Thursday, May 18, 2006

White Like Movie Star Teeth

We live near the beach, so the end of May is a time to perform sacred rituals. Pools are topped off, beach chairs are dusted off and barbecue grills are scrubbed roughly with stiff wire brushes.

I have my own ritual. I wait for the first Saturday with a temperature that rises above 80 degrees. I peek out the windows until I see the street filled with the right mix of neighbors washing their cars and playing with their children. Then, with a jumble of confidence and trepidation, I march outside, doff my shirt and expose my white winter belly for the first time in the season.

I believe my neighbors look forward to this annual event, the same way that other people anticipate Groundhog Day. I have no evidence of this, but I like to think it anyway.

Later, before I’ve achieved my inevitable Flounder look – fierce, bubbly red on my back and titanium white on my front – I’ll march down the neighborhood streets in shorts and flip flops. Children will gasp in amazement when they see legs so white that they look like movie star teeth.

Summer, my friends, has officially begun.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Coming Clean about Golf and Cockroaches

I’ve been spending a great deal of time hitting golf balls at the driving range lately.

It embarrasses me to even write that sentence, actually, because I’ve never respected golf on any level. I’ve dismissed televised golf as boring. I’ve chided people who referred to golf as a sport. I’ve unfairly adjudged golfers as well-off snobs with too much money.

Then I played a round. I learned two things from that afternoon. First off, I really, truly suck at golf. Second, despite my nearly divine suckiness, I had to play again.

This is difficult for me to admit, even to my friends. Remember that Kafka story where Gregor Samsa wakes up to discover he’s a cockroach? I feel like that, but even worse. I feel like a Republican who wakes up and realizes he’s a Democratic cockroach – a gay, Democratic cockroach that lives in San Francisco.

Actually, given the price of actually playing golf, it’s more like a gay, Democratic, San Franciscan cockroach waking up to discover he’s a Republican.

Yeah. That about sums it up.

While I’m at the driving range, I watch other, more experienced golfers to improve my swing. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Before you swing, spend time selecting the proper club. This will help you forget that there’s only one other demographic that thinks that wearing a single glove is cool – and that’s the Michael Jackson demographic.
  • After completely hosing a shot, look around to see if anyone saw your shot. If someone did, hold up your club vertically and examine it as if to say, “Who put this piece of crap in my hand?’

If you think I’m kidding about this last one, keep your eyes open the next time you’re at a driving range. Also, if you see a guy in a t-shirt and shorts desperately trying to pretend he’s not playing golf, say hello. That’s probably me.