“Golfing Buddies and Stepford Wives”

“The inordinate passion for pleasure is the key to remaining young” – Oscar Wilde.

I’ve never heard anyone say that they enjoy the physical aspects of getting older.

I’ve heard people say that they enjoy knowing more than the young whippersnappers of the younger generation, but I’ve never heard anyone exclaim, “man, I’m loving all these varicose veins that keep popping up.”

Truly, “Father Time” is a bastard worth deceiving whenever you can. Although, eventually, the toll of his disciplinary whips to your backside translate to the mornings that you are all too familiar with now. The random aches and pains, the crackling orchestra of your joints, and the wrinkles that seem to breed quicker than rabbits in heat.

The sins of the 20s are the ailments of the 40s.

I was sitting on the beach the other day and looked up from reading my book to watch a few 5-year-olds playing on the beach. Now, this was not unusual behavior for me, since I have a little boy who is almost five, and noticed this group of 5-year-olds because my son had joined their little beach party despite not ever meeting them before. It has always amazed me that a bucket and a little shovel equate to hours of fun for little kids on the beach. Kids that age are still totally content with spinning around in circles until they fall down or merely just running up to the water’s edge and sprinting the other way to escape the shorebreak.

Four dollars and an imagination for the little ones and you have the best day ever. If you compare that to the ever-growing sum that it takes adults to have the same amount of fun, you have quite the price gap. Granted, this town relies on that ever-growing price for adult fun to live and breathe, and I don’t have the desire to be some martyr for a holiday minimalist movement. All I’m saying is that it is a big difference in price point to attain that euphoric feeling of being really dizzy.

“If youth knew, if age could” – Henri Estienne (16th century French writer)

I’m getting to an age where my hobby options are getting increasingly lame. I’m becoming the old guy that can’t keep up with the young kids, so my options are to either join a beer league in some random sport like softball, or try to be the really mature young guy hanging out with the “good ol’ boys club” on the back nine of one of the area’s many golf courses.

I once had a conversation with a guy who was trying to talk me into joining his softball team. He was quite convincing before he told me that he may have to switch teams in a year or two by doing something he referred to as “testing the free agency waters.” His reasoning for entering the beer league free agent market, according to him, was that he knew that he only had a few good years left before the younger (washed up) guys came in and moved him back to the outfield and the bottom of the lineup. This sad fact, was why he needed to get on a team that could potentially win the title.

I decided to test the free agent waters of “something better to do with my time.”

I’ve heard friends of mine at a similar age compare this troublesome decision to their gym membership as well. Do they join the gym where many of the older generation work out, so as to feel as if they were more fit than the wrinkly naked guy in the locker room, or do they stay at the “twentysomething” gym and risk becoming the guy that the “plastic people” whisper about over Michelob Ultras?

(I know that it is also sad that I have friends that actually spent more than a few minutes deciding this. This is yet another reason why I don’t work out in a gym.)

Golf is the rich man’s pool. When you can’t physically play sports without being in a full body cast for the early part of the week, men turn to golf, pool or perhaps bowling. Pool is a sport where a few guys get a roll of quarters and two pitchers of beer and have hours worth of conversation, competition, and use a few brainwaves while inadvertently implying a couple laws of physics with the banking of the 8 ball. The idea of playing pool with women is also way sexier than the idea of playing nine holes with a woman. (This could be because of my disdain for sunvisors and pastel colors in general, however.)

Golf is a multi-billion dollar industry that has exploded in this country in the last decade, mostly because of a bionic athlete/Titleist physicist called Tiger Woods. He made golf a sport that is desirable to the younger demographic. Before Tiger Woods, I considered a golf course to be a place where old Republicans got together to drink mint juleps and get away from their “Stepford wives.”

I realize that someone in pleated pants and an Ashworth polo shirt is going to start cursing me for not bowing down to the beautiful Scottish game, so let me say this: 1. Golf is hard as hell. 2. It does take a lot of skill (although you don’t necessarily need to have the athleticism of a vertical jump or a good time in the 40 yard dash).

Golf may be of Scottish decent, but it’s truly American. It takes all damn day to play a full game, kind of like baseball and it’s kind of a boy’s club. So while the men play, what do the women do? Women seem to approach getting older as a curse rather than something that is merely inevitable. The botox industry exists only because we’ve taught the female generation that they must preserve their youthful beauty in some sort of silicon fountain of youth. Perfect example: There are many male TV news anchors that are older than 60, how many female anchors do you see on the news other than Barbara Walters that aren’t young and beautiful?

“Isn’t it a pity as one gains experience, one loses youth” — Vincent Van Gogh 

People still want to feel pleasure, regardless of their age. My uncle Dominick swears he won’t die until he shoots his age in golf, (which means he will live to a ripe old 123). I would love to find a hobby that doesn’t demand that I wear pleated pants and one that won’t make me feel like I just ran a 10K the next morning.

Is getting older tougher because we run out of ways to truly amuse ourselves or is it tougher because we can’t physically do all the things that we’d really like to do to amuse ourselves?

I’m going to go spin around in circles with my kid and see if I can answer that.

Oh, to be young again.

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com.