Disconnect the easy way.

I played golf yesterday morning my two friends, Andrew and Plato. 

The sky was blue. The sun was low in the sky. The greens were still sparkling with dew. 

We walked and swung and talked about our kids and the way we had spent our week apart. We told stories. Ribbed one another. Laughed a lot. 

On the fourteenth hole, Andrew hit a chip that rolled into his own putter, which is had errantly placed on the green, costing him a two shot penalty and the lead.

First time I'd ever seen that happen. He took it well.

Plato lost a ball in the high grass on the seventeenth hole, handing the lead back to Andrew. 

On the last hole, Plato holed a 20 foot chip to win by one stroke. Plato punched his fist into the air, knowing he had probably just won the match. Andrew had a chance to tie with a long putt, but he left it short. 

I was a non-factor, having put five balls into four different ponds along the way.     

Here is one of the beauties of golf:

When was the last time you spent nearly three hours with friends and didn't look at your phone?

When was the last time you took a three hour walk with friends and didn't receive a call, answer a text message, or check email?

When was the last time you took a walk with friends and experienced moments you will never forget?

People are rather fond of championing the many ways to disconnect from the phone and the Internet. They love professing the value of being "in the moment." There are programs that will force your computer or phone off the Internet for designated periods of time to avoid the temptation of being connected.

I'm personally a fan of avoiding temptation by avoiding temptation, but if someone needs to tie their own hands by their back to stop themselves from clicking their device, so be it.  

Or maybe just play golf. It's a frustrating, inexplicable, seemingly impossible game to play, made more than tolerable by the fact it is played with friends between grass and sky, absent of life's technological distractions.

Baseball players are damn cowards

On Wednesday night, Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flipped his bat at home plate before rounding the bases after hitting a home run. 

Flipped his bat. Tossed it into the air so that it rotated as it fell to the ground. 

On Thursday night, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran intentionally hit Bautista in the left thigh in the top of the first inning. 

The reason?

The Braves weren't pleased by Bautista's bat flip  in Wednesday night's game. Bat flipping in Major League Baseball is considered showboating. Making the pitcher look bad. Over-celebratory. 

Please note: Had the pitcher struck out Bautista, he could've fist pumped several times while standing on the mound with no repercussions. He could've leapt into the air. Shouted a barbaric yawp.  

But flipping a bat?

No. Too much. In response to a bat flip, the perpetrating player must stand still in a box drawn in chalk while a member of the opposing team throws a 90 MPH baseball at him like a damn coward. 

I love baseball, but I hate the sensitivity of baseball players. Their endless list of unwritten rules. And I especially hate the cowardly, pathetic, shameful retaliation that happens when pitchers throw baseballs at batters because the batter did something inappropriate earlier in the game.   

If you want to retaliate with violence (which is what throwing a baseball at another human being is), do so face to face. Man to man. 

Even better, keep your tender emotions in check when the big, mean man flips his baseball bat into the air after hitting a home run. Muscle through the emotional assault on your fragile psyche and strike the guy out next time. 

Someone please inform baseball players that winning is the best revenge. That throwing baseballs at players who have no chance of getting out of the way is childish, pathetic, and one of the greatest acts of cowardice perpetrated on network television on a regular basis. 

The essence of a New England Patriots fan and a Bostonian in 5 tweets.

This is a beautiful story. If you ever lived in Massachusetts, and especially in the greater Boston area, this will ring so true.

People in the Boston area are hardcore.  

It's Marathon Monday in Boston. As the runners make their way along the race route, a man stands on the side of the road, encouraging them with this sign that reminds them that in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, the Patriots were losing to the Falcons 28-3.

Keep going, marathoners. Don't give up. Anything is possible.

On Twitter, Addul Dremali, a biomechanical & data scientist and amateur photographer, posts a photo of the unidentified man and his sign.  

About an hour later, ESPN tweets at Dremali, asking if they can use the photo on all their platforms with a credit to him. 

This is where things get beautiful. With the opportunity to have his photo, name, and Twitter handle disseminated across ESPN's enormous and far reaching platforms, Dremail responds like a true and absolute Patriots fan.

This is a perfect reflection of what the people of Boston and its surrounding communities are like:

Fanatic, aggressive, perpetually angry, and so rarely self-serving. 

Forgive Dremali's language. It's also authentic to the Boston area.  

