Sunday, May 15, 2005

Part I: The New Yorkers, The Women, and The 3-Wood Incident

So, I'm finally in my new apartment. Still got a crapload of unpacking to do, but at least I have my internet connection. I can rant again. And it feels oh so good.

I've realized recently that I really need to make sure I update as often as possible. Thanks to this move, I'm a little behind in my posting. I have six loops to talk about. Six. That's an insane amount of material to go over in just two posts. I sat down this afternoon and started jotting down some notes, which I'm glad I did, because I've experienced some interesting stuff in the past few days and I didn't want to miss anything. On the same token, however, I hated to do it because I'm always striving to write whatever pops into my head. Taking notes kinda ruins that. But anyway. Enough jibba-jabba. Let's talk.

I don't know what the hell was up with this first loop. It sucked. The other caddie I was working with didn't seem to have a clue what was going on. And yet, he was supposedly more "experienced" than I was. I found out after the round that he really is a nice guy, but during the round I wanted to kill him. And his appearance was a little off-putting too. He looked like that crackhead from The Chappelle Show. I was just waiting for him to start scratching his neck uncontrollably and start mumbling in a high-pitched voice: "I smoke rocks!"

He was freaky looking. He looked like he might "cut a bitch" at any moment. And as an aside, I think the fact that I just had to put "cut a bitch" in quotations illustrates how white I actually am. But moving along.

So to recap, this caddie was sketchy looking, a little slow in the head, and moved like a turtle. You can imagine my elated feeling of joy and happiness when we get paired with four angry New Yorkers who have never done anything slowly or quietly in their entire lives.

I'm carrying two bags, he's carrying one, and the fourth player is in a cart. I'm caddying for the member and one of his guests. The member was fairly built and had a bit of a lazy eye. I got nothing against that, but I was always a little confused when he got irritated. Is he yelling at me? Or the guy next to me? Or what about that squirrel over there. That little bastard. Just look at him. I'm sure he can't wait to chew on a nut or something to distract you just as you're about to start the down-swing.

The whole round I had trouble deciphering whether or not these guys were friends or if they all just hated each other.

"Nice shot Bob. GO FUCK YOURSELF!"

"Got the read on this putt buddy? YOUR WIFE'S A WHORE!"

I may be exaggerating a bit, but that was pretty much what happened. You can bet your bottom dollar that the last thing I wanted to do was get on their bad side. But leave it to Turtle the crackhead wonder to start screwing things up. I tried my best to compensate, but it wasn't long until the foursome started voicing some opinions.

The first complaints were about the yardages. The other caddie had two huge yardage mistakes that I was aware of. On the 6th hole I caught him on it before he was able to tell his player. In my head I was walking off a yardage. "...173...174...175."

Turtle: "What you got there, man? 119 to the front?"

Me: "Whoa man. I got 175."

Turtle: "Oh, cool. I SMOKE ROCKS!"

I'm not sure where the hell he came up with that one. My boss would ask me later what I felt about his abilities, and I gave him that example. My boss just sighed and said, "Oh, he's just subtracting instead of adding. We'll fix that."

Wow. Well he may be screwing up his adding/subtracting, but by over 50 YARDS? That caddie must be smoking some really good crack.

The second yardage mistake (I'm sure there were more I didn't hear about) came on the 10th hole. I had just arrived at a sprinkler-head when I heard him ask for the yardage. I told him it was 145 to the front. He nodded and went back to his player, a good 20-30 yards back from that mark. His player hit a great shot that ended up about 20 yards short. The player was pissed.

Player: "What the HELL was that? That wasn't 145!"

Turtle: "Well Tom told me it was 145."

Excuse me?

Me: "Sir, I told him it was 145 from HERE."

Player: "I was gonna say! I HIT THE SHIT OUT OF THAT 7-IRON! You can't fuck up a yardage THAT badly! What kind of a caddie are you?"

