I was chatting with a lady one day last week when she asked me a question that sent my mind racing. She asked, "Do you really like golf?"
It was indeed a simple question that should have required a very simple answer. It was even a yes or no question. Now, how hard can those questions be? For me, well there is no such thing as a simple question.
You can ask me how I'm doing, and I will likely launch into a diatribe that will make you wish you had never asked, since it was a rhetorical question to begin with. Ask me what time it is, and I will look at my wrist (whether I am wearing a watch or not) and then probably quiz you on why you want to know. I like to think of myself as complex and inquisitive. Some of my friends think I'm just full of
Such is my lot in life, but this question made me look for a response that would surely let her know just how passionate I am about the game of golf. The Pope's religion entered into my head. A bear's bathroom habits came to mind. I almost asked, "Does a one-legged frog swim in circles?" Yep, that's me working overtime.
This lady had a look on her face that screamed "come on, I'm serious." So, I bit back the urge to be a wiseacre and said simply, "yes."
There you go. Simple question. Simple answer. End of conversation? Not exactly.
Apparently she wasn't satisfied, because she looked at me and asked, "No, I mean do you REALLY like golf?"
I was tempted to reply with a YES, thinking maybe she was hard of hearing. All right, I'm just jesting.
This woman knows I love to play golf. What she can't understand is why. She played the game once, a couple of years ago. I know because I was there. She had never been on a golf course before, and it showed. When she did hit the ball, it didn't go very far. It was a lesson in futility, and to be perfectly honest, she didn't have much fun.
So, now she is wondering how I could possibly enjoy the game of golf. It was left for me to explain how each hole was a new experience. I might hit a great drive, or stick an iron shot. I could roll in a long putt, score a birdie or eagle, or post a good score. The day inevitably would give me something to smile about even if I didn't play well. How could that not be fun?
I'm not sure she was buying my story. For her, each hole was the same. Hit the ball, chase it down and hit it again. And again and again. It was never ending, and she may never do it again.
Now, I'm back to being inquisitive. Maybe I can find something she likes to do. Perhaps I will be able to compare it to my love of golf. I asked her what hobbies she enjoyed. She suggested she "likes" to exercise. Whoa, no point of comparison for me there.
Then she smiled and said, "I love to shop." Uh oh. Not what I had in mind, but then again we are talking about something that she really likes, no matter whether I can understand it or not. So, I asked her the question every man wants to know. "Do you buy much?"
Her response was classic. "I don't think so, but my husband might disagree."
Now, here is the typical man's view of shopping. You need something, so you go to a (single) store, find it, pay for it and head for home to do something worthwhile. There is no joy in shopping. It is a necessary evil that needs to be done as quickly and painlessly as possible. This is not necessarily my view mind you, but it's not far off.
So it's my turn to ask if she REALLY enjoys shopping. After all, don't you start seeing the same thing over and over? Why, pray tell, would you want to spend several hours just looking if you don't really need anything and may not buy anything? She had an explanation, and this is what I think she said:
"Every store is like a new golf hole. You may find that long putt you have been looking for forever. An eagle of a sale saves you a lot of money. At the end of the day you've posted a good score - or not. Either way it was a lot of fun."
She may not have used those exact words, but she made her point. The thrill is in the hunt. You never really know what to expect when you go shopping, but a bad day of shopping beats a good day at work. I think I've heard that one before.
You can now tap your favorite phrase. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To each his own. Whatever floats your boat. You say tomato, and I say bowling ball. Wait a minute, I think that one was from Larry the Cable Guy.
The point is we all have different interests and if those activities put a smile on your face, then have at it. To my friend, I say, enjoy your day of shopping.
I'm going golfing.
Al Stephenson is The A-T golf columnist.
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