Coincidences, the number 50 and one small lie to wrap things up nicely

Fifty is an amazing number. The ol’ half-century, the big fiddy, the… uh…

Wow. There is a gaping dearth of slang terms for the big five-oh. Strange, because it’s such an amazing number.

Fifty is the number of cents it apparently takes to be a famous rapper. It’s approximately the number of awful new TV shows that my girlfriend discovers and tortures me with every month. If they walked that many miles, The Proclaimers would’ve been a tenth of the way to that door they’d so eagerly fall at. Unless they walked five hundred more.

Most notably – for me, anyway – is that fifty is the score I shot when I played nine holes of golf this weekend past at Green Fairways.

I’m not a great golfer. I’m not even a good golfer. My swing bears an uncanny resemblance to a drunken man trying to hold onto a greased broomstick as he falls down a flight of stairs. But I love playing. About a year after I started playing, I was shooting sub-fifty scores over nine holes. That was nearly 15 years ago. The memories of those rounds have haunted me since; a reminder of the dizzying heights of not-altogether-crap-ness that I might have eventually scaled if I had spent more time on the course. I believed then – and still, perhaps deludedly, do now – that deep down inside me, there is a round of 80 just waiting to be be unleashed on an unsuspecting course. An easy course, of course. But that’s golf for you: the 87 god-awful shots you hit in your last round weren’t nearly as indicative of your true potential as the 19 that went straight and didn’t take four minutes of searching through knee-high grass to find.

That’s why I was happy when I shot 50 last weekend, the first time I’ve done so since I stopped playing regularly around ten years ago. Funny coincidence, that…

Back then, I was at my local muni at least three times a week. I lacked a steady supply of funds at that time but I was always desperate to play so I often spent hours chipping and pitching for free on the practice green, the one that had a small “No chipping or pitching” sign that I never seemed to notice till I was done. After a year of conscientious devotion, I became distracted by work, family and the sheer thrill of wasting time frivolously. Eventually, I was reduced to playing once every couple of months, sometimes less. I eventually hit a spell where I didn’t own clubs and went for an entire year without playing. But, despite the lack of effort, I loved playing. Still do.

After shooting 10 on the first hole last weekend – blech – I hit a short but decent five wood that split the very narrow fairway on the 214m second hole, pulling up just short of the bunker sitting rudely in the middle of the fairway up near the green. My mud-splattered ball led to a poor pitch which left me a couple of metres off the green and about five metres from the flag. My third shot was one of those that came off the club so sweetly that I just knew it was going to give me something to get mildly upset over later when my girlfriend, who cares little about golf but loves me enough to at least feign interest rather poorly, would probably feign interest a little more poorly than I would’ve liked. The ball steadily rolled its way to the hole and ended up rattling inside the cup.

Birdie.

It was the second strange coincidence of the day because, while I can recall quite a few chips-ins during those glorious first couple of years of playing – I can recall every single one of them, actually – I haven’t done it since I stopped practicing avidly.

On the next hole, a very short par-three, my tee shot landed about eight feet right of the flag, safely in the centre of the green where I had aimed it, but an unseen ridge steered it gently towards the hole and, for a few exhilarating seconds, it threatened to go in. It would’ve been the first hole-in-one of my life. Golfers know that a hole in one is 99% luck but that wouldn’t have stopped me from having an engraving on my headstone commemorating the moment: “Here lies a dingy hacker on whose arse the sun once shined as he scored a hole-in-one at a course in Singapore you’ve never heard of.”

Birdies to poor golfers are like sedated, pre-plucked tweety birds to hungry puddy tats. I was happy to snag one, but two? I was elated. I don’t think I’ve had back-to-back birdies in a decade which is, coincidentally, around the same time that I stopped practicing avidly. The coincidences are piling up…

I had a so-so round off the tee after that but my short game and my short irons held up in much the same way that a man with a water pistol holds up a service station. I ended up on the ninth green with a five foot putt for a shaky 49. Nervous about shooting a sub-50 round for the first time in over a decade, I missed by an inch. I happily settled for my first 50 in a very long time.

I feel rejuvenated! I want to practice again and work on my game. I’m excited and ready to spoil a few good walks with more sub-fifty (forty, even?) rounds. I feel like bumping my monthly hack up to a weekly bash with time around the practice green on the side but I’ll be going back to Green Fairways because golf in Singapore is expensive. But a round of golf at Green Fairways? It only costs – you guessed it – $50.

Strange coincidence, no?

Post-script: the round of golf actually cost $55 but that would’ve made for a pretty poor ending to this post. But the rest is true. Trust me, no one would ever actually lie about being as bad at golf as I am. 

Television as a form of torture

I like to keep things fresh and I’m not keen on revisiting topics I’ve posted about in the past but sometimes a good old rant can be more fun than swimming in a pool full of beer. So I’ll reiterate two points that I’ve made before. One: my girlfriend rules. I’m as lucky as a lottery-winning, rabbit-footed leprechaun holding a four leaf clover at the end of a rainbow. Two: the things my lovely woman watches on TV are, at times, just awful.

"Please make it stop!"

“Please make it stop!”