That is a thing of beauty. The perfect response by a man who had an opportunity to gain a little notoriety (in a culture where people will do almost anything to gain notoriety), and he decided to be a fan instead. 

About 30 minutes later, Dremail is contacted via Twitter by another news agency, requesting to use the photo. Their tweet is hilarious. 

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 6.54.14 AM.png

One minute later, Dremali responds perfectly.

Victory brownies and the definition of fandom and friendship

Our tailgate meal prior to a New England Patriots game has many glorious traditions.

One of these traditions are "victory brownies." Tony and his wife, Erin, bake brownies for dessert after an enormous meal of meat and meat and meat and potato, but we don't eat the brownies until the Patriots win.

Yesterday I received a package from Tony. When I opened the box, this is what I found:

Victory brownies. "Victory brownies of all time."

THIS, my friends, is what friendship and fandom look like. 

It's so much more than just a game.

I know it's only a game.

It's a game played by men who I have never met and never will.

Still, I feel sorry for those who don't have the opportunity to experience the sense of collective purpose and love that being a sport fan can bring. I can't imagine missing out on the unmitigated euphoria that a victory like last night can offer.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl in the most dramatic fashion possible, capping off a season of obstacles and hardships. Their quarterback was (in the mind of every physicist) unfairly suspended for four games, and they were stripped of a first round draft pick. Their backup quarterback was injured in his second game, requiring their rookie, third string quarterback to play. Their second best player - one of the greatest tight ends of all time - was injured and could not play for most of the season.

They overcame each obstacle and remained mentally tough on the biggest, brightest stage in the world. They won glory last night. Eternal, unforgettable glory.

I stood with these men who I have never met and never will all season long. I stood in the sun and freezing rain and snow at Gillette Stadium, cheering them on. I rearranged every Sunday afternoon during the season so I could watch them perform. I stood in muddy parking lots with friends before the games eating meat and talking about the game. I was not a member of the 2016 New England Patriots, but I'll be damned if I didn't feel like one.

Just as important, this team has brought me closer and closer to the people I love most. With each play, each game, and each football season, I take a step closer and closer into the hearts and minds of these friends.

It is a collective joining of spirit and soul that is so rarely found in today's world. It's a mutual understanding of who we are and who we can be through our hope, our pain, our sorrow, and our joy. It's an opening of hearts and a baring of souls. We learn about our frailties. Our strengths. The way we handle pressure. The way we manage disappointment. The way we accept defeat. We learn about who we can poke. Where we can prod. When we must be gentle.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl last night. It was a historic victory. An unforgettable football game. A moment of a lifetime.

It was also a night when many of the people who I love most joined in sprit and soul and took one collective step forward into a ever-closing circle of friendship and love.

I know. It's only a game. Except it's so much more.

One person is listening. Perhaps more, but at least one. I'm so pleased.

I was asked by many people on Monday morning about the AFC championship game that I attended on Sunday night. One of the most frequently asked questions was:

"What time did you get home?"

I arrived home on Sunday night around 1:00 AM, but I explained that it was fairly early given the fact that I often arrive home from night games well after 3:00 AM.

Most people have a hard time understanding how I manage this. They also question my sanity when they learn that I will drive to a Moth StorySLAM in Brooklyn, downtown Manhattan, or Boston on a weeknight to maybe tell a five minute story and arrive back home after 1:00 AM.

I have always been a proponent of saying yes when opportunities present themselves, regardless of the sacrifice required.

I am also a proponent of living your life with the perspective of the 100 year old version of yourself.

I know that this advice is good. I know it would make people considerably happier if they followed it. I know that I'm right.

So often, I wonder if anyone is ever listening.

A couple years ago I met a teacher while speaking at her school. Over the past year, she's begun to listen to my advice and take it to heart.

She began by saying yes to taking the stage and telling of a story for Speak Up. This was not an easy thing for her to do, but since then, she's become a Speak Up regular and fan favorite.  

Shortly thereafter, she went to New York and told her first story in a Moth StorySLAM. The next day, she wrote to me about my philosophy of saying yes regardless of the sacrifices required:

"It's the greatest lesson you ever taught me. I'm trying so hard to fight my natural instincts to say no and just say yes. It's annoying how right you always are."

Needless to say I enjoyed that email a lot. 

