Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chapter 5, Part 3 - The Activities

As I just mentioned, there are hundreds of clubs at Harbor View from book clubs to Yiddish clubs. All of these activities can be classified into the serious clubs and the ‘I’m not into anything serious, so I’ll join one of these’ clubs. Golf, tennis, and Mah Jongg are considered serious clubs. French, knitting, and ping-pong are not. The serious clubs are a big deal at Harbor View. In fact, some people retire to Harbor View for the sole reason of joining one of these clubs. The residents at Harbor View become so caught up in the clubs they’ve joined that one of the more noteworthy observations I have made about the retirees there is that you can easily identify which club most of them belong to without asking them directly.

First, there are the golfers. They are by far the largest group. Fully one-quarter of Harbor View residents are golfers. Now, because men die younger than women, most Harbor View residents are women; yet nearly all of the golfers are men. Which means statistically, if you are a man and you live at Harbor View, you either came to live at Harbor View because, like Dad, your wife dragged you or you came to play golf.

The golfers are an easy group to identify. You would think you’d be able to identify the golfers by the clothes they wear – plaid pants landing three inches above their white shoes, bright-colored shirts, and derby hats. But frankly, at Harbor View that’s not too different from what the rest of the residents wear.

Actually, the best way to figure out which residents are the golfers is to figure out which residents are not the golfers. For example, if you see Sheldon at the pool at 1:00 in the afternoon you can bet that Sheldon is not a golfer. If Marty calls you at 10:30 in the morning and asks you to head over to the clubhouse with him, you can take your odds that he is not a golfer. And if you run into Jack at the supermarket at lunchtime you can guess that Jack’s not a golfer either. (None of this holds true if it’s raining outside, however, then there is a chance that these men are golfers.) See, the fact is, if someone is a golfer, you will usually not see him until after two in the afternoon when the Florida sun makes it too hot for him to play. Dad is a member of the golfers’ group, although I do not think he is quite as serious as most of the other players since, unlike them, he does not play every day. Most of the golfers do not miss a day on the course unless it’s raining.

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