As the long weekend beckoned, I received an e-mail announcing the Canadian lawn bowling team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
“I have a really good feeling about this group,” Bowls Canada co-chair Shirley Lenarduzzi stated in the release.
Bowls Canada is so huge, they need co-chairs.
Anyway, I’m not quite sure why Shirley is feeling so good.
In fact, I’d be amazed if anybody on the team is feeling any good.
Why? Let me put it to you this way ... Ryan Bester of Hanover, Ontario is the only guy on the team born after the invention of colour television. Which, by the way, most of his teammates haven’t figured out how to turn on yet.
But I’m not here to bury lawn bowling, I’m here to tell you about how I buried myself at my friend Fred’s barbeque a few days ago.
As I’ve mentioned before, Fred’s background is German, like the Shepherd, but with more drooling. Sadly for Fred, we reminded him about that fact every day, as if he was bad and we were the descendants of St. Peter or something.
Every time Fred screwed up — like if he missed an open net in hockey — one of us would invariably crack: “Master race my ass.”
The thing is, Fred has that Germanic work ethic. He’s always building or fixing something, or growing a moustache. Even when we were teenagers, Fred was always doing something constructive, while the rest of us sat in the basement reading Mad and Cracked magazines while flicking beer caps at each other. Pretty well every day Fred had his head buried in the engine of his old Volkswagen bug, tinkering with something.
Once, we drove up north for one of our canoe trips — which were mostly about getting hammered in the middle of a lake and holding sword fight competitions with our fishing rods — and the whole way up we gave Fred the gears for owning a crappy Volkswagen.
Fred always took our abuse with unbelievable grace. He just laughed it off. On our way home from one canoe trip, after a week of ‘German this’ and ‘German that’, you know, “Hey Fred, goose-step over to the cooler and liberate me a few beers”, we pulled off the 401 at Carlingview, just north of our neighbourhood, when Fred turned around and started haranguing us for bad-mouthing his car.
“It got us there and back, didn’t it?” Fred said.
At that precise moment, the bloody thing sputtered and died. The good news is, it died right in front of the Carling brewery.
Poor Fred still hears about that one.
Anyway, I was at Fred’s barbeque and he was showing me the hot tub he had installed in his backyard, when I noticed this large cage.
“What the hell is that?” I asked, deathly afraid of what the answer might be.
Basically, it was a walkway that went from one of the windows in the living room, all the way along the side of the house, to a cage in the far end of the backyard. It was for his cats and it was completely covered in wire.
“So what’s the deal?” I asked. “The cats are put in there if they refuse to talk?”
I can’t remember Fred’s explanation, but it had something to do with, you know, certain things had to be caged at certain times.
I can’t remember the cats’ names, probably Heidi and Eva, but of course we started calling them “Hilts” and “Ives” after the two dudes who kept trying to break out of the POW camp in the movie, The Great Escape. After that, everytime we’d spot Hilts or Ives the cage, we’d hum the theme music from the movie: “Doot doot. Doo, doo, doo-doot-doot. Doot doot, doo doo doot-doot, doo-doo doot.”
But it was a great night. That is until it dawned on me that some of my friends are getting religious in their old age.
Of course, refusing to let them to enjoy their new-found faith and serenity, I launched into a 20-minute rant about how people always find religion when they get old because they’re afraid to die, and how pathetic it is, and blah blah blah.
Nobody liked me after that.
Fred wanted me to get in the cage with the cats.
“So,” I asked, as everbody got ready to leave. “When’s the next barbeque?”
I’m not expecting a call anytime soon, although I expect to hear from the lawn bowlers.