Last weekend she traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the Woman's March. 

On her way home, she wrote:  

"Learning to live life the Matthew Dicks way. Man, your way is exhausting."

It's true. It can be exhausting. It's not always easy. And it doesn't always work out. Sometimes I drive to Brooklyn for a Moth StorySLAM and never take the stage. Sometimes the Patriots lose a big game, and the long, late night drives home become much more difficult. Sometimes I say yes to something that I must later change to a no when I realize how much I hate it.  

But the willingness to take risks, step outside your comfort zone, brave the elements, forgo sleep, face uncertainty, and suffer possible failure are all superior to a lifetime of regret.

One of the most common regrets expressed by people at the end of their lives, recorded by hospice workers, is this:

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

From Business Insider:

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

The question people didn't ask me about the AFC championship game (but should've asked me) was this:

What will you remember most about the game?

The list is long. Tom Brady's flea flicker, the way Legarrette Blount carried half of the Steelers team to the goal line, and the huge goal line stand by the Patriots defense will always remain in my mind.

But my favorite part?

Midway through the third period, with the Patriots in the lead, Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" began booming through the stadium during a timeout. The entire stadium became to sing. A second later, the big screens showed Jon Bon Jovi in one of Gillette Stadium's luxury suites, singing along with us. The crowd roared. Bon Jovi raised his hands and began conducting the crowd as if we were his orchestra. When the music stopped as the Steelers broke the huddle, 60,000 people continued to sing a cappella, finishing the song as Pittsburgh ran a play. 

It was a joyous moment. One of the happiest moments I've experienced in a stadium where I have watched games for more than a decade.

Had I been sitting on my couch at home, warm and dry instead of wet and cold, I would've missed that moment, and what a tragedy that would have been.

Perhaps others have tried to adopt the "Matthew Dicks way" over the years. Maybe they've listened to me speak or watched my TED Talks and changed the way they approach life. 

At least one person has, and for today at least, that is enough for me. 

Psychology of true friends

My friend Andrew - a golfing fanatic - ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball last week. It's going to be a long road to recovery.

Three months in a walking boot. Eighteen months for a full recovery. 

The next golfing season in serious jeopardy.

My friends and I have a sack of golf balls that we pass from player to player depending upon who has won the last round. Bragging rights of sorts. Andrew currently holds the sack after winning the last round of the last season.

I sent a group text alerting my friends to Andrew's injury.

The first response was a statement of empathy. A question about recovery time.

Andrew provided details and expressed his concern over the upcoming golfing season.

I reminded him that I played golf with a separated shoulder one year and told him to suck it up.

A friend warned him against the hazards of contact sports at his advanced age.

Then we asked about the sack. Demanded it back. Reminded him of the rule that if you miss three rounds of golf, the sack must be returned to the group. Forgot his injury entirely. Moved onto more important things. 

When Andrew attempted to insert a injury clause to the bylaws, we told him we'd just get a new sack. A bigger, better sack.

See that? A momentary expression of empathy for a man who will be suffering through 18 months of pain and rehabilitation and perhaps a loss of the thing he loves most, and then we were ready to stick him on an ice flow and push him out to sea. 

This is what friendship is all about. 

Unfair assumption #29: Football fans are more effective in emergencies

As we left the house last night, our 19 year-old babysitter was settling in to watch the end of the Atlanta Falcons - Seattle Seahawks playoff game.

She'd been watching the first half of the game at home before coming over.   

When I arrived home from the show five hours later, she was sitting in the living room, watching the Patriots - Texans playoff game. She was kind enough to turn the game off as I entered the house so I could watch it on tape delay (after ensuring that her father was recording it at home as well), but still, she was watching intently when I walked in the door.

Just so we are clear: She watched NFL football on her own for almost the entire time that I was gone.

I know it's entirely unfair to assume anything based upon her viewing preferences, but if the house suddenly caught fire, a bear clawed its way into our home, or the Russians invaded our town Red Dawn style, I can't help but think that this 19 year-old woman would handle the situation with ease.

Or at least more competently than the babysitter who spends the evening watching the Kardashians or The Family Feud.  

An unfair assumption to be sure, but it's a gut feeling that I can't help but think is at least a little bit true.  

When I explained my assumption to Elysha, she informed me that our babysitter is also attending Harvard University and is home on break.

