AFDO Planning Committee Meeting Results


I love how there is a random shoe in the pic.

We’re less than two months out from one of my favorite days of the year. This year will mark the 2nd Anniversary of the 10th Annual Inaugural April Fools’ Day Open to Raise Awareness (AFDO).

For the uninitiated, the AFDO is a golf-like event. Each hole of the par-3 tourney we use different rules, ball-striking implements, or activities to get to the hole. And we raise awareness…crap-tons of awareness. If you would like to know more about the AFDO try this link: Cheese is Funny (we switched to The FaceBooks for marketing a few years ago…but, you’ll get the picture.)

My birthday is sometime in February. I can’t remember which day because my beautiful girlfriend insists on celebrating for the entire month. On a recent random night, in celebration of Aquarians, a few of my friends got together for a b-day beverage. Most of them have participated in the AFDO. We’re on year 12 and I try to incorporate new rules each year. I’m running out of ideas; so, I asked my friends for suggestions. I promised to share the list. Here is said list with my comments, when necessary, in parenthesis/italics.

Quick note: After 11 years of this silliness, I’ve learned you have to critically think through some of this stuff. There are logistics involved. For instance, look at the first two bullets. Both awesome concepts; but, it is a lot easier to procure and transport one slingshot than five walkers. So, if I pooh-pooh your suggestion, it is for solely logistical reasons. I still like the way you think.

  • Geriatric Hole. Walkers, Reacher thingys. (Love it. See “Quick note” above.)
  • Slingshot. (Assuming this means “tee off with a slingshot.” I like it.)
  • Wear galoshes. (This would be hilarious if we could get 5-6 pairs of huge boots donated. Does anyone know any really big firemen?)
  • Duckwalk. (This could be funny. And painful. The shortest hole is 43 yards.We learned this lesson the hard way the year we did a Wheelbarrow Hole.)
  • Hot Yogurt Hole. Chose one person and show your best rendition of the Hot Yogurt Pose. (There was a conversation about Hot Yoga. I made a joke. This is the aftermath.)
  • Sit-In Hole. (We’re not gonna protest! We’re not gonna protest!)
  • The Curling Hole. (I’ll give you the opportunity to think this one through yourselves.)
  • Deaf, Dumb, Blind Hole. (Potential.)
  • Truth or Dare Hole. (Not with this crowd.)
  • Trivia Hole – Answer an AFDO trivia or Trivial Pursuit question. Right -1, Wrong +1.
  • Butt-Hole. (I see what you did there.)
  • Trust Walk Hole. (Someone could get seriously killed.)
  • Blindfold Hole. (See comment for Trust Walk Hole.)
  • Tee Off With Snow Shovel.
  • Never Go To Bed Angry. (Newlywed Advice Hole?)
  • Broom
    • Take turns sweeping wiffle ball
    • Use broom as defensive device against others
  • Recite a  Shakespeare Quote While Taking a Shot of Irish Whiskey Hole. (This one made my head hurt.)
  • On the green, carry the ball to the pin with a spoon, chopsticks, or salad tongs.
  • Barclay by the Back Shed Hole. (I’m hoping you want him to be the bathroom attendant, not do something demeaning.)
  • T-Rex Hole: Velcro straps hold your arms close to your body and you have to emit a T-Rex sound (This could be hilarious. Have to think through the velcro strap thing.)
  • UK National Treasure Hole – Throw the ball as hard as you can at the hole, like you are throwing the English out again. The flag at the hole should be raised as the National Anthem (of ENGLAND) plays. 🙂 (Our new English friend is having trouble assimilating; however, we still appreciate her efforts.)
  • There were also a few suggestions that were inappropriate for even this blog suggesting caddy activities and things I should go do to myself for making people think while drinking. They are still under consideration. 

So, there you have it. Hopefully, now you see why it is so difficult for me to come up with nine really awesome ideas each year. Thank you for your participation. There may be some winners in here. We’ll see.

If you are interested in playing, caddying, spectating, or sponsoring the AFDO, please reach out to me. We have some incredible hospitality packages still available.

Until April, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

And raise awareness. Every day. Like Jim Valvano said, “if every day you can laugh, spread awareness, cry, share awareness, think, and raise awareness, then that is a full day.” Or good day. Or something. I may be paraphrasing.

Mike D.


Lilly Lessons

I’m a big fan of chewy candy. I love salt water taffy, Mike and Ikes, Airheads, etc. As a birthday gift, my two-year-old niece, Lilly, gave me a big box of sour gummy stars. The kid knows me pretty well. Shortly after I opened them, she repossessed the gift. She put one in her mouth. As she began to put another in her mouth I told her not to. Sometimes she minds better than other times. She put another piece of candy in her mouth. I explained this may be a bad idea. Have you ever tried to reason with a two-year-old?

She grabbed another gummy star.

Continue reading

Tone of Voice

I’ve never been a big fan of Reality TV. Maybe because I know it’s not real. Or maybe I’m still bitter about Vanilla Ice stealing all my dance moves and using them to make it big. I’ve just never understood the attraction to the “reality” drama. Despite my aversion to these type entertainment offerings, I have gotten sucked into The Voice the last few seasons. I love that show. I didn’t give it a chance at first because a few years ago I watched American Idol and hated it.

I was thinking about my different feelings towards these two series. On American Idol, if someone messed up it was a free for all for the judges. Off came the gloves. The smarmy guy with the funny accent would scold them. “That was, without a doubt, undeniably, irrefutably, no question, the worst thing I have ever heard. (Pretty sure he said this every show). Your voice is horrible. Your hair is ridiculous. I don’t know how your mother could have loved you or what reason you could possibly have for getting out of bed in the morning.” The guy was just mean. Continue reading

What Would I have Said?

