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« A Day Late and a DC-9 Short | Main | Cash(-Cow) Cab »

Master-ing an Assignment

Sometimes, life throws you a bone.

Usually, it's sharpened to a point on one end and life wings it at your head, But once in a great occasional while, life will actually point you in the right direction.

Take the comedy writing class I'm taking from Jenn at RISD this spring. This week's assignment includes blogging about a "trending topic" on Google or Twitter.

Which would be great -- if "terrifying office mens' room signs" or half-blind lazy doofus" or Alton Brown >> Chuck Norris" were 'hot topics' around the interwebs.

Sadly, they are not. And despite my best efforts, are not likely to be in future. Go figure.

So I hit up a few websites to tell me what's trending these days on Google and Twitter. I put my finger squarely on the pulse of what the world is talking about, and caring about, and jabbering about on their custom-skinned iPhones. The results were -- to me -- deflating. Here's a partial list of recent web trends I'm not touching with a 14-foot Ethernet cable:

ACM awards 2012: "The winner is... the guy with the jeans and the hat with the song about the dog and the pickup and the cheating wife. No, not you. The other one. Sir, no -- the guy behind you. No, on the left. That's the one -- congratulations!"

#twitpicyourpuppy: My dog is old, and currently a thousand miles away. I'd have to be veeeery creative with the word 'puppy' to join this particular game. And nobody wants that.

Jet crash in Virginia: Of course. Because that's hilarious. PASS.

Wisconsin primary: Two rich old white guys compete for a bunch of cheeseheads' affection -- that's not politics; it's a Walter Matthau buddy film.

#EstareiSempreAoSeuLado: I have no idea what this is, or what language it's in. But I'd still talk about it before the Wisconsin primary.

Things were looking grim. And then, near the bottom of one of Google's trending charts, I saw it:

Masters

That's the 2012 PGA Masters Golf Tournament, for those of you not immersed in the incredibly high-voltage exciting world of professional golf. It's played every year -- no, seriously, every year -- in Augusta, Georgia. And it's going on this weekend.

As it happens, I'm currently just a few miles away, in Atlanta this weekend for an in-law wedding. I'm taking that as a sign. Or a bone. Whatever. It's a start.

I figured I'd jaunt over in the rental car this afternoon, grab a ticket, maybe hit a few balls during a lull in the action -- no biggie. But it turns out there are people there, watching. Thousands of 'em. The course is packed full of more bodies that Tiger Woods' old little black book. Who knew?

It's a shame for me. I'm not much for watching golf on TV. I figure if you've seen one little white ball tracked through the air from a zeppelin camera feed, you've seen them all. It'll come down somewhere. I can't tell a damned thing from an aerial view.

"Pop's not a fan of the commentary. More golfy, less talky -- that's his motto."

My Dad, on the other hand, can't get enough. He'll watch for hours. I'm positive he's at home right now, glued to the set, watching stroke after stroke. With the sound turned down, naturally. Pop's not a fan of the commentary. More golfy, less talky -- that's his motto.

(Come to think of it, he was probably talking to me a lot of the times he said that. I always thought it was the commentators.

That explains a lot about my childhood, all of a sudden. Neat.)

So we never watched much golf together -- but we played. He's an avid ballstriker, and I went through a phase -- a dozen years or so before the futility of my suckiness finally became clear. He'd play his respectable game, and I'd settle for "military golf" -- left, right, left, right, left, right... -- and most of the time I wouldn't drive the cart into a tree. Most of the time.

A few years ago, we had a chance to see a major match like this week's Masters -- the U.S. Open in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. We made it to the final Sunday, and spent the afternoon watching the tension build as the leaderboard shook and shivered, favorites rising and fading, until the final thrilling heart-thumping conclusion...

A tie. Three-way logjam at the top. They finished Monday. I was back at work. That may have been when I decided watching golf sucks a ball-washer. Just maybe.

So I do have an idea of what it's like as a spectator out there today at the Masters, rubbing elbows with the greats, watching world-class puttery, talking in whispers anywhere near a tee box.

It's hot, is what it's like. Water costs six bucks a bottle. Sweaty people are constantly breathing on you. And at the end of the day, you still won't know who won.

Maybe Dad had it right all along. Perhaps golf is best watched from the comfort of a recliner, A/C on and beer in hand. Enjoy the Masters, Dad. You're doin' it right.





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