Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shanks for Nothing

My friend is, give or take a wrinkle or two, around 72 years old. But old is a relative term, as it is often hard to distinguish him from a 12 year old in his sense of humor and general demeanor. He is, by and large, harmless and well intentioned. So when the golf course at which we were to play yesterday gave him the royal heave ho for a breach of their far too sanctimonious etiquette, I was not at all pleased.

This was not Augusta National. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10 on the holiness of these 18 holes, it would hardly have registered. It was a course of modest design and pedestrian ways.  It was everything you would imagine in a local public place serving as a receptacle for errant shots. In fact, it had gone through some very hard financial times in recent years and was, at some points, probably a step or so away from being converted into yet another housing development.

We arrived in the parking lot yesterday morning, greeted by an early spring chill. The temperature was barely above ugly, my friend's ski hat evidence that it was a morning possibly better spent under the covers. But we were here, as I had been on many other occasions over the past half century. And we trudged inside, happy to be together for yet another forgettable day on the links.

"Are those denim?" The young man behind the desk, not much older than some of my most beloved clothing, was pointing an accusatory voice in the direction of my friend. "We have a no denim policy here." It was like a stop and frisk, except this was an external undressing.

My bewildered and obviously beleaguered colleague stammered out a truncated "yes". 

The other two who stood behind the desk joined in the cacophony. "We have a no denim rule here." It was like the no girls allowed rule in the Berenstein Bears or The Little Rascals. It was as though he were one of those dread immigrants whom Mr. Trump will build his Great Wall to keep out

"But I have worn these at so many other courses and never been told I couldn't". My friend's far too courteous retort had no strength behind it.

"Do you have any other pants in the car, or a pair of shorts?" As if.

Out the door went my friend and within a minute or two he returned, wearing a heavily wrinkled pair of white tennis shorts over the now even less stylish denim. 

"That won't do. You will have to take the denim off." It was still 42  degrees, there being no magical warming of the climate during the length of this conversation.

Even an attempt at further compromise, by wearing the denim underneath only until the goose bumps disappeared, met with stony denial.

And with that, my friend bid a not so fond farewell and wished the rest of our foursome a good game.

But before my friend drove away, I made one last, not so subtle attempt to persuade my adversaries to allow logic and compassion to prevail.

"You have just made a very bad business decision. This is not costing you one green fee but any possibility that any of us, or all those who play with me, will ever return here. This was a many thousand dollar mistake on your part. You could have just given him a warning and turned a blind eye for today."

The "setting a bad precedent"  snippy comeback did nothing to pacify me.

As I watched my friend drive into the distance, my thoughts returned to my golf game and my desire to drive into the distance.

There are, after all, some things more important than friendship.

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