Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"When you coming home Dad?" "I don't know, son. I'm golfing with Xena, so it's gonna be a while. Don't tell Mom."

My dad, a while back, specifically asked me not to make him go golfing on Father's Day.

It used to be a tradition in our family that we'd get Dad and the kids together and go golf 18 holes, spending a half-day with Dad out on the course, shooting a 125 or so which is pretty good for me, and then going to eat somewhere.

Then Dad said, one day "I don't like golfing.  Let's just have dinner."  And so a tradition that it turned out Dad never liked died.

I bring this up because this week it made the "news" that most golfers, given a choice of who to golf with on Father's Day, chose their dad rather than, say, Tiger Woods, or Jesus.

I use "news" in quotes for double the usual reasons:  Not only is this sports "news," which is already one step removed from, you know, real news, but it's a step further in that the poll question is about who to golf with on Father's Day, and what are you supposed to say to that?

Pollster:  So, thanks for taking a minute to talk with me.  I was just wondering, if you were to be golfing on Father's Day... hang on a second, let me just start this song playing...

Person:  Is that "Cats In The Cradle?"  What's going on here?

Pollster:  Okay, now before we get to "Time In A Bottle," let's finish that question.  As you listen to this song featuring an ironic twist in which a son who never had his dad spend time with him grows up to be distant from that same dad, on Father's Day... let me emphasize: Father's Day, the one day a year society bothers to think about dads, who would you like to golf with?  

Person:  What are my options?

Pollster:  You're going to Hell.

 There were, in fact, options given even though the poll itself poses the classic NESTLE-R problem, which I will explain:

A NESTLE-R problem, which I've alluded to before,  is when the choices are so obvious that they're no choice at all.  The phrase comes from the old Wheel of Fortune game show.  At the end, in the olden days, the player had to choose five consonants and a vowel.  Everyone, when confronted with that question, told Pat Sajak "I'd sure like to date Vanna White."

No, wait.  What they said was "I'll take R, N, S, T, L, and E" which reshapes into NESTLE-R, my mnemonic device in case I was ever on Wheel, which I never wanted to be because Jeopardy! was my thing.

Anyhow, those were the obvious choices, and NESTLE-R presents itself in a variety of real-life contexts, too, most notably when someone says "Who would you like to have dinner with if you could have dinner with anyone?" and everyone feels compelled to say something like "Mom" or "Jesus," and nobody ever really feels free to say "Xena, and I mean, really Xena, not just Lucy Lawless in her costume, but actually Xena somehow made real, and also The Incredible Hulk and a guy who knows all the lottery numbers that will ever be picked and on what day they'll be picked but he doesn't want to use that information for himself  and yet he doesn't mind telling me."

Now THAT is a dinner party.  I think Mom and/or Jesus would both understand why they didn't make the cut.

So, just as Wheel eventually just shrugged and said "A: Vanna is not available for dating, and B: just have those letters and pick some different ones," I eventually shrugged and said "Now I've got that Cats in The Cradle song in my head," and also I proposed that when someone says something like Who would you golf with if you could? we all just be cool and acknowledge that yeah, Dad is great and all but we'd really rather golf with The Incredible Hulk and Xena and Lottery Guy and we'd like to do that on Jupiter, thanks, and nobody gets hurt feelings because this is make-believe, after all and The Hulk would probably end up killing Lottery Guy and dating Xena, so it's all pointless.

The Father's Day golf poll actually read:

PLAYING PARTNER: Who is the one person/golfer, past or present, you would most like to play 18 with on Father's Day?
  --  Your Dad -- 27%
  --  Your son/daughter -- 22%
  --  Phil Mickelson -- 10%
  --  Arnold Palmer -- 8%
  --  Spouse -- 8% 
So Tiger Woods wasn't an option, and neither was "Jennifer Aniston, Topless," which I'm pretty sure would have at least beaten out Phil Mickelson, who, for some reason, beat out spouse, and those guys who answered that survey have some real explaining to do to their wives:  "Sure, honey, I mean I know I didn't choose Dad because, well, remember how he made me mow the lawn that time Tommy said the girls' locker room windows' shades were up?  But I'd have chosen you, for sure, I was just in a hurry and didn't read all the choices and why are you packing?"

NESTLE-R could've saved you, guys.

In reality, though, what would this survey say if it didn't mention Father's Day, and also gave real choices? I wonder -- and so I've set up my OWN survey, off to the right there.   We'll see who outranks who.

In the meantime, remember that thanks to Dad finally being honest with me, I'm free to set up my own fantasy foursome, and when The Incredible Hulk asks to play through, you'd probably better let us.


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Golfing with my dad would suck because A) I've only ever played miniature golf and Tigers Woods golf on the PS2 and B) Dad is a box of ashes which means he'd have a better score than I do because I'd end up 100 over par and he'd be at 0.

Really though I never get why they say in those questions "living or dead" because it's like, "Who wants to take a dead guy to dinner?" That's just gross.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

BTW, isn't "Time in a Bottle" a Jim Croce song? So is the fictitious interviewer using a 70s mixtape?

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