Perhaps my gut instincts are more accurate than previously thought. 

The best thing about my wife's family might surprise you (but shouldn't)

There's many things I love about the family that I have married into. 

  • Their absolute acceptance of me despite our many differences
  • Their support and encouragement of my teaching, writing, and performing career 
  • Their unbridled love for my children

There are also some quirky aspects of the family that I have grown to adore.

  • Their insistence of a full account of every one of my medical or proposed medical procedures (and their subsequent demands for a fourth opinion).
  • Their reverence for the morning-after-the-visit breakfast of bagels and locks (necessitating an overnight stay when I could've just as easily driven home the night before).   
  • Their need for gifts to be opened as absolutely soon as possible (once before I even removed my coat).

But the thing that appreciate about them most is perhaps this:

No one in my wife's family has ever proposed that we run a 5K on a holiday.

No Turkey Trots. No Ugly Sweater Runs. No Snowflake Shuffles. No Jingle Bell Jogs. No "Ringing in the New Year" Runs.   

I can't begin to imagine the agony and ruination of the poor soul who marries into a family who thinks that they best way to spend a Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Year's Day morning is to drag their asses to some arbitrary starting line in the freezing cold to run alongside a bunch of equally brain damaged lunatics.

Sometimes it's the little things that matter most. 

I thrive in possibly inappropriately competitive situations.

Next month I will be teaching storytelling at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This will be my second year teaching at Kripalu and I'm already scheduled to teach there in 2017 as well.

The fact that I teach at Kripalu astounds many. Though my students at Kripalu have assured me that my teaching and beliefs closely align to Kripalu's philosophy and mindset, there are also many way in which I do not seem to fit:

I skip their world class meals and pick up burgers and fries and Egg McMuffins at McDonald's instead.

I was told that I "walk aggressively" and swear more than anyone in Kripalu history.

At silent breakfast, it turns out that even when I don't speak, I still make more noise than anyone else in the room.   

Though I take advantage of their sunrise yoga class, I found the whole thing slow, tedious, and devoid of any competitive incentive. 

This has been my problem with yoga:

 No one wins at the end of a class. 

In fact, it's the competitive element of The Moth that probably helped me to initially fall in love with storytelling and eventually turned me into a teacher of the craft. It's always an honor and a thrill to stand on a stage and perform for an audience, but when my performance is assigned a numerical value and there is a chance to win or lose, I tend to enjoy the experience a lot more.

In fact, if given the chance, I think I'd rather compete in a Moth StorySLAM than perform in any other show. Give me a couple hundred New Yorkers crammed into a used bookstore with teams of strangers poised to judge my story over a beautiful, acoustically pristine theater filled with a couple thousand attentive audience members and zero competition.

Crazy. I know. But probably true on most nights. 

This is why I was thrilled to discover the sport of competitive juggling. No longer are jugglers permitted to just stand and entertain. Juggling is now a full contact physical sport, complete with strategy, teamwork, and body-on-body physicality.

Competitive juggling is tough. And there are winners and losers after every match.

See for yourself:

I feel terrible for the Chicago Cubs fans, and for good reason.

I'n happy for the Chicago Cubs. Winning the World Series is an incredible feat. 

I'm less happy for Cub fans.

I know this is easy to say (and perhaps ridiculous) coming from a fan of the New York Yankees, but with the winning of the World Series, the Cubs fans have lost their identity. 

Prior to their World Series victory, the Cubs were a much admired, historically snake bitten franchise that couldn't win a championship. They were cursed. Their curse had a name and a backstory. Despite the 108 years of ineptitude, Cub fans stuck by their team and year after year rooted for the seemingly impossible dream. Cubs fans were admired. Revered. Respected.  

But now their team has won. The curse is broken. Their identity as the most diehard, most faithful, and most downtrodden fans in America is gone. They are now fans of just another team who has won the World Series, and they did it with one of the highest team salaries in baseball.

Higher than the Yankees, in fact. 

They are now just another big budget team who wins championships. 

I know. I'm a Yankees fan. I have not waited 108 years for my team to win a championship. I have no right to argue that the Cubs should continue to lose for generations for the sake of identity.. For me, it's been seven years and counting between championships, though to a Yankees fan, it's starting to feel like 108.

