A few weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of attending The Masters golf tournament. I was there on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day. Upper 70’s, sunny, nice breeze. It’s the third time I’ve been as the lucky recipient of my friend Walter’s extra ticket.
If you know me, you know I’m no golfer. I don’t pretend to be. I barely own a polo shirt. The first year I went I felt like I needed to “look the part” by wearing the preppyist outfit I could. I wasn’t comfortable, and quickly realized that no one really cares what you’re wearing. I mean, sure, it’s super fratty. There’s some seersucker here and there, lots of polo shirts and overall golf attire. But really, you’re outside in the sun for about 12 straight hours watching golf, drinking, and eating egg salad sandwiches. (The combination of those last two requires you to at least crack your windows on the long drive home, if you know what I mean.) For the most part, it’s no fashion show out there.
This year, as I prepared to attend the Masters, I had a realization. I can’t pull off preppy anymore. Don’t even want to try. So, I throw on a comfortable short sleeved plaid shirt, shorts, and my relatively new checkerboard Vans slip-on shoes. I love these shoes. They stand out in a crowd, that’s for sure. So, at some point in mid-afternoon, Walter and I are standing on the fairway of (I think) the fourth hole watching the field tee off. We’re enjoying an early lunch of egg salad sandwiches and cold tasty beverages. We see Phil Mickelson tee off, watch him walk past us, then notice the throngs of people following Phil Mickelson heading our way.
This enormous group passes us, trying to catch up to Phil for his second shot. The very last person walking in this group, a very unassuming middle aged man, walks past us, stops, comes back to us, looks at me, looks down at my shoes, back up at me, and says one very confusing word. “Spicoli!”
I probably gave him a very curious look while I processed what was happening. Walter was thoroughly confused. Was that some strange Italian ethnic slur that I was unaware of and should have been offended by? Did he think he knew me and that was my name? Then, out of nowhere, I realized to what he was referring. Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn’s classic character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Spicoli wears the same shoes I was wearing.
I was proud of myself for having recognized the reference so quickly, then immediately realized I had no idea what to say to the man still standing there, waiting for me to respond. The best I could come up with at the time was a smile, a nod, and “Oh yeah, my shoes.” The man smiled, nodded, turned, and quickly walked away to catch up with the gallery to watch Phil Mickelson take his second shot from the ride side of the fourth fairway.
I stood there dumbfounded for a bit, explained to Walter what just happened, and finished my egg salad sandwich. I mean, do you make it a habit to tell people where you’ve seen their clothing before? I don’t see people wearing Converse Chuck Taylor’s and immediately refer to Jimmy Chitwood from Hoosiers.
Here’s to you, golf fan, for your vague 80’s movie shoe reference, and thoroughly confusing me for the rest of the day.