I imagine you sports fans are dying to learn the results of my golf tournament.
That is correct: I have a golf tournament. It used to be that you had to be a major star such as a Bob Hope or a Moammar Gadhafi to have one, but now anybody can. It has reached the point where, if you apply for a credit card, the first two blanks on the application are "Your Name" and "Name of Your Golf Tournament."Mine is "The Dave Barry Classic," and it attempts to raise money for the American Red Cross. I'm a fan of the Red Cross, because after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida, the Red Cross provided us with the one thing we most desperately needed: showers. This was a godsend, because after a few days without plumbing, we all smelled like Eau de Athletic Supporter.
And so when the local Red Cross chapter asked me if I'd host a golf tournament, my answer, without one instant of hesitation, was: "I don't play golf." This is true. I don't have anything against golf; it's just that, if I'm going to play a sport, I want one that provides more aerobic benefits, such as "Rock, Paper, Scissors."
But I told the Red Cross people I'd host the tournament anyway, because I sincerely believe in "giving something back" to the community. Plus they said there would be beer.
The Dave Barry Classic was held at Doral Park, which is a residential golfing community catering to people who enjoy combining the pleasure of living in attractive homes with the pleasure of never knowing exactly when a small, hard, white sphere will penetrate your recreation room traveling upward of 140 miles per hour. This happens routinely because golfers, despite the fact that they are using expensive, modern golf clubs made from space-age materials and engineered to tolerances of thousandths of an inch, have absolutely no idea what the golf ball is going to do once they hit it.
I say this after spending a day observing the golfers in my tournament. These were mostly middle-aged business guys who had come out because they truly believe in the ideals of the Red Cross, especially the ideal of holding a golf tournament on a Friday afternoon.
"I would love to stay in the office wearing a tie and talking on the phone with boring people I dislike," they probably told their business associates, "but I have an obligation to the Red Cross."
In addition to the business guys, we had some big celebrities on hand. I do not mean "big" in the sense of "famous"; I mean "big" as in "larger than your junior high school." For example, one celebrity was Charles "Gator" Bennett, a former defensive lineperson with the Miami Dolphins. At one point "Gator" playfully put his arm, which is the size of Keanu Reeves, around my neck, thereby playfully shutting down my trachea for what at the time seemed like an eternity but which in fact, as I look back on it, was probably only about 45 minutes. This is exactly why I hated gym class. I was afraid that "Gator" would decide to snap me with a towel, and I would never walk again.
Not that I felt much safer on the golf course. For one thing, there were the killer ducks. The Doral Park course has a large colony of ducks that, after years of eating food dropped by golfers, have become large and aggressive. If you stop your golf cart, they surround you, dozens of them, pretty much demanding that you give them something to eat.
"We can peck you to death," is their unmistakable message, "and the authorities will do nothing to us, because we are ducks."
More than once I found myself stomping on the accelerator and rocketing away at top golf-cart speed ("mosey"), with a herd of irate ducks waddling after me, like a terrifying scene from a Steven Spielberg movie called "Jurassic Duck."
But the scariest phenomenon on the golf course, as I noted earlier, is the golfers. Basically, every time they hit the ball, they go through two distinct phases:
PHASE ONE - They are a foursome of serious, middle-aged accountants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, etc., gathering around a golf ball, studying it intensely, as though it were an unexploded terrorist bomb. Then one of them takes a club, stands over the ball, waggles his butt around, hauls off and hits the ball, which leads to . . .
PHASE TWO - All four golfers instantly transform into lunatics, gyrating their bodies and screaming contradictory instructions at the ball ("STAY UP!" "GET DOWN!" "STAY DOWN!" "GET UP!"). They sound like the deranged homeless people you sometimes see shouting on city streets, the difference being that, at least some of the time, somebody might be listening to the deranged homeless people, whereas the ball never listens to the golfers. It goes wherever it wants, laughing the laugh of the truly carefree.
So what with the golfers and "Gator" and the gangsta ducks, it was a scary day out there on the "links." But I'm pleased to report that we got through The Dave Barry Classic without any unnecessary deaths, although as of this morning there still were several tee shots that had not yet returned to Earth, so if you live within 250 miles of Miami, you are advised to cower under your bed until further notice.
And if, God forbid, something bad should happen, you may rest assured that the Red Cross will be there for you.