Yeah, but what is that in golf years?

So, let’s just get to it. I’m getting old. I’ll be 55 years old this August. (August 20th to be exact. Venmo and PayPal info available upon request.) I’ve never felt old before. I kinda don’t now. I mean shit hurts. Joints mostly. But they never hurt while I’m doing the thing that will make them hurt later. I can still walk 18 and play tennis with the kid. It’s only after that the shoulders/arms and legs/knees don’t want to move on command.

I guess that’s literally getting old, but I never thought of those things as getting old. How can I be getting old; I still have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old. Fart jokes make me laugh hysterically, and don’t cause me to fart myself while I’m laughing. That’s a pretty decent litmus test in my opinion. Yet somehow, I am getting old.

It’s at this point I feel the need to mention the fact that I am the 2nd youngest of 8 siblings. Not sure if they still read since I haven’t written anything since September of last year. If they do see this, there is no doubt they will take issue with the fact I’m calling myself old since they are all older than me. And they’d probably be justified in their issue taking. I found out the other day age and time are all up for grabs. It’s an individual thing.

I promise I will not use that stupid, tired, cliche Age is just a number. Don’t even get me started with that crap.

See, see! Right there. Old me, (meaning younger me, this is so confusing), would have eviscerated someone for using such a lazy cliche. Instead, I just let it go now, because, well, I’m old and too tired to point out the stupidity of a thing anymore. Eh it happens.

I still don’t get bothered by snot nosed whipper snappers calling me sir. Sort of like it if I’m being honest. What has put the bee in my bonnet so to speak is the golf course.

Yes, yes I know it. Hard to believe. But it’s true. The bone I have to pick is with the thing I enjoy almost more than anything. And it’s worse than that. It’s going to my kid’s golf matches that got this whole screed rolling.

This was Frank at the dawn of his golf career.

That’s Frank. He was 4 going on 5 when that pic was taken. Tiger Wood’s social media people used that pic on the front of the TW Facebook page before the start to Wood’s season in 2015. Proud moment and all that. The point is I was still youngish then. Cool dad no doubt. I was still six months away from going back to work and losing my stay-at-home dad title. Good times man, good times.

I bring that up to brag and to make this point. That kid in the pic, with a buttery smooth swing; albeit left-handed, has grown up. Still golfs left-handed. That’s a shame for another blog post.

But it hit me the other day at his latest golf match. He’s currently playing for his middle school golf team, and I was walking the course watching him play. It wasn’t a bolt of lightning type thing, but something occurred to me while I watched him out there playing and managing his game on his own, in the middle of a competition no less.

That’s his middle school squad. Frank is in the long gray pants. Why would you smile like that wearing long pants?

By the rules of these type things, I can’t coach or give advice. Only assist with finding a lost ball. I would absolutely cheat the system and try to cheekily whisper stuff to him, but he has too much of my mother in him. That means 2 things. One, he’s a rule follower. And two, and most important, his hearing and the ability to have quiet conversation sucks. In other words, anything I say to him will be met with a response of WHAT DID YOU SAY DAD? at the top of his lungs and I’d be outed as a cheat.

But you know what else occurred to me? Rules or no, I can’t tell him anything anymore anyway. He’s about to be 13. What that means so far is this; on the golf course, he’s starting to figure it out all on his own.

And damn it if the kid didn’t out drive me on the par 4 8th at Dead Horse Lake, our local, during a practice round. I thought he must have caught the cart path or a sprinkler head. So, I did what any proud, self-respecting, dad would do. Oh bullshit Frank, here tee up another one and do that again.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happened the second time. I leveled the field a bit on the way to the next hole though. I made him drive the cart up to the tee box and I walked under the pretense I needed to stretch out my back. Thank god there was no lake or pond between the 8th green and 9th tee box, cause that cart would have been a submarine with no sides, and he would not have found Nemo.

Bro, the bones may hurt, but the neurons still fire.

But at the actual match the next week I was hoisted by my own Pitard as it were.

Walking to the club house from the parking lot to get some water, I passed by the golf cart washing garage. The kid, and I mean kid, doing the duty pushed some stuff off the seat of the cart he was cleaning and offered me a ride to the club house. It was 20 yards away. I stopped and stared at this kid unable to form words.

Then I did.

No man I’m good.

You sure sir. It will be no problem.

It’s right there man. I’m good.

It’ll be no problem to give you a ride the rest of the way sir.

The rest of the w… Is the club house going to keep getting further away? Is it on wheels and about to drive off?

No sir.

Yeah then I’m good.


