As casual conversations go, this one was a lot like wandering through a minefield.
What I mean is you’re pretty sure you’re going to get through it alive, but there’s a good chance you might lose a medically important appendage along the way.
This potentially hazardous chat happened late last week as I was lying on the couch in our den doing one of the things I do best — watching sports highlights on our big-screen TV.
The highlight package the sports channel was showing featured a bizarre incident that occurred during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at the Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.
For those of you who are not sports experts like myself, what happened was a professional golfer named Tyler Duncan was using one of his irons to hit an approach shot at the par-4 13th hole, but his ball sailed well to the right into a crowd of spectators standing near the green.
After taking a wicked bounce, the ball — as many of you have already deduced — smacked an innocent spectator squarely in the head, an incident that was recorded for posterity by multiple TV cameras.
What made this golfing mishap even more unique was the fact that the head that was beaned by the errant ball belonged to Duncan’s wife, Maria.
Later, the 29-year-old golfer — who happens to be ranked 488th in the world — bravely stood in front of a TV while a CBS Sports analyst played video of Maria getting bonked on her melon over and over.
"I had a little mud on the ball, little unfortunate timing there and shot out to the right," Duncan, who got married in October 2017, just two weeks after playing in his first event on the PGA Tour, explained on TV.
"Took a big bounce and hit her, I guess," Duncan said. "I didn’t know until after the round... I’m just happy she’s not hurt, and I was with her a while ago."
As I lay on the couch watching this drama unfold, I yelled for my wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, to come check it out.
"What’s the big deal?" she demanded, glancing at the screen.
I flashed an idiotic grin. "That guy’s a professional golfer and he accidentally hit his wife on the head with an errant shot," I chirped, before adding something along the lines of: "Ha ha ha!"
My wife gave me The Look, a facial expression that any male reader who has ever had a spouse does not need to have explained to him.
"He hit his wife with a golf ball and you think that’s funny, do you?" she asked, folding her arms.
I gave the question some thought before bravely replying: "Um..."
Which is when my wife retorted: "You do. You think it’s hilarious that poor woman took a golf ball to the head."
I scrunched my face up to indicate I was taking the matter seriously. "Well, um, she wasn’t hurt," I replied.
"That’s NOT the point!" my wife explained. "The point is it’s not all that funny when someone gets hit with a ball in the head, even if they aren’t injured."
I decided to try using logic. "Well, he didn’t mean to do it. So it was more of an accidental beaning. And it wasn’t the first time. According to her husband, not long after they started dating, she got hit in the head by a random ball from the driving range."
Surprisingly, the logic of this point failed to impress my own spouse.
"That doesn’t make it funny," she complained. "It’s not nice to laugh when someone gets smacked with a ball or a puck or something like that. Do you laugh when that happens to some random guy?"
Which is when, unfortunately, I began to giggle. "Yes, I do," I confessed. "Like most guys, I am deeply amused by the millions of videos posted on the internet wherein random guys are accidentally hit in the, um, lower body area by footballs or baseballs or soccer balls that are hit or thrown at them by their kids."
My wife rolled both her eyeballs, which is never a good sign.
"So that’s your idea of sophisticated comedy?" she asked, frowning.
I unwisely nodded my head. "I challenge anyone not to laugh at that episode of The Simpsons wherein Homer can’t stop watching a video called "Man Getting Hit By Football" and cackles: ‘The ball — his groin! It works on so many levels.’"
I sensed my argument was falling on deaf ears, so I tried to offer some words of comfort. "You know," I said, beaming, "everything worked out well for Tyler Duncan and his wife."
"What do you mean?" my wife asked.
Pointing at the TV, I said: "Despite taking a bogey after beaning his wife, he ended up tied for fifth place and won $267,810. Not too shabby."
My wife turned on her heels and started walking out of the den. "Well, I certainly hope he bought her a really nice present to make up for hitting her on the head," she said.
I waited a few moments, then quietly replied: "Yes, I hear he’s going to buy her a helmet to wear at the next tournament."
"What was that?" my wife’s voice rang out from the kitchen.
"Nothing!" I hollered back. Because sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut when you hit one out of bounds.
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.
Updated on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 5:57 AM CDT: Adds photo
8:12 AM: Corrects wrong use of word