The Euro stars will continue to slog it out for a while on their quest to take The Road to Dubai (a Bob and Bing cinematic classic!), but on this side of the pool, real golf for the top-level pros is done, over, toast, finito, Mahat Mahcoat, verplunkt, exhausted, Gandhi…until January in Hawaii.
And so gentle readers of Poolside, get ready to bend over one final time.
And I mean that figuratively, not literally.
In the literal sense, I’d actually like to insist that you bend over a LOT more than once. Let’s say once a year…for the rest of your life.
I hope where I’m going with this is obvious by now. But just in case it isn’t, I’m talking about having your prostate checked here guys.
Over the past few years, November has become known as “Movember.” This is the month where clean-shaven guys grow moustaches and where moustachioed guys cut off their moustaches and then re-grow them…all with the hope of 1) raising money, through sponsorships, to find a cure for the disease, and 2) raising some (very) much-needed awareness about prostate cancer and the need to get examined.
And whether you’re one of the millions of Canadian guys growing a moustache right now, or not…you can still make a big difference and participate in Movember, by taking the main messages to heart; toss some money in the big collective shaving mug and contribute to prostate cancer research AND get yourself tested!
Donating the money is the easy part. The other one, apparently not so much.
As psychiatrists and comedians like to remind us for a living, there are many, many things that distinguish men from women and vice versa. Venus and Mars and all that stuff.
MANY examples immediately spring to mind; mostly involving the things that my wife does or cherishes, that make little or no sense, or have little or no value to me.
Buying shoes and wearing them once or twice is worth a few future bald spots. Buying ones that are painfully uncomfortable from the start, but look great, is absolutely one I’ll never get. Hell, we might as well toss in recreational shopping, watching every Jane Austin movie every time it’s on TV, paying 4 times too much for a haircut and going to the bathroom in wolf packs as well (you know, just for the sake of offering pure scientific, empirical data).
Oddly enough, my wife seems to be just as mystified by a lot of my (sensible) lifestyle and entertainment choices as I am of her silly ones. I’d love to be able to tell you some of them, but none immediately spring to mind.
Oh, hang on a minute…I just went upstairs to grab a vitamin rum and Coke and found this weekend’s “honey do” list. On the page immediately beneath that one, I found a bizarre list that looks an awful lot like a bunch of “honey don’ts.”
Hmmm, let’s see; watching The Matrix series every time it’s on TV, even though you own all the DVDs and Blu-Ray versions is in on there. So is always playing my rock at 11 on the amp (Rush and Floyd at 15)…and getting distracted during conversations…along with casting lingering, appreciative glances at the perfectly-shaped rock-hard asses of passing females…not hanging on every word of every shopping story… drinking vitamin rum and coke…calling it “vitamin rum and Coke”…swearing to add emphasis to key sentences…swearing to add comedy to funny sentences… swearing to add empathy to sentences…not paying close enough attention to the “honey do” list (i.e. finishing it)…re-adjusting in public…re-adjusting in private…scratching the boys in public…scratching the boys in private…and dropping 5-octave, 15-second (or longer) farts anywhere in public…especially when escorting her on shopping trips for shoes or in crowded restaurants. Oh, hang on…apparently short farts are bad too. And sharts are right out!!!
There were more, but I had to grab another vitamin rum and Coke while I was reading the list and then got distracted by something.
By the way, you can add the creation of “honey do” lists to the list of things women do that baffle the minds of men.
Would YOU dare presume to give your wife a list of chores you want her to tackle on her weekend off?
Didn’t think so…but I’d love to see what’s on that list! And I’d give you $5 if you actually did make one and then gave it to her, while I’m watching!!!
Now that’s entertainment!
BUT after going through all of my mystification over some of my wife’s little “quirks,” I am the first one to admit there is absolutely, positively ONE thing that women do waaaaaay better than men…and that is they look after their health better than we do!
It must be genetic…because it’s painfully obvious that women are more conscientious about their bodies and their health than men are, by several orders of magnitude.
Go into any doctor’s office anywhere and what do you see? Woman, woman, woman with child, woman, teen girl, woman with children, woman, woman, man, woman, teen girl, woman, woman.
It sounds like an exaggeration, but you know it’s true. And why the hell is that? It sure isn’t because guys are healthier than woman…’cause we’re the ones who always croak first!
