From the Journal of My Childhood Friend Alec Singer…


My attitude toward sports my entire life has been, “Win or die.” In my middle 40s, I took up golf. In my middle 50s, I took up tennis. So now I have these two sports to replace football, basketball, and baseball. I was good, sometimes very good, in football, basketball, and baseball. Now I am a bad golfer and a bad tennis player. I just started these games too late. When I played football, if we needed a 1st down, they would throw the ball to me and I would catch it. When I played basketball, if we needed a basket to win, I was happy to take it. When I played baseball, I was confident I could get a hit if needed or catch a ball for the out. Now, in tennis, when I am playing doubles and I hit a ball back, I pray to god that it won’t be hit back to me. In golf, my goal is to not embarrass myself. Pretty sad, huh?

I tell you this so you will understand why I made an unscheduled stop at the driving range yesterday. A friend of mine was kind enough to invite me to play at his private club tomorrow, and I needed to raise my golf game to the not-embarrassing level before then. That’s when I discovered I was missing the headcover to my semi-new driver. My anger at losing things used to be a foible. As I have gotten older, it has become a psychosis. Whether a pen, a pair of glasses, or really anything, the value or importance of the item doesn’t matter. The level of the anger is just as great as it would be if I lost my car.

My mood for the day had been what the average person would describe as slightly depressed. To me, it was as good as could be. Now I was thrown into the depths of depression fueled by anger. I had proven once again that I am a failure at life. Intellectually, I know this is not true. But my emotional side always wins out in these scuffles.

I must have left the headcover in the cart at the golf course where I played 2 days earlier. Call them? No. I would probably get some kid working the desk who couldn’t give a shit. Or I would get a retired guy even older than me who would want to give a shit but can’t since he can’t even remember if he drove to work that day or if his wife drove him.

The course was barely out of my way so I decided just to go by in person. I put the odds of getting my headcover returned at 30%. After all, golf courses are one of the last bastions of honesty in the world. But on the way there, the odds were steadily dropping in my head. 25%… 20%… By the time I arrived at the course, the odds were down to 10%. Behind the counter was the kid who couldn’t give a shit. I stated my case. He turned his head and looked at a spot on the floor. “This is the only one we have,” he said. It was my headcover. I told him it was mine, he handed it to me, and I left.

I went to my car and placed the headcover on the head of the driver. I was elated. On the way home, I let people turn in front of me. Someone cut me off and I smiled. This lasted for maybe an hour, and then I became myself again. But it was such a nice hour. Funny how something bad happened and then something good happened that only put me back where I was originally… with a headcover. And yet I was happy. How great it must be to feel that way for more than an hour. Maybe it was only 40 minutes.