The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – How Do You Keep Score?

I’m going golfing today.  I love golfing.

No, I like golfing.

More accurately, I enjoy golfing.

I suck at golf.

I am terrible at golf.

There are few things that I enjoy doing that I am as bad at as I am at golf*.

I have been fly fishing twice.  Both were multiple day outings, but two ventures into fly fishing make up the sum total of my work.  In these two forays I have hooked one fish and successfully landed zero.  I count fly fishing among things I enjoy.  In fact, I have a fly rod in my storage closet as well as a reel and some very nice flies**.  I really should get out there.  Soon.

It is more difficult, though, to find someone to go fly fishing with than it is to find someone to go play nine or eighteen.  It is not only a social norm to play golf, it is nearly a social expectation.  As a man, you can only know another man for so long before one of you asks, “Do you golf?” And, invariably, the other will answer, “Not well.”  Cue the conversation about enjoying the game, wishing you were better but not having the time, and, naturally, that one great shot you once hit.  The one that keeps you coming back.

To those who actually are good at golf, you’re a dick.  No one likes you.

I would say I started playing golf in high school, but that is an exaggeration.  I did have a conversation with my friend Oshia where we decided that at some point we would need to be good at golf and decided we had better learn how to play.  Cue two teenagers hacking up bits of course, sending balls into the woods, and driving a golf cart like a Honda with a spoiler.

A decade and a half later not much has changed except that I drive the cart much more reasonably.

I think I’ve mentioned that I am bad at golf?  When I play golf I don’t keep score.  That bad.

…but, but, but how do you know how you did?

Did I finish the course without going through an entire sleeve of balls? Win.  Did I drink between 3 and 9 beers?  Win.  Was my ass off of the couch?  Win.  Did I get some fresh air, perhaps see some greenery, and enjoy the weather? Win.  Did I hit one or two good shots?  Win Win.  That’s how I know how I did.  That’s how I keep score.

Personally, I enjoy golf for the same reason I enjoy fly fishing: I am outside; I am relaxed.  I am experiencing actual reality.  I have time to think, free from distractions, free from an agenda other than chasing a little white ball across a lawn or repeatedly tossing a line into some water.

In the words of Tyler Durden, “This is your life, good to the last drop…doesn’t get any better than this…this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

I enjoy these pointless activities like golf and fly fishing because they remind me that the Real World is not on MTV.

When I golf, I don’t keep score because Life doesn’t need a scoreboard.

  • He who dies with the most toys wins.  He who dies with the most toys dies.
  • Money can’t buy happiness.  That’s why all those homeless people are smiling- I thought it was the lack of quality sleep or nutrition coupled with booze in an attempt to stave off a crappy reality.
  • Love is all you need. Want unconditional love? Save your money and buy a dog.
  • Dog is a man’s best friend. Some best friend, when we moved houses I lifted all the heavy furniture while he sat in the corner and licked his nuts.
  • Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away. Sprinters, boxers, and guys who piss people off at bars and get punched in the stomach a lot must have really high scores then.

If you’ve read much of my other stuff, you’ll know that the quote/counterpoint thing doesn’t really reflect my opinions.  If you haven’t read my other stuff- dear god why not?  You’re missing out on one of our world’s last bastions of genius***.

Much like eating a Reese’s there is no wrong way to value your own life– assuming you value it.  As a friend sagely pointed out upon reading an editorial in our college newspaper ludicrously and humorously accusing our fraternity of judging people based on genital size, “at least you’ve got a system.”

When I golf I don’t keep score.  I don’t write down a number.  I don’t have a stroke if my stroke count eclipses the snowman.  I remember if I score a par on a hole or sink a nice putt or, though rarely, hit a nice drive down the fairway.  If I am moving, if I am breathing, if I am enjoying the world around me and the universe inside my own head, I have already won.

Mark it a W.

Question Of The Day How do you keep score?


* – insert your own crass joke here

** – thank you 2006 staff of JW Poynter Middle School (mostly Steve, Chic, and Markealli – I’m sure)

*** – I should at least pretend to be joking and a bit self-deprecating here.  So, okay, by traditional “standards” or  “measures” I might not be a “genius” ****.

**** – Please tell me you read that in Chris Farley voice

***** – I know Doran took to using asterisked footnotes in his posts a while back, but I started it.  Check the author archives.  Bonus points to whoever finds the first TPQ post to use the style.  First person to find and post the answer in the comments WINS*****.

***** – THAT’S how you keep score.  Win The Day! (hashtag GODUCKS)


About Jamaal

Lover of words, liver of life, director of theatre, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Twitter: @JamaalAllan

One comment on “QOTD – How Do You Keep Score?

  1. K. Jean King
    July 2, 2013

    1. My first (and last) fly fishing experience landed me in the hospital. The word “extraction” was bandied about unabashedly.

    2. You are right. They’re all dicks and no one likes them.

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