I did feel bad for Turtle. But it didn't really look like the comment had affected him, and after a couple holes I was too busy picking up the slack to even think about it.

Whenever I had a free moment I would watch him to see what he was doing with himself, because I was busting my ass, and it was really freakin' hot outside. I was wondering how he was handling it.

Nothing. He was doing nothing. He was carrying one bag and getting yardages for his guy. That's about it. I forecaddied for his other player and took care of my two guys, which makes me believe that I could really handle 2-up 2-down someday (where I'm carrying two bags and forecaddying for two guys in a cart), which is a cool feeling. I mean I can still remember when I was blown away by the idea of trying to carry two bags. That seems like so long ago.

But yeah. It was frustrating. He couldn't get yardages right, he was slow, and he wasn't doing anything. But number 15 was where the shit hit the fan.

The member snap-hooked it off the tee into the lateral hazard, but it hit a couple of trees so I was already running over there to see if I could find it. On the way over, I'm crossing my arms over my head trying to signal to the tee that he's in trouble and may want to hit another. I also yelled to Turtle, "make sure he knows he's in trouble!"

Now my back was turned when this happened so I'm not sure if the member was hallucinating when he made this claim, but apparently right after I told Turtle to inform the member that he was in some trouble, the caddie gave the safe sign.

So of course the member had something to say about it.

Member: "You don't fucking give the safe sign when a ball is hit into a lateral hazard!"

Turtle: "Sorry. I thought Tom told me it was safe."

Man, it sure seems like he enjoys putting it all on me, doesn't it?

Up until this point, I hadn't experienced the wrath of a member. All of my caddying experiences had been pretty tame. But this guy just exploded. And at that point, I was so tired and so frustrated that I just caved. So when the other caddie walked over to his player I tried to apologize to the member.

"Sir, it probably doesn't matter at this point, but I want to apologize. Normally they stick an 'A' caddie with me because I'm still pretty new here. I'm sorry that--"

"Forget it."

Well okay then. From that point on, all I could really do was hustle. By the end my brain was fried. I was so exhausted I couldn't react to the tip until the following morning when I was like, "Wait a minute. Me and the other caddie got the same tip? DAMN!" I mean, it was a good tip, but I was suffering and that caddie didn't even break a sweat. Come on karma karma karma.

The course was pretty busy that day, and when I went into the caddie room to check with my boss about where he stood, I made the mistake of flinching when he asked me if I was good for 36. He noticed how apprehensive I was to continue and sent me home. I mean, I didn't want to give him a weird face when he asked if I could do another 18. I guess it was just a reflex after that round.

But enough sympathy. Let's move onto the women.

Now with women, there are only two rules that you need to follow: don't stare at their respective asses, and don't laugh. I'm sure there are more rules, but so far that's all I got.

Today was tough because one of the women I was caddying for was HOT. So yeah, I guess I broke rule number one a few times. But I guess I'll simply revert back to the ol' caddie response of, "Hey man, she was FLIRTING with ME." Like that makes it okay. But several caddies I know use that line, so why can't I?

And to be honest, I guess I broke rule number two a few times as well. So I guess the two rules I know of acted more like suggested guidelines more than anything else that day.

So what was I laughing about? Oh let's see. Well, one of the ladies looked like Mrs. Doubtfire and took her game way to seriously, another woman was stout and ripped and added on a few occasions, "Oh YEAH do I lift weights." She swung out of her shoes and topped everything. It was like she was trying to force-feed the ball into the hole. She said she was a softball coach, and you could see it in her swing. She had this massive uncoiling action that whipped the clubhead down into the upper-half of the ball every single time. David Leadbetter would've been impressed with how consistently she topped the ball. She had a few of those great tee box moments where she swung as hard as she could with her driver only to nick a small millimeter on the top of the ball. The ball would wobble for a second and then fall about an inch forward of where it was teed up.

Got a piece of that one.

