I’m trying to find a new Hobby

23 Aug

I’ve decided to get a new hobby.  

I made this decision after I left my doctor’s office yesterday and realized I was happy my blood pressure was down to a healthy 150/110 (this is better than my last reading: 174/120…for those of you who missed 7th grade health class, this isn’t a good thing).  I have to also admit that it didn’t occur to me these were bad numbers until I called up Ankur, my Sophomore year roommate, to share the good news.
Me: “My bp is down to 150/110!”
Ankur: “Dude…that sucks.” [Ankur is an Indian; with a dot-not-a-feather.]
Me: “Health can be relative.”
Ankur: “Y’know Desi’s [slang for India Indians living in US] have a history of heart disease, so I know when a number is bad.”
Me: “You guys don’t eat meat, though.  How can you get heart disease without meat?”
Ankur: “We still do.  It’s a real problem.”
Me: “I thought heart disease was pretty much an American tradition, like baseball.”
Ankur: “Nope….I think you should find something relaxing, like a hobby, that’s what they told my Dad.”
Me: “You are right.  I’ll start doing more fun things.”  
After this conversation, I decided to go have some fun with some of my hobbies.  
This is when I realized most of my current hobbies are killing me.  
Cases in point: skiing has ruined my feet, destroyed my knees, and I pull my hamstrings just by getting out of a chair; it turns out two decades of martial arts and being kicked, punched, arm locked, taken down, pinned, and otherwise abused isn’t exactly healthy; I know I’m never going to be good at golf and I could have learned five languages in the amount of time I’ve spent on it (when you take a swing and the club flies out of your hands and lands in the middle of a lake, the golf G-ds are telling you it’s time to quit); the customary outfit you wear when you go road biking makes me look like I’m an out of work gay porn star; and looking at naked pics of ladies is warping my expectations of the sort of women I can land.  

