Disc golf is a new hobby in the Kennedy household. / Photo by Mark Kennedy.

Everybody in our household has a hobby — or two.

My wife works jigsaw puzzles with a level of concentration that resembles contestants playing Final Jeopardy. Today's category: "18th-century Russian poets."

With her intense, puzzle-working gaze, she can see dimensions and shapes that most people miss.

Our older son, who is now off to college, is an avid Airsoft player. This is a game — really, a poor person's paintball — in which people armor up in tactical gear and then run around and shoot one another with air rifles loaded with tiny plastic BBs.

Ping. Ping. Ping.

Our firstborn is so good at Airsoft that some of the older adult players here were glad to see him return to college in Alabama after the holidays. Imagine a gazelle trained to shoot a semi-automatic BB gun. He can run for hours and never get tired.

Our 14-year-old son, meanwhile, is a serial hobbyist. He brings an incredible burst of energy to any new pursuit, but ultimately flits from hobby to hobby.

Most recently, he has taken up disc golf. He plays with friends several times a week. Disc golf is like regular golf except it's played with flying discs — think Frisbees — instead of golf balls.

At one point this weekend, I counted 12 discs on our coffee table. Like most of our younger son's hobbies, it's 20% about the activity itself and 80% about the accumulation of gear.

Nobody in the family thinks his disc golf craze will last.

Sorry, son. We all remember your previous preoccupations with woodworking, cross-country bicycling, rubber-band bracelet making, radio-controlled cars, Minecraft yada, yada, yada.

Which brings us to the final member of our family: me.

Of all the Kennedys, I'm the least likely person in our household to take up a new hobby. Chalk it up to risk aversion or, more specifically, dull-mindedness.

In fact, if you ask me about my hobbies, I can only think of one — reading — that meets the dictionary definition of a hobby: "An activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure."

And I'm not even sure this qualifies since it's hard to draw a distinction between reading for work and reading for pleasure. I subscribe to three newspapers: two national and one local. I also subscribe to Apple News+, which taps a selection of digital magazines. Too, there's usually a novel or a nonfiction book at my bedside, too.

This is not so much a hobby as a compulsion. The words "reading junkie" seem to capture it. Reading is my preferred state of consciousness. My family will tell you that I go deaf when I'm reading, which means I'm useless at conversation.

I'm also aware that too much reading is not good for a person — or at least there's a point of diminishing returns.

If reading were a snack food, I'm the guy who would eat a whole tube of Pringles and top it off with two Twinkies and grape soda.

Eventually, I guess I'll retire and be obliged to find new hobbies. Travel, maybe. Or perhaps I'll take out that banjo my wife bought me 20-odd years ago when I could still "think" about doing something new.

Part of me fears — OK, knows — that my retirement hobby will ultimately be "reading books about retirement."


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