Teed Off (Jul.07 2013)

with Robert Bicknell

Well, I turned 55 years old on the Fourth of July.

In the US, “55” used to be the speed limit on most highways, but I have no intention whatsoever of slowing down. If anything, I plan to kick it even harder on the second nine holes of my life. When I finally get the call “home”, the angels aren’t taking me without a fight.

Birthdays are something that we all looked forward to – until you hit a certain age – and then they become a bit of a nuisance. Also, the candles on our birthday cakes begin to cause a fire hazard. Yes, we celebrate our birth, but when that magic year rolls around, we start to feel our own mortality creeping up and we begin to look in the rear-view mirror a lot more.

In my case, “mid-life crisis” hit about 18 months ago and resulted in me hitting the gym like a lunatic, changing my diet to something healthier, using health supplements, curbing my legendary temper and making an attempt to act more human.

OK, I also grew my hair long like a rock star and dyed it blonde. So sue me. It makes me feel happier. Also… I got tired of walking along with my nine-year old daughter and people asking me if she was my grand-daughter. Nothing will pop your bubble faster than comments like that.

Yes, I still smoke and hate every single moment of it. I keep trying to quit, but these friggin’ things got my number and keep calling me back. But, I’m not gonna stop trying. They gotta go.

As many of you might have heard, I also got a motorcycle and not a “scooter” either. This is a 1200cc monster and I am in the process of trying to get all the proper licences to drive in HCM City, which is difficult, but will keep trying.

All of these efforts to remain “young” are not in vain.

I also came to a startling realization… I have been in Viet Nam for most of my adult life. OK, granted, I often act like a juvenile delinquent, but that doesn’t matter much because I believe it is all part of refusing to get old. You are as old as you feel, so why not do everything you can to “feel” young?

Since I’ve been in Viet Nam, I’ve published roughly 780 columns for Viet Nam News and I’m not done yet. I have about 72 magazine columns floating around. But what drives me nuts is that every time I look on the internet, I find my columns reprinted everywhere, and I’m not making a dime from it. I gotta get an agent or something.

I’ve also helped seven or eight golf clubs improve their service and bottom line. It seems like everyone makes money except me.

I also helped to form the National Golf Team back in 1999 and gave a lot of the kids who are no pros and semi-pros now their start.

All in all, not a bad 21 years and I cannot wait to see what I can accomplish in the next 21 years. Nobody knows what the future holds, but one thing is certain… it’s gonna be a hell of a ride!

I just read where 25-year-old South Korean player, D.H. Lee, “flipped the bird” (raising the middle finger) in a show of disgust at a poor shot during the AT&T National golf tournament.

Apparently, Lee hit an approach shot to the 12th hole at Congressional Golf Club, and as the ball bounced over the back of the green, he blew a gasket.

Actually, I think the old “one-finger salute” is a tad better than busting out with expletives which can be over-heard by kids in the crowd or the people watching on TV. (Tiger – are you listening?).

Yes, some people might think the finger was directed at them, but there are ways to do it which negates that possibility. Trust me on this. I’m a master of it.

To his credit, Lee apologized after the round and said it was born from frustration and solely directed at his poor shot.

It’s also nice to see how US sign language has found its way abroad. Who says America doesn’t contribute anything internationally anymore?

For the Americans reading this column, Happy 4th of July. — VNS