My Bromance(s) Explained

What’s your favorite golf podcast? Hard to narrow it down? Mine is “The Drop Zone” with co-hosts Sean Zak and Dylan Dethier.

The roots of my Zak and Dethier bromances are at least threefold. First, they have an endearing friendship. Second, their content is always smart and socially conscious and often humorous. Third, Dethier completed the best gap year of all time at the end of which he wrote a book titled “18 in America: A Young Golfer’s Epic Journey To Find The Essence Of The Game” which I still have to read. The book is described this way:

“Shortly before his freshman year of college was set to begin, seventeen-year-old Dylan Dethier—hungry for an adventure beyond his small town—deferred his admission and, “like Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey before him, packed his used car and meager life savings and set off to see and write about America” (ABC News/ Yahoo). His goal: play a round of golf in each of the lower forty-eight states.

From a gritty municipal course in Flint, Michigan, to rubbing elbows with Phil Mickelson at Quail Hollow, Dylan would spend a remarkable year exploring the astonishing variety of the nation’s golf courses—and its people. Over one year, thirty-five thousand miles, and countless nights alone in his dusty Subaru, Dylan showered at truck stops, slept with an ax under his seat, and lost his virginity, traveling “wherever the road took him, with golf as a vehicle for understanding America” (The New York Times).”

Man, what I would give to have had a 19 year-old Dethier in one of my First Year writing seminars.

The content of this fresh-off-the-press piece by Dethier, “How would a scratch golfer fare against LPGA pros? Now we know: not well.” which garnered about a third of today’s 36 minute podcast, kept me company on my chilly morning run to Priest Point Park and back. It exemplifies what makes “The Drop Zone” such a good listen. It’s a smart, funny, and wonderfully feminist take on just how good women professional golfers are these days.

So if you’ve been wondering what’s missing in your life, and you think it may be the lack of a truly excellent golf podcast, given Zak and Dethier a whirl the next time you’re practicing your chipping and putting.

A Writer Threads The Needle

As a writer, there are some impossible assignments. Where the degree of difficulty is just too great to put pen to paper.

You can’t write anything sympathetic to Republicanism in The New York Times, just as you can’t write anything sympathetic to the Left in The Washington Times.

If you identify as male, you can’t write about the “female experience”. If you are rich, you can’t write about the poor. If you’ve never had kids, you can’t write about parenting.

I mean, you can, there’s a First Amendment after all, but good luck to you.

And if you’re on “the tenure track”, or a tenured professor, you can’t complain about anything higher education-related without understandably unleashing the growing army of adjuncts who struggle to feed themselves and make rent. They. Aren’t. Having. It.

Unless you were an adjunct before you landed your tenure-track position? And you acknowledge your good fortune. More than once. Then, just maybe, you can pull off the rarest of feats.*

Cue Sarah Emanuel’s essay, “The Deflating Reality Of Life On The Tenure Track” with the provocative subtitle—”Walking dogs helps me make rent.”

Props to Emanuel for her hustle and her risk taking as a writer. And her good humor.

Historical footnote. The Good Wife and I started our journey in a one-bedroom Venice apartment.

*I haven’t read the comments yet. Kinda afraid to.

We Know the Real Cause of the Crisis in Our Hospitals.

It’s greed. That’s the headline of this powerful six and a half minute long New York Times documentary. I concede, given the Gray Lady’s size and stature, it’s important to read and/or view her with a certain skepticism, but as this short video illustrates, the “paper of record” continues to produce a lot of outstanding journalism.  

When it comes to the New York Times, I am in the habit of reading the top “reader picks” comments. At present, this video has generated 1,562 comments. Here’s a portion of the top rated one, from someone living outside the (dis)United States:

“Hey, your politicians passed and signed federal law 9 years ago to allow private equity (wall street) to buy and own healthcare systems and physician groups. Prior to that it was illegal. Now private equity is the largest employer of emergency room physicians in America and as owners of healthcare system employees many many doctors and nurses of all specialties. Private equity is buy a company reduce costs increase profit and sell it in 5-7 years. That is who owns many of your doctors and hospitals. Federal law was changed to allow that to happen and where was the objection from the people. My guess probably almost no one knew. How funny to watch your media avoid these topics when they happen and fill it with the latest on the celebrity politicians over there.”  

The nurses in the video confirm that our fetishization of corporations is the root cause of their untenable work conditions. And the reason people admitted to U.S. hospitals often receive poor care. 

It reminds me of how powerfully later seasons of “Orange Is The New Black” depicts the negative consequences of private prisons.

Because we’re complexity adverse, we don’t connect dots, like our “avoid taxes at all costs” myopia and our near religious beliefs in “free” markets. Those neoliberal pillars are as solid as they’ve ever been. To question them is to be labelled a “socialist”. 

In the end, we have the public health system we deserve. A public health system that an increasing percentage of nurses don’t want anything to do with. 

Sometimes I Can Only Muster The Strength To . . .

. . . read headlines. Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with “CEFS” or Current Events Fatigue Syndrome.

Some recent headlines are funny enough that I don’t even have to read the article. My spirit is already lifted.

I Became Extremely Hot In The Pandemic. My Husband Did Not.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t read it because I was afraid the Good Wife wrote it.

Some recent headlines are so cringe-worthy I can’t bring myself to read the article. This is CEFS in action. In increasing order of cringe:

Misinformation Is A Pandemic That Doesn’t Have A Headline

Tie for First. . .

Election Offices And School Board Meetings Could Become Weapons-free Zones In Washington

Report: World’s 10 Richest Men Doubled Their Wealth During COVID Pandemic

And sometimes since I know how the story is going to turn out, it’s unnecessary to read on.

Help! My Husband Throws Away My Things Without Asking In The Name of “Minimalism.”

Dude’s wife divorces him. He moves into an apartment a few steps below the one he lived in during college. Can’t afford any real furniture to speak of, any art, anything. Shortly thereafter, dies from loneliness in his minimalist “paradise”.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t read that because I was afraid the Gal Pal may have authored it as well.

Paragraph To Ponder

“When men encounter problems at work or elsewhere in their lives, they are much less likely than women to talk about it, in either public or private. Written accounts of male burnout are hard to find. Men are about 40 percent less likely than women to seek counseling for any reason. And the well-documented crisis in male friendship means that many men have no one aside from their spouse or partner they feel they can open up with emotionally. Single men often have no one at all; when they burn out, they may do so alone.”

From “How Men Burnout” by Jonathan Malesic.

Electronic Wolves

This receipt was made up by some electronic wolves that read my in-laws’ obituaries. Neither my mother or father-in-law were capable of ordering anything on-line on October 10th, the alleged date of sale. Nor would they have ever paid $50 for a t-shirt, let alone $150 for 3.

Their target is probably the recently widowed who may be just the right mix of senile and afraid. They read they were from Two Harbors near Duluth. Then they went on-line and found the most popular attractions in the area within seconds. Then they fabricated the receipt, dropped it in the mail, and waited to see if they got anyone on the line. No doubt they do sometimes.

I give them a “C” for the quality of the receipt. It’s exquisite except for the obvious pricing overreach for which I’m marking down two grades.

I don’t know how to catch these lowlifes, but assuming they are caught eventually, what’s an appropriate punishment? Life without any chance of parole?

Thursday Required Reading

Harvard first year becomes youngest person ever to serve in Icelandic Parliament. Extra credit if you can spell her name.

Kohler can now run a bath with just a voice command. Need.

Forget giant asteroids, the Doomsday Glacier is coming for us all.

Next up in Ethiopia. Deepest bench in the world.

Sign of the apocalypse.