But that's my identity. I'm a fan of a team who pays enormous sums of money in the biggest and brightest city in America in order to win championships at all costs. We are the evil empire, and we have embraced that identity. We're supposed to outspend your team. We're supposed to be loud and obnoxious. You're supposed to hate the Yankees and despise their fans.

We get it. And we love it.

But the Cubs?

They aren't supposed to spend more money than the New York Yankees in order to win a championship. In fact, they beat a team in the bottom third of payroll in the league in order to win their title. They spent more than twice as much on their 25 man roster this year than the Indians.

The Cubs have become this year's version of the New York Yankees.

And while Cubs fans are rightfully celebrating today, I wonder how they will feel in a couple years. I have a handful of friends who are Red Sox diehards who have admitted to me that they loved their team more before they won the World Series. After three big budget World Series victories in ten years and the second highest payroll in baseball this year, they acknowledge that their identity and brand is gone. Their diehard status is no longer diehard. They are now the fans of a team that wins World Series championships every now and then.

They have become average. Just a bunch of ordinary fans of a successful baseball team. They might as well cheer for the Marlins. Or the Blue Jays. Or the Chicago White Sox, who won the championship ten years ago.

Just like that other Chicago team that wins championships.  

Sometimes it's more meaningful and memorable to be the underdog. Sometimes it's better to be perpetually disappointed and relentlessly faithful in the face of adversity than to be occasionally euphoric, especially when everyone else around you is occasionally euphoric.  

I know. This sounds terrible coming from a Yankees fan, but we're supposed to be terrible. 

I wish you the best, Cubs fans. I'm happy for you today, but I suspect that I won't be thinking about you and rooting for you very much in the future.

You're just not that special anymore. 

This is more important than selling shoes and books.

I have a friend who approached me a couple weeks ago and said, "Do you know why Michael Jordan never endorses political candidates? Because Democrats and Republicans both buy shoes."

He went on to say that he was surprised that I was writing so many politically-minded posts when I have books to sell. "Everyone reads," he said. "Democrats and Republicans."

I understood his point. While I always stand on a platform of authenticity and extreme honestly, I have been more politically minded on my blog this year than any other year before, but I explained to my friend that this election cycle is different. These are not two serious-minded, highly qualified people with differing opinions about the direction of our country. Donald Trump is the first candidate in my lifetime who was not fit to hold the office of President (or any position in government). If I did not speak out against this ignorant, racist, misogynist in order to sell a few more books, I couldn't live with myself. 

This is why I am so disappointed in Tom Brady, who was asked by a reporter yesterday how he would respond if his children heard Donald Trump's version of "locker room talk."

Brady thanked the reporters and stepped away, dodging the question completely. 

My hope is that Brady refused to answer the question because it required him to speak about his children, and he often avoids questions related to his family. Perhaps today a reporter will simply ask, "What did you think of Donald Trump's version of locker room talk?" and he will answer.

I hope so. But I also know that Brady and Trump have been friendly over the years. My fear is that he dodged the question because of their previous and perhaps ongoing relationship.  

I hope not. I love Tom Brady and expect a hell of a lot more from him. 

I wish more athletes would speak out against Trump's attempt to excuse his claims of sexual assault as "locker room talk." I wish every athlete in the world would. 

I realize that they all have shoes to sell and games to win and fans to appease, but there are times in life when you must stop caring about the dollar and start caring about this country.
About the perception of how men behave in private.
About the way we want our sons to speak about girls and women.
About what constitutes sexual assault.

Confessions of a Patriots Season Ticket Holder: Seasons Fall 2016

My latest humor column in the fall edition of Seasons magazine published this weekend. You can read it online here if you're not lucky enough to receive home delivery.

Scroll to the back page of the magazine.

Very apropos subject as Tom Brady returns to the field today to take on the Cleveland Browns.

For the first time in one of these humor columns, my friends Matt and Tony make an appearance.

I'm sure they're thrilled.

It's true. I hate strangers because of what they love most.

I'm a reluctant atheist (I wish I had faith in a higher power but haven't managed to find it yet), but I can certainly get behind the belief that hate is never a good thing and should be avoided whenever possible.

I also agree with this church sign when it comes to football season. Football makes it very hard to avoid hate.

Particularly when dealing with the fans of the Jets, Ravens, and any team coached by Rex Ryan.

Today I'll be watching the Patriots battle the Buffalo Bills, a team coached by Rex Ryan. I'll try not to say anything too terrible.