My girlfriend – I feel like I should name her since I mention her so often but I’ll maintain her privacy – works hard as the manager of ‘big stuff’ for ‘big company’ (privacy maintained – real smooth, Christian). She has to work hard because, with her smarts, she’s going to rule the world one day and you have to work your way up to roles like that. That’s why she likes to switch off when she comes home by watching rubbish television.

Please note that I am not taking a swipe at anyone who watches these shows. I couldn’t do that without taking a swipe at my girlfriend and she will forever live without me ever having done such a thing to her, much less publicly and much, much less for the shows she likes to watch. I’m only having a well-deserved whinge about them because I’m forced to give up precious minutes of my finite life to watch them with her.

And that’s why I’m going to vent. I’m sure it’ll make me feel slightly better…

Beauty and the Geek: Even my woman admits that it is “a distilled and pure concentrate of all that is wrong with the world today”. Well, all she really said is “It’s pretty bad” but I’m a fancy-schmacy blogger with a glittering lexicon who is not above inaccurate paraphrasing, gross exaggeration and the occasional lie. I just don’t get it. These guys have sky-high IQs and could do anything they put their minds to.

"See,

“Oh my God, he’s totally right, there are male lady bugs…”

So they portray themselves as needy, socially-stunted dorks for a nationwide TV audience. The beauties are portrayed as stereotypically unintelligent bimbos but, nonetheless, the type of lady that all men should aspire to impress, to mate with and to suffer for the rest of their lives. “I used to think all lady bugs were female.” None of them have actually said that but ten bucks says at least one of them will say it before their time is up. Stupidity seems to be endemic to reality television.

Gallery Girls: If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a group of vapid, well-to-do twenty-somethings from New York who want careers in art galleries because “it seems, like, totally cool and stylish and, like, we can totally make enough money to avoid being dirty, middle-class, off-the-rack plebs, all without having to work, like, totally hard” (inaccurate paraphrasing and gross exaggerations, remember…)

"Does this photo make my ego look big?"

“Does this photo make my ego look big?”

As if the occasional racist quip from one of them isn’t bad enough – “Everyone runs and hides here because everyone’s, like, quiet little Asian people and scared” – the one Asian girl in the group, who should have beaten the racist to a pulp with her own sense of entitlement, comes out with gems like “I feel like I’m a pretty good catch. I don’t know why I’m not having men fall for me, like, on the street or asking me out all the time” and “Who wouldn’t want to sleep with me?” The appropriate response to both those lines is “Standards – some men have them”. Another one of the girls said during an interview “I always get offended when unattractive men hit on me. Stop. Go over there. Go back.” I shudder to think that aliens might one day come to Earth and, before learning anything else about us, will see this show. They will undoubtedly set their phasers to “Burn, motherf#cker! Buuuuurn!” and raze this planet in a celestial second. I’ve considered paying our cable provider extra to ensure the channel they’re on isn’t broadcast to our apartment, just in case I accidentally flick past it and vomit into my own mouth a little.

"What? Ain't nuttin wrong wit it. You just jealous."

“What? Ain’t nuttin wrong wit it. You just jealous.”

Makeover shows: I won’t take one nasty swipe at all of them. Sure, it’s nice to get done up if you can’t afford it or if you have some self esteem issues and need a little encouragement to show you that you’re as beautiful as the next person. Sometimes they even go to work on people who need really need some help. One show my girlfriend was watching the other day featured a ‘dancer’ *ahem* who wasn’t sure where the strip club’s runway ended and where the sidewalk began. She was such a bad dresser than she actually chose to wear a tight little dress backwards because the back (which became the front) plunged to her backside. I think she was simply trying to let the people around her know exactly when she was ovulating and what she had for breakfast. She needed help, fair enough. What I really don’t like about these shows are the exaggerated affectations and the tears that pour forth when they finally unveil the ‘new’ person. I’m sure their friends and family are saying nice things but all I ever seem to hear them say is “OH MY GOD! YOU’RE NOT UGLIER THAN AN OYSTER SWIMMING IN A BUCKET OF PHLEGM ANYMORE! WOW, I NEVER THOUGHT YOU COULD ACTUALLY BE ATTRACTIVE! I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY FIXED YOU BECAUSE, HONESTLY, I THOUGHT YOU WERE A COMPLETE WRITE-OFF! AND TO THINK I TOLD ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN THAT YOU HAD A HEAD LIKE A SMASHED CRAB! WOW!!” I’m sure they’re just happy for them but the tears suggest that they’re breathing a collective sigh of relief, as if to say “Thank God, they’ve been fixed” which I find a little disturbing.

"Thank God, I can actually look at her without feeling embarrassed now!"

“Thank God, I can actually look at her without feeling embarrassed now!”

I’ve already spoken my mind about the Kardashians but I will make a quick mention of the fact that she’s had a baby. My sincerest wishes for a happy life go out to that child, truly. All babies are gorgeous and I hope she has a fulfilling life. But North West? Poor kid. That name is right up there with the unfortunate moniker foisted upon Aussie real estate agent Dick Payne.

Phwoar. That did make me feel better….