My father-in-law’s birthday usually falls around the Masters, so it has become a bit of a tradition that we are all at my in-laws’ house on Masters weekend. We generally celebrate golf’s greatest major by eating too much cake, drinking too much beer, watching baseball and golf, and having "sports" conversations like the following:
Mary Liz (my wife): (As Angel Cabrera makes his winning par during the playoff holes.) So, do they all place their orders before they tee off, and then the winner gets his dinner?
Me: (reacting as if I just took an Ali jab straight to the head) Wha?
Mary Liz: You know, the dinner. Do they place the order and now they are making the dinner?
Don: (brother-in-law) You mean the winner’s dinner. That’s next year.
Mary Liz: Oh, they eat it next year?
Don: Yeah, it’s the Champions’ Dinner. The winner from the year before gets to choose the food.
(Then we have a lengthy conversation about how we know this because of the Tiger Woods/Fuzzy Zoeller flap a few years ago. Then . . . )
Mary Liz: I wonder what they will have next year for dinner.
Me: (Taking the bait.) Probably Argentinean food. Cabrera’s from Argentina.
Mary Liz: What is that? What kind of food is Argentinean?
Don: Maybe steaks. Churasco? Is that from Argentina?
Me: [shaking my head back and forth slowly]
Mary’s Mom: Plantains? That’s South American. I bet they have plantains.
Me: [Hiding my head in my hands.]
Mary Liz: Hmmm. Will that be on the internet? Will we be able to look at the menu? I'd like to see that.
Me: [banging my head against the coffee table.]
Mary Liz: (As Cabrera is presented with his green jacket.) Do they all wear the little green jackets at the dinner? I bet that looks odd, all those guys in their green jackets. Like a fraternity.
Me: [Sticking a fork in my eye.]
Mary Liz: So do they have a tailor on the premises or do they just get a jacket off the rack when they win the tournament? Is there a big closet with a bunch of green jackets in different sizes? His jacket looks a little big. Doesn't his jacket look big?
Mary's Mom: That jacket is a little big.
Me: [Head explodes.]
Angel Cabrera gets his "fitted" green jacket and wonders "What's for dinner?" 2.5 seconds before Chris’ head explodes.
If you think this is an isolated incident, here is a story I was telling people last year during the Ryder Cup team event. As always, 90 percent of this is actually true.
Last September the Americans won the Ryder Cup golf team event, beating the Europeans 16½-11½. I saw the end of the matches with Mary while perched on a bar stool in the Irish Oak, drinking a Guiness. Here is the “sports” conversation we had during those matches:
Mary Liz: So, who do you think picks the shirts?
Me: The shirts?
Mary Liz: The shirts they wear. The guys on the teams are all wearing the same golfing shirt.
Me: (Taking the bait.) I don’t know who picks the “golfing” shirts. The captain, maybe? A committee?
Mary Liz: (Thinking for a moment.) I bet it’s the wives.
Me: The wives?
Mary Liz: I like the Europeans’ shirts better. Their wives have a better fashion sense.
Me: [Pounding my head on the bar.]
Mary Liz: And they are wearing white belts. I like the white belts. They’re fun.
Me: [Sticking toothpick in my eye.]
Mary Liz: I wonder what color their socks are. I wish they would show the socks.
Me: [Setting myself on fire.]
The wives of the 2008 European Ryder Cup Team displaying their fashion sense. Mary would like to know, "Where do they shop for their sunglasses?"