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"Well, you just walk up to him and stick out your hand and say, 'How do you do,' and look him right in the eye."
"Oh, good," I said. "Then I don't have to bow and kiss his hand like I would Hogan."
I don't know whether I expected the palace gates to open so King Hassan could gallop in on an Arabian stallion with a hundred Bedouin warriors, or what. But I do know that I didn't expect him to arrive driving the lead car in a motorcade himself, and for that car to be a Chevrolet station wagon.
"He loves cars," Claude whispered. "He'll turn up in a Maserati tomorrow and a Volkswagen the next day. He's probably trying this one out. Probably thinking about buying a fleet of them."
Everybody lined up to greet the king, including all of the people in all of the limousines behind him. The custom is that the king sticks out his right hand and a Moroccan gets to kiss the back of it. If the king holds him in favor, he also gets to kiss the palm. Very close friends and family get a back, a palm and a cheek. This went on for a while and then Claude shook hands and forthwith presented his writer pal.
Following Claude's advice, I self-assuredly stepped forward, took King Hassan's hand, looked him straight in the forehead and said, "Good Majes, your morningsty. Real pleasure. Fine. Sure is."
He was a bit tiny for a king, I thought. About five-six. He was swarthy and had black sideburns stealing down in mod fashion from thinning hair on top that he combed straight across. He was pretty mod, all around, in fact. He wore a pair of tight, pocketless flairs and buckled loafers, and he had gotten out of the car in dark granny glasses. I decided that he could pass easily in Beverly Hills for the script supervisor on a hit TV series.
He moved around briskly, choosing his shoes and sweater. But he didn't put them on. Somebody else did that for him. And the singular job of one valet was to hold an odd-looking instrument that resembled a large pair of tweezers. It was a cigarette holder. The king smoked a lot and rather than drop his cigarette on the ground between golf shots, he just held it out and the tweezers grabbed it.
Now he had a three-wood and went to the practice area to take several vigorous swings before the game. Claude trailed quietly after him with his hands folded behind his back. Two of Morocco's best pros, who have played in several World Cups, were present, and their jobs were equally divided. One selected each club for His Majesty, and the other saw that he never got a bad lie, even in the rough.
What most of this added up to, I realized, was that when kings play golf they never have to bend over.