Twenty-five years spent standing in a parking lot

I'll be tailgating in the parking lot at the Patriots game on Sunday. I have seen many things in the decades I have spent tailgating at Gillette Stadium.

Public intoxication. Nudity. Fist fights. Fender benders. Lobster shell distance throws. A Christmas tree labeled "Trebow" that was set afire and nearly burned several dummies to death in the process. 

I've bribed parking attendants. Trudged through snow up to my waist. Sent a soon-to-be-exgirlfriend back to the car at halftime when she could no longer endure the freezing rain and demanded to be brought home. Pushed my pregnant wife up the ramps to our seats with the help of my friend, Shep.   

Even after a quarter century of attending New England Patriots football games, I still see things while tailgating that surprise me.

Like this: 

A comfortable place to sit prior to the game and perhaps an efficient way to get rid of an old piece of furniture at the same time. 

Killing two birds and such.

Policing the national anthem makes you a self-righteous jerk

This isn't a post about the athletes who are kneeling or sitting during the singing of the national anthem. When it comes to that particular form of protest, I would personally prefer that they find a different way to draw attention to a very important issue, but I also recognize and respect their right to protest in the way they choose. 

No, this is about the jackass who was four rows behind me at the Patriots game on Sunday and all the jackasses like him who I have seen and listened to over the years. As the national anthem began to play, this man began shouting at several fans in the seats below us who had forgotten to remove their caps, ordering them to do so in a harsh, arrogant, and unforgiving fashion. 

During the singing of the anthem, mind you.

Most of these fans sheepishly removed their caps, some motioning apologies to the jackass for their mistake, but one man left his hat atop his head. Instead of removing it, he slowly turned and smiled at the jackass behind me, who was still shouting even though the world famous opera singer who was singing the anthem was at least 16 bars into the song by now. 

I don't think the smiling man's refusal to remove his cap was a genuine protest. I don't think he decided to leave his cap on during the singing of the national anthem to make a statement.

I think he just forgot to take it off.  

I also suspect that he was annoyed by the jackass a dozen rows up who had declared himself to be the cap police. I suspect that he - like me - thought that the decision to interrupt the national anthem by barking out orders was more disrespectful to our nation's flag than any failure to remove a head covering. 

I admired the smiling man who chose to leave his hat on. I loved that guy. His was not a protest against police violence or racial disparity or economic inequality. His was a protest against the idea that the guy with the loudest voice and the thickest neck gets to tell anyone what to do, regardless of location or circumstances. His was a protest against the idea that conformity cannot be dictated by some self-righteous, self-assigned arbiter of what is right and wrong.

That smiling man's decision to leave his cap on his head and grin at the jackass was both courageous and admirable. In almost every other circumstance, I would have preferred for the smiling man to remove his cap. But when faced with a barking jackass who thinks he can dictate the behavior of others through volume and aggression, I think he did the right thing. 

Honestly, I almost put my cap back on. Had I been farther away from the jackass and slightly more courageous, I might have done exactly that.

Respect for the nation's flag means removing your cap during the national anthem, but it also means shutting the hell up while the anthem is being sung and allowing people to leave their caps on if they so choose.

There's nothing more enjoyable than watching a beefy, loud-mouthed jerk be neutered by a hat and a smile.     

Country club dress codes treat adults like children, and yet adults continue to be members of country clubs. I don't get it.

My friend's country club does not allow denim to be worn after May 1. 

Women are allowed to wear shirts without sleeves but only if they are also wearing a collar. 

Men must wear collared shirts, and their shirts must be tucked in at all times. 

These are just a few of the ridiculous rules imposed on members of this country club, which leads me to ask:

Why?

Why can women wear denim on April 30 but not on May 1?

To what purpose does it serve to require men to tuck in their shirts?

Don't the people who established and enforce these rules understand how elitist, sexist, and arbitrary they make their country club appear? Are they blind to the snobbery and exclusivity that they are promoting?

But more importantly:

Why would anyone who is paying thousands of dollars per year to belong to a country club allow themselves to be subjected to dress codes that infantilize their choice over how they present themselves to the world?

Why would someone subject themselves to this kind of treatment?

