the safety of our table. What does this have to do with The Promised Land? Nothing yet. Frankly, I didn't plan to get so involved with this part of the story so we're going to have to make it a two parter. See you tomorrow.


* I had originally planned to call this Mecca but didn't really want to thrust myself into a Salman Rushdie type situation (which I may have just done anyway).

Fortunately for me, I look nothing like
David Duchovny and I have no rap.
** If you've never watched Showtime's Californication, it's worth a few weeks of your time on Netflix and you can bail sometime around the end of Season 3 when it turns to shit. Wikipedia describes Hank Moody thusly, "an esteemed but erratic writer who frequently becomes embroiled in bizarre, and in some cases, scandalous situations." Remove the words "esteemed" and "scandalous" and replace the word "frequently" with "occasionally" and I'm pretty sure that's me. (The FGW just winced).

*** There is no way I attempted to say "irreconcilable." At least I hope I didn't because that has to be on the short list of words you should never try to say when you're drinking along with "specificity," "cinnamon" and "officer" (a simple "sir" will do in that situation).

Click here for Part 2.

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