It’s not because women are generally more paranoid or hypocondriacal than guys (although some might say it is).
Nope. I think the answer is probably very simple…and has nothing to do with women, other than the fact that they do it right and we do it wrong.
My hypothesis is that guy’s behaviour and attitude toward going to see the doctor boils down to 2 simple things; our innate sense of derring-do macho and our general fear of being sick and weak (and not being derring-do or macho in the process).
Got the flu? Get back to work and suck it up buttercup!
Broke a finger? Give it a hard yank, tape it to its neighbours and get back in that game!
Sprain your ankle? Grab a tensor bandage, wrap it up and get out there…chicks love a guy with a limp (and a duelling scar if you can pull it off).
Had a recurring pain in your gut for 3 weeks? Just rush out to Shoppers and grab a few more bottles of Tums.
Found a lump somewhere on your body? Just wait ‘til it goes away…but meanwhile keep an eye on it to see if it starts to look like Elvis, the Virgin Mary or your dog. You could win bar bets (or devoted followers) with that thing!
Just took a nephew’s baseball bat to the nads? DAMN…you better walk that one off for 5 minutes!!! If you need to cry, do it somewhere where we can’t see you. Oh, we’ll know you’re doing it (we would too), we just don’t want to see you do it. But if you’re not back in 6 minutes, tops, you’re a pussy!
Any of that sound vaguely familiar? Kind of weird isn’t it?
We know, for a fact, that our life’s fuses are shorter…and yet we seem to go out of our way NOT to be pro-active about it. So much for guys being natural, genetically-driven “problem-solvers” I guess. At least in this arena.
So, if a guy won’t go to a doctor for a routine check-up, or to have a “minor” problem looked into, then I guess it should come as no surprise that we’re pretty resistant to the idea of having our nether regions checked out…methodically…inside out.
In my case, I hounded our family doctor back in my former city about getting a check on my gland starting about 6 years ago. His answer was always “don’t worry about it, you’re too young yet.” And as each year passed, he continued to give me the same answer and brushed the whole thing off…as I got older and “not too young yet.”
Maybe he thought I wanted to get this done for recreational purposes or something?
I do know that he wasn’t much of a doctor…and as the years passed, his own personal problems grew, while his disinterest in my health got worse and worse…to the point where it actually took him over a year to file a request for a simple MRI for me (and only after I found out it never left his desk and threatened to report him to the College of Physicians).
So, here we are in a new town and I made it my mission to finally get this thing done.
Since my wife and daughter arrived here first (while I was stuck down south trying to sell the house), she naturally went out and got a new family doctor right away. ‘Cause, you know…read the crap I wrote above about women and doctor appointments.
And naturally (because this is me, after all), when I finally caught up with the girls in our new town and then eventually decided to book my introductory “getting to know you” meeting with our new family doctor, I was positively thrilled to shake hands with a very professional, very smart, very conscientious, very demure, very attractive, young woman.
Holy crap on a cracker!
And so, after a few appointments to check on some minor stuff, and after taking my time to generally get comfortable with her, I eventually moseyed the conversation around to getting my prostate checked out about a month ago.
In case you’re somehow oblivious to all this, there are two ways you can go about the actual test. And depending on your phobias or hang-ups, one is definitely more pleasant and less invasive than the other.
That is, unless you have a phobia about needles AND a hang-up about having a finger jammed up your hinder, of course. If you have a problem with both…then this is going to be a bit of an adventure for you.
The needle part is easy…at least for me. I had 47 different allergies when I was a kid (true!)…and got quite used to weekly (or more frequent) needles at a very young age. Thankfully, I outgrew most of them by the time I hit puberty and didn’t need the shots anymore.
So, I went and had some blood drawn. Easy, peasy…except for one small, very annoying thing; I had to pay cash for the test! 50 bucks!!!
For whatever reason, blood work to test for prostate cancer is NOT covered by OHIP! Can someone please explain the rationale of that to me?
Doctors know that guys, as a gender, are more resistant to getting check-ups of any kind done in the first place…so what the hell would our medical system think it is logical to exact an extra price from us when we do finally follow their urging and reluctantly go to get the testing done???
Does this seem like a good incentive to you?