The question now becomes what sort of hobby should adopt?  I have several criteria for my new hobby and a few constraints:
My constraints are that I’m un-atheletic, accident prone, a miser, I have a bad attitude (I’m suffering from an incurable case of weltermensch), and I have enough health problems to make a hospice nurse’s eyes dilate.  I also have ADD, so I can’t spend a lot of time doing mind-numbing activities (don’t make fun of people with ADD: when the alien invasion occurs and the normal people who are paying attention are getting brain washed–because they are paying attention–the ADDers will be distracted, not end up brain washed, and we are the ones who are going to lead the resistance…viva la resistance!).  
So, I came up with some criteria.
A) I want to be able to dress goofy
The best part about golf is it socially acceptable to be able to dress like a pimp: plaid pants, tacky shirt, all I need is a cane to complete the look.  The game isn’t really that fun, so we might as well enjoy how we dress.  But, this could just be me (you are looking at the same guy who owns a smoking jacket [I don’t smoke] and has a leisure suit).  Any good hobby involves a person, particularly men, to dress like a jackass.  This is very important to me for some reason   
B) I can do it by myself 
This is important because I’m not only a loner (I’m a highly social loner; but, I enjoy being able to do things by myself) but also because the amount of time, planning, and effort it takes for me to get together with anyone causes more stress than work.  Hobbies you can do by yourself include such things as pool, stamina sports, music, and pornography.  But, I don’t want to always do it by myself, so this brings me to my next point
C) I can do it with other people
Like I said, I’m a highly social loner…emphasis on social.  It’s fun to get-together with peps and share an activity  This can be planned with old friends or something you just show up at with at and make new friends (think of something like laser tag; strangers work together and have fun within two minutes after meeting).  Another example is when I was a member of the ski club in college: it’s fun to ski with people and share experiences!  
D) It’s inexpensive 
I don’t want to have to drop a hundred dollars to potentially have fun.  Skiing and golf are the worst at this.  Both sports cost about half a kidney just to do them and you may not even have a good time.  Think of everybody who has permanent injuries from going skiing or the number of people who have had miserable times on the golf course.  Whoever came up with the idea a golf ball should cost $5 and managed a marketing campaign where people think they need to spend this on something that costs maybe, maybe, $0.25 to make, is a genius.  This person is one of my heros
E) I can potentially be good at it 
I’m not one of those guys who wants to have a hobby so stressful it makes work a dream.  My Dad and golf are the worst at this: good ol’Paul spends more time complaining about his golf buddies cheating, his game, and coming up with new and interesting ways to prevent two of his sand-bagging buddies (read: cheaters) from manipulating the game it makes his career as a high-stress corporate attorney look like a cake-walk.  You’d be surprised at how many people have hobbies which abuse them so their horrible jobs and lives don’t seem so awful.  This struck me as strange a decade ago, now it kinda makes sense….almost
F)  It can’t be creepy
Nobody likes someone with the strange hobby and the guy with a weird activity doesn’t get promoted.  Everybody has met someone who has a peculiar hobby.  Taxadermy comes to mind on this one.  Every time I met someone who does this, I view them as a potential serial killer.  I mean, who takes the dead corpses of animals and stuffs them to keep them as trophies?  This sounds like something Hannibal Lector would do.  It’s just strange
G)  It has to be chick approved 
I need to have a hobby a future wife or girlfriend will understand.  Every girl I’ve ever known has always dated a guy with a hobby they don’t get.  I’ve had about ten conversations that can be summarized around the phrase, “Really?  He’s into that.”  A good example is the very successful surgeon I know who collects action figures.  He goes into his basement to play with them while his wife sits upstairs wondering why he doesn’t just play with her, do the dishes, or act like a man
H) I can bring a dog with me 
I’m a dog lover.  I enjoy canine company and it would be a lot of fun in order to bring my pet (I’ve loved all my pets and I still miss them years after they are gone; and, I don’t refer to them as my pets: my childhood dog, the legendary Waggs, I referred to as my fur-child).  This is important because, a lot of times in life, the pet is the only thing happy to see you and appreciates you.  Plus, it is something to love
and, finally, 
I) I can drink while I do it – this is self-explanatory
Let’s examine several of the hobbies I’m considering.  
The first one is fishing.  Now, I’ve been finishing once in my life and I have a good record.  Since I’m a brat, my family and I took a vacation up to Alaska when I was 13.  We hired a fishing guide and a boat to try and catch some King Salmon.  Within thirty seconds, I ended up catching a 38 to 41 pound salmon.  How does fishing met my criteria?  It’s chick-approved, I can come back with something useful, it’s relaxing, after an initial investment, it’s not expensive, I can bring a dog, I can do it alone or with a group of people, it’s not creepy, and I can dress like a loon.  How is it not?  It is boring and doesn’t play well with my ADD.  Plus, I’m not a big fan of hurting and killing things so I’m not sure this would work with me.  
The next hobby I considered is sports cards.  I’m a sports fan (my favorite is football) and I used to collect trading cards as a child.  The advantages are that I’d reconnect with my childhood, Waggs used to hang out with me while I would pour over them, and the ladies, while not understanding it completely, would dismiss it as a “stupid guy thing” and I could hide in my testestarone den looking over them to relax.  The problem?  This is really expensive and goes against my miser mind-set
I then thought about comic books.  I used to collect comics and, for years, the best part of my month was when I got Thor, X-men, Spiderman, and any other title in the mail.  I stopped collecting them when I realized, if they were great literature, why can’t I check them out at the library?  Also, it’s important to remember I recently had my comic book collection appraised and it turns out to be the best investment I ever made.  I was once in charge of billions of dollars and I think this wouldn’t relax me.  Why?  Because all I could think about is how I made the best investment decision of my life between 8 and 13; then, I would think about how I’ve learned nothing about business since.  This wouldn’t reduce my BP and isn’t what I’m looking for.
The one I’m considering right now is to purchase a motorcycle.  This has the appeal in that its dangerous (ADD wouldn’t be a factor because I pay really good attention when the thought of my face ending up on a block of the road is a concern), it’s not only chick approved but I could have my future (still un-determined) wife hold onto me while I drive it, my fellow bikers and I could dress goofy, and, after the initial investment, its cheap.  The problem?  I’m not a cool guy, badass, or stud muffin.  This seems to be one of the pre-reqs for riding; plus, I’m not entirely sure if I could actually balance a motorcycle.  I thought about this and decided, okay, let’s be resourceful.  I then thought about getting a bike with a side-car (the dog could ride there and, yes, the puppy will have goggles on) or purchasing a Spider (three-wheeled motorcycle; in my parent’s Mc-Mansion neighborhood there is a group of trophy wives who go out and ride these things together…and, yes, their leather outfits match the color of their vehicles…I’m in love).  
Does anybody have any good thoughts on a new hobby for me?  If you need me, I’m suffering the web for motorcycles (please talk me out of this).
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

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