Eventually, I’m going to retire from my current role as a quiet player in backroom diplomatic negotiations that foster world peace, and when I do I’m going to open a shop called “Pat’s Bike and Brew.” I’ve always wanted to open a shop that combines two of the things I most love in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours. This will be a place where you can get your bike serviced, purchase tools and parts, and get maintenance advice. Or just shoot the breeze over a couple of Belgian golden ales, brewed right there on site. Needless to say, I’ll brew the beer. It’s not like I don’t have significant experience with it.
It’s just occurring to me, and probably already occurred to you, that authorities may not be so pleased with a bike shop serving beer. Can you imagine a car dealership serving beer to patrons while they wait for their alternator to be replaced? I’m sure you can, and so can lawyers who have made a career out of suing car dealers.
So I have a better idea: “Pat’s Watch and Clock. And Beer.” As a person with many watches and clocks, several of which don’t work, I’m just the right person to show enthusiasm for your love of old mechanical timepieces, which are easily outperformed by cheap plastic devices with Disney characters on their faces. As we talk about the beauty of grandpa’s old Illinois Regulator watch and all its little gears and springs and jewels, we can uncork a couple of Abbey Ales. Just don’t spill any droplets into the movement, because my Abbey Ales have a fair bit of unfermentable sugars in them and will make a sticky mess of grandpa’s precious pocket watch.
With this in mind, it may be best to go with “Pat’s Radio Repair, and Good Beer.” I like old radios, especially when you can find a baseball game on them. And I like good beer when I’m listening to baseball. In my radio repair shop, you can bring in an old Telefunken tube radio that used to play The Shadow in the 1940s. I will find the offending dead tube and get a replacement from an online supplier that has purchased the whole world’s remaining supply of radio tubes. And then you and I toast me with a glass or two of my dry-hopped Hefeweizen while listening to the staticy a.m. signal, until you, as a lightweight, get drunk on my beer and pissed off that the radio only plays “traffic on the 3s” and foreign language radio programs instead of The Lone Ranger. And then you throw the radio across the room, smashing it to bits.
Maybe I’ll just open a beer tasting room instead.
If I were a golf course, I’d want to be George Wright, a course so deeply wedged into Hyde Park’s confusing maze of streets that people anywhere outside a two-mile radius would have no clue how to find me. Because I’m the kind of golf course that needs people to care about me before I allow them to go chopping off chunks of my grassy skin with their clubs. You can’t just stumble upon me and start poking me full of tee holes. I’m old fashioned that way.
Despite the fact that I live within a two-mile radius of George Wright, I don’t get there very often. I’m usually busy during daylight hours making great strides in extending the lives of humans and solving the world’s intractable problems, and it’s hard to golf at night. But with steady rain in the forecast, I knew the ruffians who normally prowl the links with their clubs would fear the moisture and go into hiding, and maybe I should take advantage. My Pop-Warner football coaches used to say, “What are ya, made of sugar? You melt in the rain?” No. But most people would prefer to be dry.
Still, there’s nothing like rain to keep your golf course free of people. Not that I don’t like people. But, to tell you the truth, I’d much rather they stay off of my golf course.
This makes it sound like I have a golf course. Au Contrare. Despite my excellent breeding, I don’t “have” a golf course of my own, except on those occasions when it’s raining hard enough that no one else is on the local public course, which makes it look like “my” course.
On this recent rainy visit to George Wright, I felt like some kind of intergalactic traveler, landing on an out-of-the-way golf planet that was largely undiscovered. When I tell you that I saw no other golfers, I don’t mean that I saw just a golfer here or there: I mean I saw 4 people total, and all of them were groundskeepers. This allowed me to play as many balls as I liked on any given hole, which is a treat when you tend to fly as many balls into the leafy woods as I do. I feel it’s always best to ignore those errant balls and drop another. And then another. And then a fourth.
Those are the ground rules on my golf planet, and no special visa is required to be admitted. All you need to do is figure out how to get here.