There are very few times in life when we allow someone to dictate what we wear without paying us for our time:

  • When we are children
  • When we allow our significant other to determine what is appropriate for a specific occasion
  • When we're asked to serve as a bridesmaid or groomsman, pall bearer, or the like 
  • When we join a country club, and when we visit establishments like fancy restaurants that are closely akin to country clubs in terms of their elitism and snobbery

That might be it. These might be the only times when someone requires us to dress a certain way without paying us for that privilege. 

And in only one of these instances are people actually paying large sums of money in order to be told what to wear.

I have always felt that when you allow someone to tell you what to wear without compensation of any kind, you're allowing yourself to be treated like a child. You're allowing someone else to assume the role of Mommy and Daddy. It's one of the reasons why I bristle at every attempt to control my clothing choices in any way.

If you're not paying me, don't even think about telling me what I should wear. 

I also think (as you may already know) that this inane, materialistic, unnecessary focus on clothing and the condescending determination by others about what fashion choices are appropriate are things that should have been left behind in junior high school. 

I think this would be the case if not for a special breed of elitist jackass who thinks they they have the right to tell some that it's not appropriate to wear denim in the summer or that a man must play golf with his shirt tucked in.

You know the type. Just imagine the worst person you knew in high school. The one who wore the most stylish clothing and made fun of those who didn't.

They exist, even in adult form. 

I know these dress codes exist in many, many places. I know that they are commonplace in almost every country club in the world. But I also think that they are the direct result of a a lot of elitist jackasses who are hell-bent on ensuring that their kind of people don't accidentally become confused with any other kind of people. These dress codes serve to denote and separate the members of these country clubs from the heathens outside their pristine walls. They seek to elevate the image of the club and its members above the kind of thing you might see at a less-than-classy public golf course or a less-than-exclusive restaurant. 

I think that these things are decidedly less-than-noble goals, and they come at the expense of personal choice and treating adults like adults.  

The members of my friend's country club (and all country clubs) are adults. Hard working, well respected men and women who pay large fees in order to be members of this institution. They are all presumably successful people by any standard. Yet they allow their physical appearance to be dictated by who?

  • The anal-retentive snobs who run the place?
  • A conservative, stick-up-their-ass rules committee? 
  • The members themselves, who cast sidelong glances at the ladies who dare to wear denim, gossip about men when their shirts come untucked, and turn in their fellow members to whatever parental-like standards squad who is charged with enforcing this nonsense?

I know that most if not all country clubs have dress codes. My friend's country club is not alone in its buffoonery. I have played golf at some of these clubs and conformed to the dress code because a friend has invited me and I choose to respect my friend's wishes and their standing in their club.  

But I think these dress codes are almost always stupid. As adults, we are supposed to be able to wear whatever the hell we want. While I understand a country club requiring members to wear something, the banning of denim or the tucking requirement are examples of a system gone amok.

It's also a system predicated entirely on sexism and gender inequality.  

When women can wear a sleeveless shirt, for example, and a man cannot, the ridiculous double standards and sexist attitudes of the past are proven to be surprisingly alive and well in some corners of the world. 

But even more baffling and disturbing to me is the contingent of people who want to be members of an exclusive country club badly enough to allow nameless, faceless, elitist strangers to tell them what to wear based upon the day of the year and the genitals that they happen to be equipped with at the moment.

Is there no attempt at rebellion?
No effort to force a rule change?
No declaration that "I'm an adult, damn it, and I will wear whatever I want, whenever I want!"

Maybe you're a guy who likes his shirt tucked in at all times, so the rule isn't a problem for you.

Maybe you're a woman who despises denim. 

But still, even if you happen to conform to every inane dress code rule out of personal preference, doesn't it enrage you to think that someone is taking your money and telling you what to wear?

It would enrage me.
Every day I would be enraged.

I am not at the point in life when I can afford a membership to a country club. Perhaps someday I'll be able to, and being a golfer, I think I'd enjoy a membership a great deal. But when and if that day comes, I will be faced with a Devil's bargain, as so many have undoubtedly been before me:

Become a member and dress as I am told. Dress in ways that I do not like. Allow elitism, snobbery, and buffoonery into my life.

I love golf. Truly. And I have always enjoyed the time I have been able to spend at my friend's country clubs. I would like to be a member, but when push comes to shove, I don't think I could do it. 

