Golf jokes: Heard the one about the Baptist minister and his wife?
Golf is a funny sport, but most of the time, not funny ha-ha. Most golf jokes are bad and bordering on schlocky, corny or worse. Once in a while, you hear a good one. For some reason, this memory came back to me today.
About eight years ago, I was in North Carolina with my wife and kids on a vacation with her extended family—dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, the whole deal. There were about 20 of us or so in this big house on the beach, and while that’s a great vacation, my brother-in-law Dwight and I scooted out at least three times during the week for 18 holes. Family time is good, but hey, it’s a chance to play golf.
Dwight and I made our way down to this little semi-private club near our rental house, and though I can’t remember the name, I remember that it was short with scrubby pines all over with a mix of houses and trailers around the outside of the layout. By the way, what the hell is semi-private? Sounds like semi-pregnant to me. You either are or you are not. There’s no in-between. Anyway, we show up a little later in the afternoon so it’s not so hot you can fry eggs on the head of your driver, and because it’s a Wednesday, we figured we didn’t need a tee time. We were right. But as we were leaving the pro shop to load our clubs on the cart, the starter came over and asked if we’d mind if they paired us with another twosome, but he seemed troubled about the prospect.
We assured him that it would be fine. You’ve seen this starter a thousand times before, all over America. He’s about 75, short, a little stooped over but spry. He’s sporting a ball cap with a green polyester front reading John Deere, a pancake flat brim and green mesh around the back, and the hat perches on his head like some flightless bird always anticipating its chance to take off once again. He’s got some Pall Malls in his shirt pocket and golf shoes with spats that were totally sweet in 1958 when Arnie won the Masters. So he takes us aside, hush-hush, and says, “Now I understand if you two don’t want us to pair you up with the two I got in mind. It’s a Baptist minister and his wife, and I know a lot of fellers who don’t like to play with women.”
Dwight is the kind of dude who wouldn’t say crap if he had a mouthful. But I know him well enough to read his eyes, and he was stifling a laugh. Now, if you were there outside this little low-slung clubhouse bordering on a fetid green pond, you wouldn’t have known if Dwight was awake. But I knew he wanted me to say something.
I pounced, my mouth flapping before my brain engaged. I’d had a few beers on the car ride there so I was entering the “T.R. the Comedian” stage of inebriation. “Oh, no sir, we don’t mind playing with a woman. It’s the preacher who would bother me.”
I didn’t really mean it. We would have played with them. I’m sure they were a fine couple. But he let us go out as a twosome.
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