Shorebilly's Swill: A Homage to Golfers
It’s that time of year again. The season winds down and temperatures start to descend. Tourists and students have vacated our beaches until next spring. We get a smattering of conventions to keep us going. Fun little groups like recovering addicts, followers of Jesus, and those who time their vacations around other people who drive similar cars--just to name a few. The one remaining staple group we have this time of year however, is golfers. Massive groups of them inundate our little town the same time each year. Heading toward our beaches like the lemmings, but hopefully with a better outcome. They arrive in droves from the northeast having discovered several years ago that Ocean City is a much shorter drive than Myrtle Beach. Hoards of middle-aged men who enjoy two things: the challenge and relaxation of the sport of golf, and vacationing without their families. They are seeking a fun filled weekend of golf clubs, night clubs, and male camaraderie.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not by any means a complaint about the groups of golfers. I look forward to this time of year with great eagerness and I love waiting on them for the most part. This is simply a collection of observations of typical behaviors from my spot behind the bar. The town as a whole, welcomes golfers with open arms, and at the very worst, they are a necessary evil. I personally have a lot of fun with them, if for no other reason than my own entertainment.
They all seem to think that they are moving about incognito, but a group of twenty guys in v-necked sweater vests and Titleist visors aren’t exactly flying under the radar. Even the untrained eye can spot you from a half mile. They arrive in groups of anywhere from four to fifty deep. Each group unique and diverse in so many ways, yet exactly the same as so many others. The diversity lies in the individual groups themselves. Depending on the size of the group, they often range in age from early twenties to late seventies with all stops in between. They come from multiple walks of life and tax brackets and sometimes you can’t help but wonder where the common bond is with these guys other than their annual pilgrimage to the land of marshy golf courses.
They are also, the last remaining bastion of clientele who deem it perfectly acceptable behavior to stroll into a restaurant during the dinner rush with a party of thirty-five, no reservations, and expect to be seated immediately. There’s always one guy who says with disappointment over the ten minute wait; “But we’re hungry”. Oh, well that changes everything! So in they come, speaking in a plethora of attractive accents and dialects indigenous to the top right corner of our great country. I know they are all various forms of English, but I still sometimes need to glance at another member of the group for translation.
Each group has a certain dynamic, and this is where it really gets fun for me. There’s an infrastructure or hierarchy, if you will. Each member has their role, not at all unlike the animal kingdom, whether travelling in packs, herds, flocks, pods, or whatever your metaphor of choice. First of course is the Alpha male. He is the self-proclaimed leader of the group; much less charismatic then David Koresh, but equally as arrogant. He generally earns amongst the highest incomes of the group and you know this because he speaks incessantly about it and of his own possessions and achievements. He’s probably only in this role because he was one of the founding fathers of this annual golf trip and many of the others have either died off, or lost interest. Not him though, this is the most important weekend of the year for him. The newer members of this elite group will spend the next few days laughing and patronizing him in an effort to gain acceptance and partake in future golf getaways. He always seems to choose one of the weaker members of the clan to be the butt of his bad jokes for the weekend. Truth be told, most of these guys can’t stand the Alpha dog but they tolerate him for the sake of the once a year, three-day escape from reality. They just quietly hope that they don’t get teamed up with him tomorrow morning because he’s an even bigger pedantic, condescending jackass on the course than he is in the bar.
The next guy down in the pyramid is the guy I like to call “Johnny Bigwheel”. He too makes it known to all that he is in a substantially higher tax bracket than the rest of them. He walked here and hasn’t driven a vehicle for at least forty-eight hours, yet he’s the only one who has his car keys prominently displayed on the bar with the Bentley keychain facing up. He’s usually the loudest of the group and I believe his hearing dissipates more with each cocktail because his volume keeps rising. Particularly when he says,
“This next round is on me. Set em all up!”
He’s sly and crafty though because he doesn’t make this announcement until the night is almost over and most of his comrades have “tapped out” on drinking. He’s also the guy who either tries to walk out on his check, or stiffs me when he pays it. Enjoy your Bentley sir. MY wife loves me. See you next fall.
Next is the “Cool Guy”. He’s about fifty yet still living vicariously through himself--or at least the version of himself who once may have been cool. He speaks non-stop about his favorite subject--himself. Each and every story starts with his high school football career though it’s been over three decades and there’s no one in the room to corroborate any of his self-regalia. Everyone plays along, but you can tell they all instinctively know that this dude must have less self esteem and confidence than the Jamaican bobsled team at opening ceremonies. I haven’t played golf with him, but I’d be willing to wager that he has the largest Driver sticking out of his bag. I’m guessing he also drives an enormous, very loud Juggernaut-like truck, clearly compensating for some emotional or physical inadequacy. I’m just sayin’.
