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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nodding Off

April 11, 2013

So I’m talking to Walt at the palatial offices of Go Figure Reads the other day. I want him to explain why he has three of my submissions just sitting on the shelf. Other than carping about bad grammar, he pretty much ignores my books. Instead he’s going on and on about a book that Stanley McFarland is writing about the Freedman movement after the Civil War, and how these champions of liberty are ignored.

So I ask him – “what’s the difference between freedom and liberty?”

Walt scratches his underworked head and points to a poster of Stanley, an 8 by 10 of Will Wright, and a black and white thumbnail of me. “Stanley,” he says, “is like liberty because he takes stands to defend the rights of others. Will is like freedom because he exercises those rights.”

“What about me,” I ask?

“It’s a logical progression,” says Walt. “Liberty, freedom, freedumber.”

I don’t like Walt.

I don’t follow popular gossip. I never figured out how to get TV channels after they left analog, and didn’t care enough to ask for help. Mostly, I learn stuff from listening to others. That’s how I heard about Tiger and Lindsey.

My first thought was that Tiger Woods was seeing Lindsey Lohan: a match made in heaven! It turns out that it’s some other Lindsey. She is pretty, and blonde, and known to the entire world – except me. To me she is just – a Lindsey that is not a Lohan.

The notorious Thanksgiving incident that revealed Tiger’s infidelity didn’t surprise me. They guy was trying too hard to have a positive public image – like A-Rod, Marie Osmond, and gold medal winning decathlete, Bruce Jenner. This is always a bad sign. Now A-Rod’s steroid use is public knowledge and while Marie and Bruce’s conspiracy to sneak malicious space aliens onto Dancing With the Stars has not yet been confirmed – it’s just a matter of time (and space) until the National Enquirer gives us all the details.

People who try that hard are up to no good.

I worry about Tom Hanks.

But I have an additional reason to suspect Tiger Woods and the apparent rehabilitation of his public image – he plays golf.

Golf is that ubiquitous game for which millions of men pine all work-week, then spend their few precious hours of weekend leisure time building up a lather of frustration resulting in unappealing foot odor.

Those less affluent, or in the northern climes watch it on TV, usually through their eye-lids.

The Masters starts today, and it’s as good a time as any to blow the lid off the conspiracy of how a game that is almost as exciting to watch as checkers is so popular across the country.

Who’s behind the conspiracy, you ask? (You ask the best questions.)

Who isn’t? I reply.

How about Major League Baseball?
 What better way to make a game like baseball look exciting than to have it on right after three hours of guys walking slowly around a stationary ball, stand over it carefully, and tap it with an over-priced upside-down cane? At least in baseball, the shortstop or center fielder moves moderately fast two or three times an hour.

The recliner manufacturers of America? Big Cliner (as I call them) sells hundreds of thousands of truly ugly living room furnishings every year. Six days a week these behemoths serve as places to lose cheese puffs, remote controls, or small cats. On Sunday afternoons, they suddenly justify their existence by providing a viable environment for watching golf on television. You can watch golf on a couch, but not if family members object to you stretching out. The process of stretching out includes scrunching up and man-drooling the decorative cushions – a natural process many American females find objectionable.

No, I don’t understand why either.

Man-drool only seasons a recliner.

The Association for the Detection of Sleep Apnea. I’m not sure this association really exists. When I was a kid, sleep apnea was what we always called Dad snoring. What affection I might have for golf comes not from watching it myself, but watching my father watch golf. Fourteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds into each golf broadcast, Dad slipped into eyelid observation mode. The recliner back, and Diet Pepsi slowly slipping from the armrest, Dad punctuated the sedate commentary with truly magnificent wood-sawing. Dad snored so loud that Barney the hound dog that lived three doors down couldn’t resist the temptation to add his own harmony. Just before the reverberations caused damage to our house’s foundation (nothing could hurt the recliner,) Dad would snort and wake up with a start. He’d look around to see me laughing, often joined by siblings, friends, or occasionally firemen called by neighbors fearing seismic damage to the neighborhood.

“Quiet,” Dad would say, “Nicholas is putting. I want to hear this.”

Like so many harmless diversions of yesterday, (dodge ball, airplane glue, swirlies from which the NSA developed water-boarding) Dad snoring has become a serious threat to the health and well-being of the American public. Armies of public servants are now charged with studying its effects between games of Spider on their government computers.

Without golf on TV this vitally important bureaucracy would be forced to find other ways to spend tax-payer money. As I said, I’m not sure the Association for the Detection of Sleep Apnea exists, but no conspiracy is worth its tin-foil hats without a government component.

The final component of our conspiracy… Wives.

I have to say this in a subdued tone because talking about wives is no longer permissible in thirty-seven states. Henny Youngman never made a single remark that didn’t disparage a domestic engineer.

He’d be in Guantanamo if he were alive today. Disparaging remarks are now limited to men/husbands/fathers. If you don’t believe me, let the TiVo remote lay there and watch some commercials.

But I don’t mean this in a disparaging fashion – more in a forensic fashion. (BTW, forensic – a word used only by professionals before Jack Klugman played Quincy, is now so ubiquitous that it should be a crime.)

In any crime or conspiracy investigation, you must ask the question – who benefits? With golf on TV each Sunday afternoon, millions of men sleep peacefully in their recliners. What might all the wives of those men accomplish?

The promotion of misandristic messaging on television commercials?

Postmortem incarceration of Henny Youngman?

Post-hypnotic obsessions for their husbands to leave the toilet seat down?

It all makes sense when you think about it. The benefits of golf on TV even moved women-kind to forgive Tiger Woods and let him date a Lindsey that is not a Lohan.