No sir on that last one. That OK was dripping with old man condescension. Like, Ok you old bastard, die on your way there see if I care. type condescension.

I mean how feeble must have I looked to that kid? I felt like I was walking with my normal brisk pace. And yet he seemed almost positive I was not going to make the last 20 yards! And before any of you country club set chime in, this is not a place where tips are a thing. It’s a public course and the kid was not shilling for a few bucks. So I’m not exactly sure what was in it for him, other than to shame an old man. Who knows.

I did let it affect me though as I turned down the spectator cart offered up to parents. It’s a nice touch but screw that. I was walking that course. Even if it was my last walk ever.

Between me and you it is actually harder to walk a golf course when you’re not playing. Lot more standing around. That is less than optimal for the old joints and such. I didn’t care. I’ll free base some Advil when I get home. Screw that kid.

Anyway, here is the kid, my kid. At the ripe age of 12 about to be 13 in mid-May. His swing is decent although not as fluid when he was 4. But who amongst us…?

Couldn’t get the clip to play so you get a still shot.

Solid move there. Head stays down an outrageous amount of time after impact. That’s a big key, and one it took me forever to figure out. He’s old school, doesn’t like using a glove, wears long pants, and goes hat/visorless. He’s only wearing a hat here because he couldn’t get his hair out of Art Garfunkel mode. Google it.

So yeah, Frank has been golfing in some form or fashion for about 8 years now.

Apparently, I’ve been aging during that time.

Who knew?

You’re throwing out my best work!

I knew it would catch up to me sometime. Honestly I thought it would be him to catch me and not her. She just seemed so indifferent about it all anyway. I really didn’t think she’d care. She never showed much interest at all as far as I could tell. So her reaction was a little surprising.

No matter. The deed was done and I was caught red handed. Not much to say at this point. Her reaction is really the least of the concerns. It’s a trust issue now. The sideways glances and the constant wondering will be my punishment.

Funny really, it’s been going on for some time, a few years at least. But it’s the same old story. I got complacent, got lazy, too comfortable. Let my guard down and I got busted plain and simple. Obviously the relationship will never be the same. My only hope is she’s not damaged from this.

I can tell you it will be a moment I will never forget. The sadness on her face, the slumped shoulders and that phrase that keeps replaying in my mind over and over and over again. “Daddy! You’re throwing out my best work!”

I’m not sure what was worse, the tears welling up in her eyes as if to say How could you do that? Or her feeble attempt to rescue some of her work from the trash, clutching it like a strung out former Disney artist trying to get past the gate guard with some sketches she did on a cocktail napkin, hoping for one last shot.


This one is safe!

Yeah I’m not proud of throwing out her completed school work. And I owe an apology to her teacher Mrs Givens and her pre-school teachers. They put in the work to get AM to this point. But really, if I’m being honest, I’m more disappointed I got caught.

You know it’s really just a pragmatic thing. Where the hell are we supposed to store every macaroni art or penmanship paper with upper and lower case Ks written on them? Well? Where do you keep it all? You know you’re glad it was me and not you. You all are secretly agreeing with me as you publicly judge.

Look it’s not like she’s dropping the first act of Othello or something. She had to pick four words that started with the letter K and then draw each word. One of the words she picked was Kind. Kind! I asked her how in the world was she was going to draw Kind. Well, screw me cause she did it. And it was good. So yeah it was a great effort, and vitally important to her development. But lets not get crazy, they aren’t clearing room on the roof of the Sistine Chapel for it.

But for the next few days, after she came home from school, she glanced in the kitchen trash can before putting up her backpack. I know it’s not funny but it made me laugh for some reason. Yeah, I’m a chooch. That ain’t exactly breaking news.

So now I burn them in the fire pit.

Haha just kidding. No really, now we have storage boxes, unused, pure as the driven snow, kept as secure as any repository could be, to preserve her works of art and penmanship. I’m now reformed and a new mission has risen from the trash heap as it were.



When we move from this house or I go to the eternal dirt nap that comes for us all, very large trucks will deliver all the boxes that will have kept me from having my own man cave. In my dream, the trucks drive in formation while some weird old time show tune plays in the background.

They pull up to wherever Anne Marie is living, preferably a 3rd floor walk up in Manhattan. The drivers, festooned in the garb of their profession, will move quickly and quietly in perfect unison, much like the Marine Corp Silent Drill Team.

And if there is a God in heaven, the first boxes will break the plane of Anne Marie’s apartment threshold just as her five year old is blasting her for 86ing that newly created Rembrandt, crafted on finger paint day.