Next comes the “Funny Guy”. He spends the entire weekend reciting direct quotes from professional comedians as if they were his own words. Basically, he made the five-hour drive down here alone because he’s so annoying, while listening to, and memorizing the comedy station on Syrius—and he most certainly rehearsed the highlights. You can tell the members of the flock who don’t have HBO because they laugh hysterically at this guy which does nothing more than to encourage him. He’s also the guy who will ask me for some props from behind the bar to perform some sophomoric trick that would be better suited for a fifth birthday party. Nobody laughs harder at his quips than he does. What he doesn’t realize is that most of his buddies are laughing “at” him, not “with” him. Good luck to whomever gets paired up with this cat tomorrow morning, because he probably has some exploding novelty balls and naked lady tees in his bag.
Next comes the “Stud” of the group. He gets this title simply by default. It’s kind of like having the dubious distinction of being the tallest guy in the pigmy tribe. He’s the youngest one of the group by as much as forty-five years and one of the few who is still single. He’s not even remotely as attractive as he thinks he is and yet somehow he’ll be one of the few to return home from this weekend with ego intact. Most of the other guys are hitching their wagons to the hope of hearing graphic detailed accounts of Stud’s weekend of debauchery. He says things like:
“Whassup with all the dudes in here?”, or “Yo, where all da girls at?”, or “Where the strip clubs at?”.
Three questions to which I will respond as follows:
1. You brought them. 2. You JUST missed them. They were just here……..3 months ago. 3. Turn right at that next bridge, then go about 130 miles.
I usually give him a pen and paper before that last response so he can start writing the directions down. This guy is flanked by a handful of middle-aged men who have been miserably married for many years. They each have a tan line on the ring finger of their left hand where their wedding ring usually resides. That’ll fool ‘em guys. Little do they know that even with Stud-boy as their leader, they wouldn’t have a chance of getting any action tonight if they walked naked into a women’s maximum security prison pushing a wheel barrow full of pardons.
Next comes the “Foul Mouthed Guy”. He comes in one of two forms: He’s either a family man with three or more young children who is constantly censoring himself at home and only gets 72 hours a year to curse freely. Or, he’s the guy with a little bit of “roid-rage” who spends a lot of time standing in front of a full length mirror wondering why he is alone. Either one manages to wield the “F” word like Picasso with a brush. He artfully fits the word into each and every sentence at least once. Throughout the course of the evening, he will spew forth more F’s than an adolescent Catholic boy with a severe stutter trying to say the word “fornicate” to a priest through the wall of a confessional. (Editorial note: normally that last statement would have been edited out, but because of much begging and pleading from Syd, it has been left in. Our advance apologies to anyone who may be offended for the sake of comedy.)
And last, but certainly not least is “That Guy”. He’s been drinking heavy since 7 a.m. and will tell you so with pride if you can understand what he’s saying. He also enjoys spouting off about himself, but is not nearly interesting enough to captivate an audience, and he spits when he talks. The elders usually pawn the new guy off on him. He pounds at you incessantly with more drunken, idiotic ,Narcissistic, self-promoting ramblings than a whole warehouse full of George Thorogood lyrics. He’s the same guy who refuses to retain my name though I’ve told him several times what it is. He, and many others like him prefer to refer to me by clever little titles like; Chief, Sport, Doctor, Captain, Yo, Pal, Garcon, Slim, Homie, and countless others. Let me take this time to tell not just gofers, but the entire world that BARTENDERS FREAKIN HATE THAT!!!!! Thank you, I feel much better now.
There are many other characters in these groups; I’ve simply chosen the ones that were most entertaining to write about and the ones who people in my line of work could most identify with. After four straight weeks of writing about old guy stories in the bar, I needed to switch it up a bit. By and large, these golf groups are a great bunch of guys and we welcome them and enjoy serving them. I hope they all keep coming back. Like them or not, this time of year we need them--they pay the checks albeit with either with crumpled up bills from side bets on the course, or with Visa cards sporting Yankees or Red Sox logos—it’s money all the same. I love these guys. They make for good print.
That’s all for my homage to golfers. Thanks for playing along.
Until next week,
To read other Shorebilly's Swill columns, visit ShoreBread's opinoin section: Chew on This.
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