I received an e-mail from my old friend Bruce Barr, who divides his time between fishing in British Columbia, golfing and working out in Borrego Springs, Calif., and skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho.
He was complaining about another friend of his who suffers from a near terminal disease that he calls Macho-Nucleosis. I had never heard of this disease before. So I went to my library of books about skiing, geology, oceanography, life in the old days in Montana and other assorted fields of interest.
One of my favorite books is “Artificial Joint Replacement for Beginners.” It is stored right alongside a rare copy of, “Is Skiing Here to Stay?”
I thumbed through both of them and found nothing about this disease. Then I went on to look in the table of contents of “Major Cosmetic Surgery for the Beginner,” with an entire chapter on how to sharpen your scalpel before entering the operating room. I almost overlooked my copy of “Post Operation Behavioral Modification,” where I finally found a clear definition of Macho-Nucleosis.
“It is most frequently found in athletes who try to ignore their birthdays. They have to be first in any athletic endeavor they are involved in at any time. They also have the symptom of, ‘knowing the least about what they are talking about and talking the loudest about it.’”
If they are a macho skier or snowboarder they will always have to be the first one to get to the bottom of the hill. If they are a Macho-Nucleosis surfer or windsurfer, they will have to be the first one in the water when the wind comes up and the last out as darkness approaches. At night, when the bragging gets louder they will always have ridden the biggest wave of the day, no matter what beach they surfed at.
As a triple-digit golfer I can hear them over my shoulder hollering, “Do you mind if we play through?” When a foursome of Macho-Nucleosis golfers begins to catch up with us you can smell them because they are all smoking big black cigars. Of course, they are not riding in electric golf carts as we are. As a matter of fact, they are not even using pull carts. Instead, they have great big expensive and very heavy leather golf bags with the name of the clubs they use written in letters you can read from a mile and a half away.
I usually warm up for a round of golf by very carefully checking the tire pressure in the electric cart that I rent. I don’t want any bumpy rides out into the rough while I search for one of my many lost balls.
Another symptom of the disease is that anyone who has it will never get a haircut in any kind of salon or barber shop that has ferns in it, or plays new age music.
Macho-Nucleosis sufferers will drive the biggest pickup truck in the Costco parking lot and will make his spousal equivalent, sometimes she might be his wife, go inside and do all of the shopping.
If he has made a lot of money in whatever he does for a living he might be driving a yellow or red Hummer while wearing a matching colored parka. Whatever his choice of vehicle is, it will have a vanity license plate or a bumper sticker that says things such as Skier, Snowboarder, Honk if You Like to Bowl, Surf for Jesus or other such inspirational messages.
If the Macho-Nucleosis sufferer travels a lot he will have a membership in the most upscale sweat and grind salon in every city where they have a business account. He can bench press his weight at least ten times. The disease will force the sufferer to enter as many 10K races as they can squeeze into their schedule.
One unfortunate side effect of Macho-Nucleosis will be a continuing case of bragging about how the sufferer can still beat their kids down the hill and bury them on a powder day. One of the proudest days of my life was when I could no longer keep up with my children on the side of a mountain.
Any Macho-Nucleosis disease sufferer will always say, “I can ski, surf, play golf or whatever as well at 40 as I could when I was 20.” All I can say about that is, “If this is true you were sure lousy at 20.”
Get used to it because birthdays are only numbers and each of them takes away some percentage of your coordination no matter how bad you suffer from Macho-Nucleosis.
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