And, without trying to sound like a sexist, uncaring pig in ANY way, can anyone imagine how loud the screams would be if mammograms and pelvic exams and all the other tests that women get on a regular basis, suddenly required a debit card?
You can bet your ass (and we are getting to it!) that half the country would be up in arms in a heartbeat.
Anyway, getting the special (i.e. bend over and pay for it) prostate (PSA) blood work done was the way our doctor decided to go on this request of mine…and I wholeheartedly respected her expertise and supported her recommendation. No second opinions (or digits) for Derek on this one!
But, getting away from the blood work for a minute, IF my doctor had instead reached into one of her medical drawers and whipped out a rubber glove during my visit, I’m going to say, with conviction, that I would have been okay with that too. I was as mentally psyched for it as I was ever going to be and completely ready to bend over and saw “awwwww.”
And there’s the thing that almost every guy has a problem with…THE FINGER!
(You can actually hear sinister church organ music going, ”dum, dum, dum, dummmmmm!!! in your head when you read that, can’t you?)
One of the things that probably made this easier for me to personally get psyched up for, is some previous anal adventures I’ve had, with an entirely different procedure; THE COLONOSCOPY!
(“dum, dum, dum, dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”)
[It goes deeper, so that last note lasts longer]
For reasons that I won’t bore you with, I’ve more than my fair share of those things over the years.
In fact, I’ve had so many colonoscopies and so many kilometres of 4” fire hose crammed up my crapper, that I believe I’ve now qualified as an official Rectal Ranger. (This is the colonoscopy equivalent of making it into the “Gallon Club” at the Sperm Bank)
I’ve had so many colonoscopies (“how many colonoscopies HAVE you had???” yelled the live studio audience…) that I’ve assiduously avoided sitting on backless bar stools for years, out of fear of invoking the little-known law of physics called the “Puckering Piston Effect” (first discovered by famed German physicist Heinrich Hertzalot in 1883 and later refined by Swiss physicist Felix Intestinal Bloch in 1934) and sliding all the way down to the floor.
Last week I even got a letter in the mail proclaiming me as an honourary member of the Village People. I just hope I get to be an Indian and don’t have to wear a construction worker’s uniform!
[By the way guys, if you’re around 50 or older, or have a family history of colon cancer, you need to start getting colonoscopies too. Once those doctors figure out a way to talk you into introducing them to your barking spider, the requests for more opportunities just never end!]
Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yeah…THE FINGER!
(dum, dum, dum, dummmmm”)
Look, the bottom line (see what I did there?) on getting the finger is really quite simple. It takes about 5 to 10 seconds and that’s it. Is it painful? No. Is it uncomfortable? Maybe a very little. Does it feel a bit weird? Sure.
Butt if you’re expecting some hour-long, agonizing, white-knuckle procedure, you couldn’t be more half-assed in your assumption. (See what I did there…and there?)
Okay, so it might not be a pleasant idea for you. Big deal!
I think the real thing that holds a lot of macho guys back from whole concept is that they are afraid they actually might find it pleasant! Hell, they probably worry that they might even sport a little Woodrow Wilson in the process!!!
(“Dum, dum, dum, boingggggggggggggg!”)
And, of course, it goes without saying that if you find the finger pleasant, even a little bit, then that means you might be a little gay…and if you’re a little gay, then you might actually be a lot gay…and then, of course, if you are a lot gay, then you’d have to start paying more attention to how you dress…and how you talk…and try hard not to look at other guys in that way…and then going out to buy new place settings…and start using mousse on your hair…and expressing yourself flamboyantly with wild, floppy hand gestures…and humming show tunes…and moisturizing…and cooking fancy stuff instead of chili…and drinking white wine and ultra-light beer…and having meaningful conversations about your feelings…and buying Justin Bieber and Barbra Streisand CDs…and potpourri…and finger towels…and on and on and on!!!
Makes perfect sense right?
Not even a little bit.
(“DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMMMMMMMMMB!!!”)
So guys; if you’ve been a hold-out on this issue up until now, how about growing some stones and going out to get your potential stone checked out, huh? ‘Cause once it actually starts turning into a real stone, you are officially, well and truly screwed!
And, that is a subject I actually do know something about.
You see, my dad died of prostate cancer a few short (yet very long) years ago.
