For his birthday this year Otto received a set of fancy golf clubs from his best pal Joshy. They were purchased at a real golf store, a place where sun spotted octogenarians practice their poor chip shots while breathing in canned oxygen and dreaming of a perfect tee shot and World War II. Otto’s love for golf came fast and furiously after we bought him a hollow, plastic set from ToysRUs. It seemed only logical to Joshy, his extremely verbal, quick witted and luxury loving pal, that Otto be given better tools to succeed in the competitive world of golf than what his parents had so cheaply doled out to him for Christmas.
So today, more than two months after the gift was given, I took Otto back to the store to get the clubs correctly fitted. Immediately, Joey, a sales associate who looked like Phil Mickelson after eating a meatball sub, insisted that we not cut down the clubs but teach Otto to “choke up” on his grip so he could continue to use them without wasting time or money by having to buy new ones in less than a year's time. I liked Joey's frugal, honest approach, a character trait that was glaringly displayed by his choice of shirts that day, a Men's Warehouse meets Goodwill number with a ketsup stain just above the name tag that was cleverly disguised by the manly black striped pattern that screamed, "Help me!"
My wardrobe choice for the Golf Shack fashion parade,on the other hand, was centered around my vintage 2002 Seven Jeans that were being held up by nothing but a memory and a ripped button hole. Having been paired with the same long sleeved black shirt that had grown into my upper body skin early in the week, I now planned on being buried in it, as opposed to donating it to science so as to further the study of the relation of semi synthetic fabrics and mothers over forty.
After a few lessons from Joey on how to improve his grip, Otto walked straight over to the driving range area and dumped out an entire buckets of balls. He then meticulously put them back in the basket one at a time and proceeded to hit them into the white padded wall that simulated a par 5 . Thinking I was being helpful, I picked up a few strays balls but soon realized this was not part of his master plan. He yelled at me to not to touch his balls, a sentence that I imagine will be uttered many more times until he reaches puberty and then began to get very agitated when his shot did not hit the white wall at a perfect angle. By the time the basket was half empty, Otto had pitched himself face first onto the Astroturf and was crying as if the moil had returned to perform a follow-up circumcise. The guys practicing nearby were more than annoyed to be within ear shot of a two year old complaining about his golf shots at such a high, harrowing octave. I got down on one knee, held him in my arms and explained that if he continued to imitate the mating call of a South Asian Rhesus monkey we would promptly leave and sign him up for a male cheerleading squad instead.
He calmed down, took a swig from his sippy cup and walked over to the putting green where he began an hour long run of hitting the balls into the hole, while stealing other balls from customers who were there to purchase three hundred dollar drivers, golf bags with built in cup holders and jock straps with Tiger Woods face stitched on to the front. The tears were now replaced with a steely focus of a shark in warm, shallow waters. It was not so much his skill that impressed me as his concentration on the task at hand and the pleasure he got from the entire experience. He was there to cheat and and there to win!
When I realized it was lunchtime and I spotted sweat dripping down his cheeks, I knew it was time to leave before he hit the proverbial white wall again. We purchased a bag of day glow tees, day glow practice balls and a half dozen real balls that shall remain outside so as not to end up shattering the television screen on our nine-year-old set we refuse to replace with an HGTV flat screen that makes all newscasters look like Joan Rivers. We then walked hand in hand, out to the car where I lay him down in the back and changed his engorged diaper. I had parked directly in front of the entrance for my convenience, not realizing that all the people who had just witnessed a potential golfer in the making could now see him have his ass wiped by his fashion phobic mother.
As I was cleaning off the last remnants of urine from his private Benjamin, I thought to myself, "This has been the most fun I’ve ever had with Otto. I really think the two of us just experienced an amazing bonding moment, a moment I will never forget. What if he's the next Tiger Nicklaus or the next Sergio O'Meara?" And just then a chortle came from the backseat and I swore I heard him say, “Mommy, don’t touch my balls!”