There’s a saying, a bad day at golf beats a good day at work. Today I’m playing golf with an old friend that I’ve probably seen twice in the last 20 years. He’s in town with some free time and I own my own business, so I’m playing hooky on a Friday and hitting the links.
I wake up about 5 o’clock in the morning and my back is killing me. I’ve been having an issue with muscle spasms for a couple of weeks in the middle of my back. In addition to that I’ve slept with my neck at an angle that when I wake up it’s so painful I have to lift my head with my hand to move it back into a position where it doesn’t hurt. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to play golf today. I get up half an hour earlier than planned and hit the inversion table hoping to get loose enough to at least get through the round. I’d hate to have to cancel.
I make my way downstairs have a couple of protein bars for breakfast and get in the car for the 45 minute drive to the golf course. All the news is about the attack in Nice, France last night. The death toll has risen to over 80. The media trots out security expert after security expert asking “What can we do to keep ourselves safe?” Trump has already said we must declare war on ISIS. Hillary wants to have a summit. I’m talking back to the radio as I always do. I’m more fatalistic about the whole thing. There have always been crazy people in the world. There always will be. Someone is going to kill someone. The only thing that changes is the name of the cause. Try as we might, we will never stop a determined crazy person willing to die from taking a couple or few dozen people with him. No security measures in the world, no strategy, no “war” will put an end to that. We have to live with it and move on. I guess I wouldn’t make a great politician. No one wants to hear that.
I get to the course and meet my buddy. He hasn’t changed at all in a couple of decades. We used to hang out pre-children days, even pre-marriage days. We have taken many trips together. It’s good to see an old friend. And I mean old literally. He’s six years older than I am. He’s been retired six years. Yes, we are now those old guys on the golf course on a weekday morning. The clerk in the pro shop asks if we are seniors. Wow. That’s the first time I’ve been asked that. Rick asks what’s the age for seniors. He says 60. OK. Well, Rick is 61. So, score! Discount! Rick tells him at the course he normally plays in Lexington, you only have to be 55 to be a senior. I’m 55. I tell the guy “I’m not a senior, not here anyway.” So, I pay full price and we’re off to start the round.
Rick asks me which tees I want to play from. I’ve never been a long hitter, my back is killing me and I have no ego when it comes to golf. We decide to play from the senior tees. Why not? Rick is a senior and I would be in Lexington at his golf course.
The crazy thing is I have one of the best rounds I have ever had. I’ve been playing golf off and on for nearly 30 years, mostly off. The last several years I’ve averaged a round or two a year. I had decided not to keep score and I had some holes my score was pretty high on because I hit a lot of trees. But, I hit the ball really well. Typically, even when I was playing if I could play bogey golf with a birdie or two per round I would be happy. I had four or five birdies. And, I’m pretty sure in the 30 years I’ve been playing golf maybe once before I played an entire round without losing a golf ball. I played 18 holes yesterday without losing a ball. Three times I thought the ball was lost and in fact had even given up looking for it only to find it and two of those times in a way better place than I had been looking.
Catching up with Rick really marked the passage of time. We were young bachelors together at IBM decades ago. Now we’re seniors. His son is 25 years old, just about the age I was when Rick and I met. As always Shayna was on my mind the entire day. I wondered how I’d deal with talking about her. We didn’t really talk about her much, but even when I’m not talking about her she’s always front and center with me. The passage of time is an odd thing for me now. When the girls were young I wanted to stop time, freeze them where they were and just stay there forever. Now it cannot go fast enough. Looking back over the past 30 years in some ways it seems like not much time at all. I can make whatever time stretches out in front of me. It’s been a good day on the golf course. One more day in the books.