Boys will be Boys
Many males have surprisingly been able to maintain life long male friends while enduring years of working, parenting, marrying and watching unwatchable sports on TV. Because men like to get prizes for their feats, we have found ways to reward our male relationship longevity. The Rolling Stones, for example, tour every couple of months to acknowledge their long duration of male togetherness. Abercrombie & Fitch, who aren’t even alive anymore, celebrate their long male partnership by forcing young kids to wear their tee shirts. Batman and Robin continue to celebrate their unique male bonding by keeping the streets of Gotham city relatively crime free.
Less extraordinary men, which describes most men, have devised lesser rewards. The best we have come up with so far, to exhibit our beardy manhood, is a testosterone-induced tradition we proudly call The Boys Weekend. This holiday weekend of boys being boys is not recognized on most Gregorian calendars or any of the current time management apps. The three-day male bonding experience addresses a key masculine need that is somehow not fulfilled in daily life. Men have a primal need to hear the same old stories, told by the same old people, while drinking the same old beer. It is a genetic coding so deep in the strains of male DNA, even the scientists with multiple test tubes in state of the art bio labs, have been unable to isolate and eradicate this mutant gene.
Being a bit of a scientist myself, I know exactly where this guy’s weekend gene is. It is right beside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gene, but I am hardly going to share this with the lab people, because my desire to golf badly once a year is just too damn appealing.
Most men, excluding the metrosexuals, can pick up their relationships with ease and very little drama even if too much time passes between their interactions.
Andy: “ Hey Dennis, I just got back from Michigan and the traffic over the border was…” Suddenly the phone gets disconnected and because we are guys, neither of us calls each other back as we have to clean our barbeques.
Eleven months later we accidently meet in a hardware store looking to upgrade our screwdriver collection. And Andy says.
“Yes the traffic was so brutal at the border I had time to read the owner’s manual in my glove compartment. Now I know how to change my car thermostat from Celsius to Fahrenheit… So what’s new with you?”
After I acknowledge what an interesting story he just shared, I go on to tell Andy that I have discovered another way to cook the perfect steak. We then fight over the screwdriver inventory available with a lot of “I saw it first” and we depart wondering why we even like each other.
How did this guy’s weekend begin? How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man? How do you mend a broken Heart? How does this Uber thing work? So many questions so few answers. Well except for the first question as I can answer that one, because it’s kind of the point of this little story.
I was very lucky enough to be hired at Searle Canada many years ago by a perceptive young man named Tom Potter, who saw through my unimpressive English degree. He realized that with years of deprogramming and daily monitoring, I could be a pharmaceutical sales rep in Barrie Ontario. Clearly Tom was a man who could take a risk.
Well that company was filled with very funny, very creative and very human employees. Sure there were the mandatory 15% jerk quota, but one does tend to learn brilliant avoidance strategies, when you develop the skill of character assessment. Our company merged with another company where the jerk quota increased so the non-jerk bonding got tighter. In the end we were bought by Pfizer, which was swallowing up companies, faster than I eat french fries. Some stayed but many left as the magical culture, of what those smart people who write clever sayings call “lightening in a bottle.” ceased to be. For those literal people who can’t comprehend metaphors, never try to catch lightening in a bottle, cause man you will really burn the tips of your fingers.
A smart colleague of mine who has asked me not to use his real name, but it rhymes with Bevin Bilson, was looking for another reason to get away from his family on weekends, and thought to himself … golf. Yes the first thought was not really even a sentence just a noun. He then realized that this noun was also a verb, and as he remembered from his grade-three grammar exam, verbs are action words. That high level understanding of the English language, led him to more thinking. Without a pen, paper or any Cole’s Notes he decided to invite the cool males from the old company for a golf weekend. (There of course were many cool females at this company, but the title of this blog does not permit me to expand on other genders) In truth, there were only 15 real cool men and he needed 16 men to make up four foursomes, so he asked me to join under the provision I did not interact too much and I stayed at a separate hotel.
This inaugural “guys weekend” is now well into it’s second decade, and all these men have surprising high level jobs at companies who have yet to establish behavior standards. These men must thrive in their current positions each year, for it is critical to achieve maximum bonus just to help pay off the alcohol bills from this annual weekend. There are two simple adjectives to accurately describe the common tendencies of each participant of my golf weekend, but I cannot think of those two words right now, so I will continue.
Every June these men golf from 18 to 36 holes a day over two or three days, in a Ryder Cup format of best ball and singles matches, to earn a trophy that is smaller than the coffee cups at Starbucks. The competitive spirit and effort exhibited by these grey haired warriors, is balanced nicely by their lack of skill. Often a triple bogey can win a hole, in this surprisingly untelevised match play event.
We eat, we drink, we laugh, we release gas through multiple openings, we buy new clubs, we get new cars, some get new wives, we brag about children, we sit on patios and smoke cigars, we make fun of each other, we never give a three foot putt, we apply permanent damage to each others egos, we all think we are better than we are, we stay up late, we get up early, we solve problems, we mock the Belgians, we sing, we hug and we expose any human frailty exhibited by a hung over participant.
Our group has endured transfers all over the world. Sometimes we have absences but most of the time these men travel thousand of miles just to ensure we don’t talk about them when they’re gone.
Now I do not claim to understand each of this group’s individual allure for this weekend away. It would be arrogant and disrespectful for me to speak for the others. Just a second I now remember those two words that best describe all participants. Arrogant and disrespectful, sorry it took so long to come up with such obvious descriptors. Allow me to conclude with my unique display of arrogance and unmatched disrespect to express why I never miss the boy’s weekend every year.
I go because I know two things. First I know if any of these pals, chums or buddies needed me, I would take a bullet for them. Second If I asked any one these men for help, they would be there in a second. If I fell on hard times or some personal tragedy occurred, fifteen men would be on the phone immediately to make sure I was okay. These men have great life experience and they are better men than I, but I learn something about greatness and my ability to achieve greatness every June. That is why I go every year. It is never about the golf.
“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”
Cue the blong. I wrote this song to acknowledge that it ain’t easy growing up these days.