The start of the golf season and competitions, like the Masters golf tournament, which starts with round one on April 7, always brings back memories of an old friend I knew during my early adult years, living in the suburbs of Chicago.
Although he became a great friend, Kevin was the most annoying person I have ever known.
An Indiana native, Kevin is a graduate of Purdue University. He went to school there on a golf scholarship. During his college years, he often played with the infamous Fuzzy Zoeller (see sidebar).
When I knew him, Kevin lived in apartment complex in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
On any given evening and weekend, anywhere from a dozen to 30 or so friends could be found lounging outside of his patio door — an area we affectionately called “the ashtray” for obvious reasons.
There we would while away the hours, enjoying a few beers and good company. Kevin’s personality and the condition of his apartment is clearly one of the reasons I have personally adopted the mantra “I don’t care.” It fits just about every situation that just doesn’t matter — at least to me.
When entering Kevin’s apartment through the balcony doors, guests would encounter two things — “dog,” a very large porcelain basset hound to the right of the door, and “the tree,” located at the left. It was more than a Christmas tree because Kevin turned it into a multi-holiday tree — hearts and cupids for Valentine’s Day, shamrocks for St. Paddy’s Day — you get the picture.
There were always two televisions on at Kevin’s — one that showed only cartoons, and the other sports — most often golf or football, and of course, Indiana University basketball during the Coach Bobby Knight days.
Kevin had a lot of used furniture, especially couches and chairs to accommodate his many friends and guests.
The entire apartment was a complete, tragic mess.
I once defrosted his refrigerator because I could not take what Kevin called “the tumor” in the middle of the top shelf. Once the ice was gone, I uncovered a turkey carcass from the previous Thanksgiving and three bottles of beer.
Kevin called his dining room the “sports corner.” In it were boxes and boxes of golf balls. Multiple golf bags and clubs lined the back wall.
We once adopted a cat that kept lingering outside Kevin’s apartment. We named him, of course, “Putter.”
Kevin was (and may still be) best friends with my ex-husband, and was always getting him in trouble. Kevin didn’t have a job, but my husband did, yet Kevin was able to convince him frequently that a trip to the golf course was much more productive than going to work.
Once, when Kevin took a weeklong trip out west, we thought we would surprise him and clean the apartment. It took the entire week.
It was during that cleaning activity that I found a file shoved under a bed that Kevin had started. It contained all the information he needed to put together a resume — someday.
I did it for him and sent it out to dozens of companies looking for savvy sales reps.
Almost immediately, one of those companies contacted Kevin, he interviewed well, apparently, and got the job. He is still with that large wire and cable company today, but he now owns it — and to this day he has no idea how he got there to begin with so many years ago.
Who is Fuzzy Zoeller?
Fuzzy Zoeller’s real name is Frank Urban Zoeller, Jr. At 64, he is an American professional golfer from Indiana, who has won 10 PGA Tour events including two major championships. In 1979, he became one of three golfers to have won the Masters tournament in his first appearance in the event.