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91 Playing The past few years, I have started to type a fan letter, but I always end up hitting delete, even before I print it out to see how it reads on paper, to see if maybe my words look less creepy on an 8 × 10 sheet graced by sunlight than under the starkness of office lights and the glare of my computer screen. I’m a middle-aged woman, and I swear that I’ve never written a fan letter to any celebrity. Never. Not to Oprah, not to Baryshnikov, not even to Treat Williams. I admit, I did wax poetic my adoration for Bobby Sherman on a piece of construction paper spritzed with Love’s Baby Soft perfume when I was eight years old, and I swooned over the life-size poster of his boyish frame that hung on my closet door. I never sent that red crayon confession of undying worship, though; I think I was unsatisfied with sending my innermost thoughts to a fan magazine and, unable to find Bobby’s personal address, I deep-sixed that loveletter in my flower-power trashcan. Since that time, I have been consistently unimpressed with the juvenile antics, the self-obsessed posing, the ridiculous salaries, and the self-proclaimed-pseudo-political-expertise of the silver screen jet set. That, and I am probably a bit envious. But now, I am going to have to eat crow. I am going to have to put aside my prejudices and admit to having a fanatical fancy for a Hollywood icon. And so, here it goes: Adam Sandler . . . this one’s for you. 92 ♦ Life with a Superhero ♦ ♦ ♦ Dear Adam, Most of my life, I’ve hated golf. Hated it. I mean, there was nothing wrong with golf in terms of its potential ill-effects on world peace, and if folks wanted to put on goofy clothes, lug around big ‘ol bags, drive bumpy tin carts, hit little balls with sticks, and traipse through shorn grass in stupid shoes with itty bitty spikes, for hours on end, I wasn’t going to stop them. But still, I hated it. Maybe I hated golf because when I was about eight years old, I was traumatized by my father on a miniature golf course one warm summer evening. We were at one of those places that perpetually smell like salted pretzels, yellow mustard, cherry Slurpees, and blue cotton candy, and where families can go-kart, putt-putt, or jump on in-ground trampolines (which can beget a disgusting kaleidoscope if done after eating salted pretzels dipped in yellow mustard that have been washed down by Slurpees and finished off with a blue cotton candy dessert). Somewhere between trying to putt our neon orange putt-putt balls into a clown’s nose and making them air borne to escape the plastic crocodiles in a chlorine saturated, concrete pond, my older sister and I got the giggles. My dad could be unpredictable. That particular evening, he decided that our giggling would interfere with my future. “Kathryn!” he yelled as he approached me with a royal blue, hard plastic, child-sized club hoisted on his shoulder, “We need to talk!” And there, in front of toddlers plunking putt-putt balls in their mouths, kids trying to wade in the crocodile pond, and parents who were walking funny from jumping on trampolines for the first time in twenty years, Dad told me exactly what my problems in life were. “You could be an outstanding miniature golfer, if you’d put your heart into it,” he growled. At this point, my sister walked away, overcome with laughter, because . . . well . . . it’s funny to see a father intently concerned with his daughter’s putt-putt skills. Dad continued with the lecture, which all the people who had Playing ♦ 93 stopped playing miniature golf—meaning everyone—were now privy to. Standing toe-to-toe, grown man to little girl, my Dad preached down toward my lowered head. “Kathryn,” he began, “if you practiced playing putt-putt enough and decided to be serious about where the orange ball goes, you could have an amazing future in the golf world. Now shape up and get those balls in the holes.” When Dad wasn’t looking, I shoved the little balls into their Astroturf holes with my feet and repeatedly muttered “I hate golf,” in a sing-song falsetto hoping to entertain my sister, but neither of us had any giggles left. ♦ ♦ ♦ I avoided...


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