The first box will have a note on top that will simply read, “AM: This is why.” And in that moment, as box after box parades into her living space to the back hallway between the kitchen and the guest can, a revelation. A true moment of self reflection in which my little Anne Marie, all grown up with Anne Marie’s of her own, will say the same thing I say now about my old man: The older I get the smarter he gets.

Twas ever thus.


“I want to be called Francis”

So we’ve entered a phase. It might be our first one come to think of it. I’m not sure what to name it, or if it even has a name. I do know I need to be recording Frank every second of the day right now. Some of the stuff coming out of his mouth is just unbelievable.

He’s been making a lot of declarations about what he will and will no longer be doing. Hard to explain so here’s the first example.

When we go to The Kroger, the bakery usually has a bin of free cookies out. Our routine is simple, we go for the cookies when we start our final run on the back wall in the dairy section. That takes us past the eggs, butter, cheese and sends us right into the meats and then the bakery. The on to the hippie section (read: organic) for the milk and veggies and then to the check out. By then he’s done the cookie and he gets to work putting the cart stuff on the belt.

So the other day we roll up on paper towel aisle, our last dry goods stop before we bank hard right to dairy, and I realize he has not mentioned the cookies once. Normally he’ll make my ears bleed about how close we’re getting to the cookies. A little running commentary about our cookie proximity that would make a normal man throw himself into on coming traffic. But I’ve become more powerful since Anne Marie has made the scene, so I can repel his annoying. But the silence, the silence about the cookie is now front and center in my head. If Obi Wan Kenobi were here he’d call me a weak minded fool. What’s his angle? Is he gonna work me for ice cream instead? This boy plottin on me somehow someway.

We get to the bakery and the moment of truth has arrived. I reach for his allotment and out it comes. “I will not be having Kroger cookies anymore.” Uh wut? ” I don’t need them daddy.” No one needs cookies Frank. Cookies are never about need. Cookies, much like the pumpkin spice doughnuts that come out at Thanksgiving, are all about want. “Well I don’t want it daddy.” Well OK then Frank, but I’m having one.

The problem was I had already picked up two. Then I remembered the hobos grab three or four and sometime drop one back in. So I dropped one back in the bin. Problem solved. Tip for you Kroger shoppers, never take the weekend cookies. Only the weekday cookies are generally untouched. You’re welcome.

About a day later the big enchilada dropped.

I was summoned to the bedroom where my oldest child was sitting in a very serious manner with a very serious look on his face. His mother had a rye smile. I was entering a mine field of which there would be no safe passage. Well no point in tap dancing. Let’s get to it. “What’s up Frank?”

“I don’t want to be called Frank anymore.”

Oh shit. My first thought was he’s on some kind of cosmic self awareness journey. He’s been acting strange. He’s on some minimalist bent. No cookies at The Kroger, wouldn’t pick any toys from the toy store after a bit of a harrowing doc appointment because he said “I don’t need it.” and now a name change. My hope was we wouldn’t have to call him moon unit or just some sort of crazy symbol. Then I thought maybe he wants to go by Oso or Lambie or Rocket or Deputy Peck or some other character from Disney Jr.

“I want to be called Francis.”


Turned five - went bonkers. Note the minimalist cake.

Turned five – went bonkers. Note the minimalist cake.

Well that is his legal name. The first born male in an Italian family is named for his grandfather. My grandfather’s name was James so my oldest brother’s name is James. My dad’s name is Francis and goes by Frank, so my son’s name is Francis and we call him Frank. This wold not be a big shift to call him Francis. Or so I thought.

I tried it out a few times. It felt weird. Now I’m thinking he’ll get over it before bedtime so just go with it. “OK Frank, it’s your name and you…” “It’s Francis.” “What?” “It’s Francis daddy, you called me Frank.” “Sorry bud OK, Francis. Like I said, it’s your name and you have the right to be called by your name. Francis it is!”

He seemed happy.

Mrs Frank’s Place on the other hand…

There is a reason we call him Frank. Tracy doesn’t like the name Francis very much. It happens to be my name and I go by that. I’m not Frank or Franny or Michael, my middle name, I have always gone by Francis. So while Tracy was assaulting my entire heritage, Frank or Francis, was happy with his name change. No idea what’s spawning all this but we were both hoping he’d get over it after a few minutes.

Took two days. He corrected us every time we called him Frank for the next two days. Then it went the way of the Dodo.

He’s back to Frank. For now.

If you see him in the next few months and he’s wearing Jedi robes and goes by the name Knarf O’dranil, remember you’ve been warned.