This was written by Peter on caringbridge.org website while was going through diagnosis, evaluation and treatment for cancer. He had a knack for noticing and capturing in written form the humorous things in his every day life. Note I said, “his”, as I think some of us might have tried to solve the loose golf ball situation at some point.
You may want to have some tissue handy as this story has caused many to cry from laughter.
Since I golf quite a bit, I tend to have loose golf balls in the backseat of my vehicle which is a crew cab truck.. Actually there are quite a few as I am somewhat lax about corralling them from rolling around. Doesn’t bother me, but the neatniks tend to throw their hands up in misguided disgust. Since the truck is on a incline in the driveway, opening either back door of the vehicle can result in gravity tugging some balls onto the driveway. Since we are on a steep hill, they begin to bounce and roll down the hill. Unfailingly, I will panic and give chase on the assumption it may be the good balls and not the nicked-up ones. This usually happens early in the morning and often when I am in my slippers which are not noted for their suitability in high speed chases. One of two things happens. The best case scenario is that I quickly overtake the errant balls and retrieve with little danger to both my ego and flesh. More often, it involves a lengthy chase with me pursuing the balls far down the hill, kicking at them while at a dead run while educating any listeners on the finer points of Midwestern profanity. The end result is that I am at the bottom of the hill, ten houses away from the still open truck door. Often I am now winded, missing at least one slipper and trying to pull my lounging pants high enough to not get arrested for indecent exposure.
Usually, the rescued balls are not worth saving anyway and so the whole incident is for naught. The saving grace is that this oft-repeated suburban ballet goes unwitnessed so my dignity is tattered, but repairable.
So now you have the background for the actual reason I started writing this piece. Part of my rehabilitation is using a purple inflatable exercise ball for various gyrations intended to sleeken my profile. The exercises also serve to prompt the fruit of my loins to observe my interaction with the 30-inch exercise ball bears a remarkable resemblance to a walrus navigating a rocky shoreline. So early one morning recently, I had the exercise ball in the backseat of the truck and decided to perform my scripted maneuvers. As it was 4:35 in the morning, I saw little need to exit the house in more than my underwear. Clearly it was far too early for even the newspaper delivery let alone neighbors beginning their day. Just extract the ball from the truck and return indoors. I know my family is smiling right now because they already see it coming. I proceed to the truck and open the door. Smarter people than I could have predicted a shower of golf balls and they would have been correct. I proceed to chase the small white balls and quickly interrupt their forward momentum enough to catch them. I am startled as a relatively large purple thing bounces past me. The exercise ball has exited the truck and is rapidly increasing the distance between us. With little thought, I give chase. The 30-inch ball is leading the way down the hill followed by a 280-pound, pale white, large-breasted, nearly naked man running barefoot. Following the man is a group of reinvigorated golf balls responding to the earth’s gravitational field. Illuminated only by streetlights, the man is grateful for the cover of darkness and is buoyed by the thought that no one will view this scene. The flicker of approaching headlights disabuse him from his comfortable conclusion.
Saner types might have forgone rescuing the cavalcade of balls and retreated to thick foliage. Not our hero. He proceeds even more quickly in the futile hope that he can divert the balls to an awaiting yard and calmly retrieve them. As the headlights strike his generous torso, he realizes that his disheveled hair along with both his 8-inch abdominal scars combined with his large, pale, and damn near naked form might present a somewhat disconcerting vision to the oncoming driver. As the procession passed the open window of the laughter-wracked driver, I waved and smiled weakly as the purple ball lodged in a roadside bush. As I was unaware of the golf balls behind me, they too startled me as they bounded past me into the night. Still driven by some primordial chase response, I resumed the downhill journey and retrieved the golf balls.
Now I have to walk back up the hill with the various balls which will take me past the now stopped driver. Since my underwear had no pockets, I had to stuff what I could not carry into them. So endowed, I picked up the purple ball. I am now a brilliant shade of red from the exertion and breathing heavily. Having exceeded my humiliation quotient for the young day and having little choice, I persevered towards the stopped car. The driver was as courteous as possible despite the tears of laughter streaming down his cheeks. Fortunately, he was lost on the way to picking up someone so I would never see him again. Ever helpful despite my appearance, I was unable to direct him to destination.