I'm an adult. When I play golf or sit by the pool or eat lunch on a terrace, I will wear whatever I damn well please, and if that does not conform to the expectations of the elitist, snobbish club officials, to hell with them. 

I'll continue to play with the riff-raff on public courses and swim in public pools, and I will like it. 

7 much-needed rules for golf according to me (which makes them absolutely correct)

Putt every putt. If the six inch putt is a forgone conclusion, then just putt the damn thing. Conceding putts only serves to assist the players who can't putt or those who suffer from the yips while marginalizing the advantage of players who excel under pressure. 

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Every golfer should have a system for not forgetting their wedge by the green. If you forget your wedge more than once during a single round of golf, you must forfeit ownership of the club to a fellow player for one calendar year.  

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Handicaps are fine for determining tournament seeding and groupings, but they should never be used in actual competition. No other sport artificially adjusts the score to accommodate for a lack of skill. Also, claiming victory over your opponent thanks to the advantage of a handicap is pathetic and shameful. You honestly shouldn't be allowed to play golf ever again.  

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Every golfer should be allowed to chop down one tree in his or her life without penalty. This must be done with an axe. Chainsaws are too easy, and nothing about golf should ever be easy.  

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Players who roll their balls out of divots are breaking the rules, regardless of weather or season. These players are also fancy-pants golfers who require the ground to be pristine in order to swing, which is lame and stupid. Hit the damn ball where it lies. That is the essence of golf. 

As an alternative, go play mini golf. There are no divots amongst the windmills and water features of a mini golf course, and you can usually get an ice cream cone after the round.

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Dress codes are nonsense and should be eliminated entirely. They serve no useful purpose and only cause golfers to be perceived as elitist jackasses. Dress codes are also nonexistent at many public golf courses, so don't allow your pretentious friends to bully you into colored shirts and plaid pants when playing these courses. Wear whatever the hell you want. You're an adult, goddamn it. 

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No mulligans. Ever. There is nothing uglier and more idiotic on a golf course than a golfer taking a mulligan. 

Why I think professional wrestling is stupid

My friends who watch professional wrestling have long argued that watching a fake sporting event is no different than watching a fictional television show like Breaking Bad or Mad Men. 

And it's true. As long as they are willing to acknowledge that all professional wrestling is staged for the sake of the storylines being written behind the scenes. this argument seemed to make sense to me.

Logically, it passed muster. 

Still, I couldn't help but think that professional wrestling was stupid. More stupid than even the worst scripted television program. But I couldn't put my finger on exactly why.

At last I have found the reason. 

The difference between professional wrestling and a show like Breaking Bad is that Breaking Bad doesn't pretend to exist in our world. It is a clearly taking place in a fictionalized world, even if that world closely resembles our own. We know that the locations in the show do not exist as we see them on the screen. We know that the show is probably filmed in a place other than where the characters claim to be. Fans of the show don't drive to New Mexico hoping to see Walt and Jesse cooking up meth in the desert. There is no implication that the characters or settings or events in the television show are taking place in the world in which we live.

Professional wrestling is very different. It is a fake sport that exists in our real world. Wrestlers want you to think that they are real and that their sport is real. Wrestlers never break character, even after the match is long over. You can go to a professional wrestling match and watch these actors pretend to compete. If you're a fan, you'll likely cheer on your favorite wrestler. Stand up. Shout. Pump a fist or two. I would argue that it's also likely that many of the fans will unknowingly suspend their disbelief at times, cheering their favorite wrestlers as if the competition was real. Fans of wrestling treat an admittedly fake show as if it's real by playing a significant role in the staging of the match.

They are a part of the show.

Imagine if Breaking Bad was shot before a live studio audience. 

No one would be cheering their favorite character. No one would ever think of Walter White as a real person.

The camera would never pan over the studio audience. Even if it was a comedy that was clearly being filmed before a live studio audience - an audience you could hear laughing - the camera would never pan over that audience. The fourth wall would never be broken. 

That would be insane.

Seeing the studio audience would break the fictional world of the show. It would somehow bring the characters into our world and turn them into actors instead of the people who we know and love. 

This is the difference between watching a fictional television show and professional wrestling. 

Fictional television creates world in which its characters operate.

Professional wrestling uses our real world to stage fiction that is often misconstrued as real. 

This is why I this it's stupid. 

Also, it's inherently a fairly stupid form of entertainment.