The night before Dan’s funeral I couldn’t sleep. Went downstairs, grabbed the laptop and started typing. Was so out of it, I didn’t really know what I had written. I read it the next morning and decided to print a copy and take it to the funeral to give to Dan’s parents.

A few minutes before the funeral the minister approached Ben, Tyler and me and said,”Dan’s parents would like the three of you to say a few words during the service.” When my turn came, I stepped to the pulpit, and couldn’t say a word. My throat locked up, my eyes welled, and my brain froze. And then I felt some papers in the inside pocket of my suit pocket move. It took everything I had to read these few words.

I had been pretty mad at God that week. But, I like to think that a rustling of paper in my suit pocket, at a moment when I needed strength, was a kind of an apology, or at least a message that I was not alone. Continue reading

Uncle Mike

Version 2Recently, I’ve given some thought to how lucky I am. I’m not sure if it’s because of
the friends that I’ve chosen or have chosen me. Or maybe I’m in some way blessed. But, I’ve been fortunate to have some really incredible people share the road with me on this journey through life.

A lot of philosophers and psychologists will disagree with me. I’ve always held the belief that people are inherently good. We can debate this another time; but, I’m happier thinking this than I would be if I didn’t. Because of my blind faith in people, I’m often disappointed. However; occasionally, fate will place someone in my path that completely restores my belief system.

Mike Justice was one of those people. Continue reading

Life, Death, and Biscuits

The church parsonage in Murphy shared a driveway with Duke and his wife, Edna. Before school I would walk down to the bottom of the steep hill, grab both of our newspapers, and deliver Duke’s to him. My motives were not completely altruistic. Duke, at one time, owned a restaurant. After retirement he continued to cook. Every day he would prepare enough breakfast for about 20 people. His friends and former regulars at his restaurant would stop by throughout the morning. They would eat, drink coffee, and hang out for a while. His first visitor of the day was usually the nine-year-old kid from next door bearing his paper.

He and his friends would discuss the news of the day. And in the late ’70s there was a lot of news. Headlines told us of earthquakes and plane crashes and a nut in Jonestown leading a murder-suicide. It seemed like a daily occurrence that hundreds of people were dying in some sort of natural disaster or catastrophe. I was nine and already becoming desensitized to death.

Then one day I learned a lesson from Duke that changed the way my mind processes tragedy. That morning I walked in with the paper and helped myself to a hot, buttery, flaky, spicy, delicious, sausage biscuit. Duke had sausage biscuits figured out. He opened the paper I handed him and read the headline. “Twenty-three people killed in a bus crash.” The stupid, desensitized, invulnerable, breakfast mooching nine-year-old responded, “that’s not that many” and continued to eat his biscuit. Continue reading

On the Other End of the Rope

My Dad is a retired Methodist minister. He’s one of those guys that instead of preaching to or at you he tells stories and uses parables to teach lessons.

I remember one Sunday he was talking about faith. He told a story of a small village. One day in this village a lamb fell down into a deep hole. This was in a time and a place where losing livestock was a pretty big deal. You couldn’t just head over to Sheeps-R-Us and buy a new lamb. Continue reading

Swimming Up a Mountain

“When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself.” – Tibetan Proverb

One of my college friends lives across the street from Jason Lezak. You may not recognize that name. My pal says he’s a great guy. However, Steve’s sons are a little less impressed with their Dad’s plastic motocross trophies since Jason let them wear his gold medals.Lezak

In the 2008 Olympics the Americans were losing a race. Then Jason swam the anchor leg of the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay faster than anyone ever had. Without Jason, Michael Phelps would not have won his record 8th gold medal. After the race Michael couldn’t say enough about Jason and how much he owed to his effort.

A few years later, after the Jamaicans won the men’s 4 x 100 relay (the on land version), some of Usain Bolt’s first words were “I am a legend. I am number one!” Granted, he is. And he is the fastest man alive; however, I expected some acknowledgement of the other three guys on his team. His team probably did, too.

Sometimes, we pay more attention to the mountaintop we’re standing on than the people who helped us climb it.

As you ascend peaks; stop, take a look around. Who is on the top of the mountain holding the other end of the rope? Let them know you appreciate them not letting go of it.

The Roof. The Roof. (If your brain didn’t just say “…is on fire” we can’t be friends.)

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy

The chicken was marinated. The sun was setting. My favorite time of day. Time to light the grill. Once the thermometer hit 400 degrees I threw on enough chicken to keep me fed for the next few days. As the last piece hit the grill and started to sizzle I heard a horrible sound. Five tiny puffs as the burners went. Crud. Propane tank is empty. No worries. I’ve got plenty. I opened up the door to Grill Central (my outdoor closet) and grabbed another tank. Empty. No worries…I’ve got four tanks in here. And surely, when I took the last full one I would have gotten at least one of them re-filled. Nope. I’m the proud owner of 5 empty propane tanks. Continue reading

Choose to be Happy

“Success and happiness are not matters of chance but choice.” – Zig Ziglar

As I walked past the Customer Service Representative’s desk I heard her exclaim, “that call just wrecked my whole day.” Think about that for a minute. We’ll come back to it.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to hear motivational speaker/writer Zig Ziglar give a presentation. Zig was a firm believer that we choose our own moods. If you told him that another person or situation put you in a bad mood he wouldn’t believe it. Continue reading