But I think the best part about caddying for these women was that not only were they so grateful and blown away at even the smallest service I provided (replacing their divots for them was a thrill), but they were also so happy at even the slightest hint of success. A good drive meant giddiness and compliments all the way up to the ball, a good lag putt initiated some clapping, and one of the ladies made her first birdie EVER, which of course meant that some significant cheering had to take place. And it was a lot of fun. I think some of the other members at this course should take a lesson from this group. They may not be scoring that well, but they just love the game and enjoyed being able to play.

The only annoying part of the day was when they were playing a game called "Wolf." Now I'm sure it goes by other names, but this is where someone is named "wolf" and has to pick a partner for a hole based on the other three tee-balls. You then have two teams, and if the wolf's team wins, that person gets a point. If the wolf's team loses, that person loses a point. I mean, it sounds kind of fun, but it was a little annoying because they could never remember who was wolf last, so there was a debate on every tee box.

"Who is the next wolf?"

"Well I was wolf on the last hole."

"I was wolf at some point today."



"What wolf?"

"Who's on first?"

Wolf wolf woof woof woof. Sounded like a bunch of squirrels on caffeine. But it was a fun loop. They were all very easy going, and even though I was carrying two bags, I never felt rushed.

I think that's why I was so unprepared for my next loop. Now I actually had to work.

The next loop was a nightmare. You know when you're dreaming and you're trying to run away from something, but regardless of how hard you try to run you can't seem to run fast enough? Yeah, that was me. I was constantly trying to keep up but for some reason I just couldn't.

On this particular loop I was carrying two bags: one of them belonged to a member who reminded me of Woody Allen, except he had a higher-pitched voice and wasn't as shy. The other guy I caddied for was just funny looking. And not like "Fargo" funny lookin'. It's like his face was on sideways or something. The whole round I was just like, "Dude, why you gotta look at me like that?"

So I was working really hard, but there were two problems. They were splitting me at least twice A HOLE, which meant that I was constantly crossing the fairways, dropping a bag here, picking up one there, running back to get a yardage, running forward to replace a divot. It was crazy. And the biggest problem was that they were not even helping me. Now, I'm not saying they should've carried their own bags or done all that other stuff. All I wanted was for them to grab a couple of clubs to take with them for their next shot. True, they can't always do that without knowing the distance, but I mean come on, if you're in a greenside bunker and you can see your lie from 50 yards away, you know what type of shot you have to hit and therefore what club or clubs you need to grab. But they weren't doing that at all. So I had to bring both bags up to every green, which slowed me down significantly for the next tee. I was running everywhere and it didn't look like I knew what I was doing because they were always waiting on me. God it was frustrating.

The other caddie I was working with made me feel better though. He instantly realized the problem I was having and kept giving me little pep-talks whenever he could.

"Shake it off man. Shake it off. It'll be over soon."

To which I would always reply: "I'm sorry man, I'm never this bad. It's like I'm on my very first loop or something."

But it seemed like everyone understood. At least, that was what I inferred out of the tip I received. It was a great tip for a crappy crappy round.

To give you an idea of how out of it I was by the 17th hole, I completely forgot a very simple request from Mr. Sideways-face. Junior (Son of the great "Prune-face" from Dick Tracy). Sideways-face wasn't hitting his driver well that day. Well, he wasn't really hitting anything well, but his driver was the biggest banana-cut out of them all. So on the 15th he tells me that he doesn't want to see his driver for the rest of the round. He just wanted his 3-wood from here on out.

"Oh, not a problem sir."

So guess what happens on the 17th tee when I go to hand him a club? I hand him the driver. He just stares at me and asks for his 3-wood. Oops.

And then guess what I hand him as he's walking to the 18th tee? You guessed it. The big dog. His sideways-face almost righted itself he was so frustrated.

"NO. Dri-ver."

Like he was trying to sound it out for me. Crooked dickhead. Look, I'm sorry I forgot. But you've had me concentrating on other things today buddy.

So that's it for part one. Thanks for sticking with it.