He was first diagnosed with it about 15 years ago, after it had manifested itself quite pronouncedly. And he underwent loooong sessions of chemotherapy and radiation treatments that left him in a weakened, unhealthy, generally depressed and frightened state for quite some time.
Fortunately, the treatments worked…and I’ll never forget the pure joy I felt during the phone call when he told me his first PSA test came back clean!
Dad enjoyed another 10 years of clean checks after that. Then, as is often the case, the damned stuff returned…and it did so with a vengeance! The cancer had not just returned, but had also metastasized to his bones.
That’s another phone call I’ll never forget too. In it, dad told me he just didn’t want to go through it all over again. Couldn’t put himself through it.
And despite my selfishness in really wanting him to be immortal, I told him I completely understood and fully supported his decision. Then, we had our very first, frank conversation about his death…which had suddenly became a lot more real and far too close, within just a few second’s time.
The cancer had metastasized to his bones…and once that happens, it’s virtually a death sentence. It’s just a matter of when.
And in dad’s case, “when” was about 2 years later.
Shortly after that, I found out my best friend’s dad got nailed with this bastard of a disease too.
During his treatments, he kept a masterfully written, wonderfully colourful, side-splittingly hilarious journal of all his exploits and passed them on to his kids…proving that he was going to squeeze every ounce of fun out of life that he could, even during something as miserable and frightening as this.
The journal, I’m sure, was as much reassurance for the kids as it was catharsis for himself…and I was incredibly privileged to be “looped in’ on his writings.
I hope his story has a much happier ending than my dad’s did, with all my heart. And I can’t wait to be treated to more of his writings (on much different subjects)…for many years to come!
So please, for your sake and the sakes of all the people who love you, go get some blood drawn, or bend over for a few seconds…and get this taken care of as soon as you can!
I promise you, that ignorance is NOT bliss in this case…and you won’t like the possible alternatives. They’ll make the needle and the finger seem like a positive lark.
It’s the final column of the year…and since this is a golf column, I guess I have some kind of obligation to mention the sport somewhere in here.
So here it is.
The PGA season is now officially done. The conclusion of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic put a wrap on the action Sunday night.
Results – Children’s Miracle Network Classic
|Derek’s Picks||D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)|
|$ 413,600||Jerry Kelly||
|Davis Love III||
|$ 16,046||Richard H. Lee||
|$ 11,249||Patrick Sheehan||
|$ 16,046||Garrett Willis||
|This Week’s Total||$ 456,941||This Week’s Total||$ 138,058|
|Season Total||$ 40,236,295||Season Total||$ 12,117,434|
Damn…I came this [ ] close to scoring my 15th win of the season…T2 for Garrigus!!! (Let’s not even talk about the rest of my poor choices, shall we…we’d never get out of here!)
And for those of you who like to sadistically keep track of these things, and poke fun at the “experts” as they fall victim to their own hubris, I guess I should open up the books and let you know exactly how I fared against random chance this season. The role of “Random Chance,” as always, was portrayed by my daughter…with her weekly lobbing of the darts at the pairings sheets for each tourney.
The Stats – 2012 Season – Derek Versus D&D (Daughter & Dartboard):
For me, the most exciting stat of all, up there, was daughter’s THREE wins!
So, that’s it then folks. Another exciting golf season has come and gone and is now in the record books. Put a bow on another season of “Poolside” to go along with it.
Whether it was a success or a failure, is entirely up to you.
Meanwhile, I’d like to thank you VERY much for reading this column…and for playing along with (or at least tolerating) my silliness each week. Special thanks to everyone who took the time to write comments over the course of the year. You have no idea how happy it makes me when those are posted! They really do make my day!
As far as my final prediction of the year goes, I can guarantee you that we WILL still be around on December 22nd. The Mayans didn’t know golf like I do…and we absolutely WILL have an amazing 2013 season to look forward to!
I have no idea whether I’ll be back to write next season. It’s probably 50-50 and pick ‘em right now.
Regardless, I’ve had a total blast writing this nonsense…and have enjoyed every keystroke I’ve written for you along the way. And if I made just one of you smile, just once, over the course of the year…then this has been a tragically colossal waste of time!
Thanks very much. Take care of yourself. And for god’s sake, get your prostate checked out NOW!