Thursday, May 19, 2005

Part II: Abby, The Weather, and The Three Amigos

On Saturday morning I was still a little out of it thanks to the heat from Friday. Somehow I needed to focus because today was supposed to be a bitch. Crazy busy. Caddies were even throwing out the term “triple.” Just the thought of carrying two bags for 54 holes makes me twitch. It’s crazy talk. But the fact of the matter was, there wasn't a single open tee time all day long.

This morning was funny because I don't think I've seen that many people struggling to stay awake. Every caddie was turning away to yawn, and even my boss had apparently had a bit of a rough night (a little too much wine). He looked like a college student trying to stay awake in an 8 am class. Glassy-eyed and a little unkempt. Well, actually, very unkempt. It looked like he had fallen asleep on caulking or something. Either that or he was coming off a bad shoot for a new Mentos commercial. Remember that one where the guy in the suit accidentally sits down on the bench with the wet paint? So, in realistic fashion, the guy continues to roll around on the bench to make it look like his suit was supposed to have white lines all over it. So imagine almost that same look, except my boss just decided to roll around in crap. No straight lines, fresh breath, or a happy expression on his face. Just white crap all over his wrinkled windbreaker. It was hilarious watching caddies with wet towels take turns cleaning him off. It was like watching zookeepers wash an elephant or something. My boss would just stand there staring straight ahead with a clipboard in one hand while caddies would come by and raise one of his arms to clean underneath.

So after a thorough cleaning, we all started to gather outside to see who we'd be assigned to. After shooting the shit for a moment, my boss starts to focus on the tee sheet. As the wheels start to turn, he looks around to see who's with it and who isn't.

"Well, I can tell that Matty here is good to go for 36, Bob is always ready, and Tom...Tom THINKS he can do 36, but he'll come in after 18 and start bitching and moaning about how awful he feels."

Whoa now. That’s a wake-up call. I’m sorry, but it was freakin' hot yesterday and I wasn't prepared for it. Wait a second. Now that I think about it, my boss knew what he was doing. He knew I'd get pissed off and try to redeem myself, and that's exactly what he needed from me today anyway. So of course when he asked, "So Tom, you think you can you sack up a little today and pull a double?" I had to say HELL YES.

I was always a sucker for a guilt-trip.

My first loop was with a familiar caddie, and we'd each be carrying two bags. We also had a trainee following us around today, and yeah, I definitely forgot to talk to him the whole round. Well, maybe not so much "forgot" to talk as it was "didn't see the need to" talk to him. He seemed like a nice kid, but I had a job to do. I was taking care of my players and trying to keep the pace up today. I didn't really feel like I ever had time to talk to this kid. I mean, I felt bad, especially when the other caddie on the 18th turned to me and said, "Dude, we're just about to finish the round. Have you even TALKED to this kid yet?"

Well, yeah. I mean I DID introduce myself.

I think if I had some more experience under my belt I'd feel more comfortable talking to somebody else in the group. But I mean come on. I'm still fresh meat. I need to stay focused or I know I'll screw SOMETHING up. Just like I did the other day with Mr. Sideways-face.

One of the guys I was going to be caddying for was a member, and he was hilarious to say the least. His voice reminded me a lot of Kevin Nealon's character in Happy Gilmore. The guy introduced me to his bag of clubs for cryin' out loud.

"Now this is my driver, and as you can see it gets a little scuffed up from time to time. Here's my 3-wood, which I only have in my bag because I guess golfers are supposed to have 3-woods in their bags. This is my pitching wedge, which usually gets a lot of use. And this is Abby."

Abby was his putter. He named it Abby because it had a massive dog head-cover and supposedly reminded him of an old dog he used to have named Abby.

"Now I like to keep this putter very sharp looking, so try to keep the head-cover on as often as possible. For instance, when you go to hand the putter to me when I get on a green, hand it to me with the putter-cover on. I want to take Abby off myself."

Well alright then. If he was joking with me, he never showed it. Somehow, I think that was his real personality. Weird guy. But cool.

He and the other guy I caddied for were both good golfers, and I never had to work very hard to keep up because they were playing cart golf for most of the round. There were only two or three holes that they made me work a little on, and they usually spent a good portion of the hole being incredibly apologetic.

"Man, Tom's really making his money on this hole."

Or, "Sorry Tom. Let me just get a few clubs here and I'll get out of your way."

I wanted to say, "Don't worry about it. It's my job guys." But then I remembered that Woody Allen loop from the other day and simply reveled at how well this first round was going. And before I knew it, the round was over and I was racing out to grab some lunch before my next round at 1:30.

My second round turned out to be a forecaddying job for a fivesome with another caddie. Now by my calculations, that meant some MAJOR slacking needed to take place in order for this to work. I mean normally just ONE experienced caddie could easily handle this situation (and by "experienced" I'm referring to the other caddie here). But two? I was wondering if we'd have anything to do. And as it turned out, yes. We would have our hands full with these guys.

And it's not like they were horrible players. Well, let me rephrase that. Ahem. It's not like ALL of them were horrible players. There was just this one guy that needed me to help him decide what to do with EVERY SHOT. And it didn't stop there. Let me see if I can illustrate.

"Tom, would you hit a lob wedge here?"

Well, I would. Can YOU hit a lob wedge? That’s really the question you should ask yourself.

"Where should I aim?"

"Keep it a little right of the stick if you can."

"Should I try to put some backspin on it?"

"You really can't out of the rough."

"Oh. Well what about top-spin?"

You want to top it?

"I don't want it getting caught up in the rough before the green."

"Just give it a good swing. The club should take care of the rest."

Shank. Pause.

"So Tom. From here, would I really open the face?"

Wow. Here we go again.

But before I forget, I wanted to mention one more little tidbit: I was awesome on the greens for the second round. Every player was asking for a read. One of the players got so excited a couple of his putts dropped that he ran all the way across the green with a hand up signifying that he really really wanted me to slap it. It was like a little kid running up after a baseball game to his coach. It was pretty funny. But it looked weird because this guy was so big and scary looking. Guess he was just getting in touch with his inner child.

But then a few big-ass clouds moved in and some people in the clubhouse saw lighting, so they called everyone off of the course. My players decided to wait it out for a little while by the halfway house to see if it would blow over. Then that one guy came up to me again.

“So Tom, when do you think we’ll be able to get back out there and play? How many more holes do you think I should play? I have to get to the airport, do you think I should leave now? Should I even go to the airport? Should I get a beer? Do you like tacos?”

How have you lived this long? If Darwinism means anything, your kind should’ve been eliminated with the Dodo bird.

But the storm didn’t blow over. So we all headed back to the clubhouse. Yet, to my surprise, many of the players STILL decided to wait it out until they were sure they couldn’t play. I just didn’t get it. Heavy rain accented with LIGHTNING. 100% chance of rain tonight. And you still want to wait it out. I guess people will go through just about anything to play this course.

So they were all playing cards in the locker room, and I ended up falling asleep in the caddie room. I had been at the course since 7:15. It was 6 pm when we all headed back to the clubhouse. I was pooped.

I felt really bad though when the big scary man who liked slapping hands had to wake me up to tip me. I forgot the door to the caddie room was usually left open, and players often just came in and greeted their caddies. So I was fast asleep on the couch and he’s standing there with a respectable wad of cash probably wondering why he’s about to give me that respectable wad of cash. The rest was pretty much a blur. I just remember shaking his hand and running over to his bags and offering to bring them up to valet for him. I don’t remember what was said. I was just so tired. I felt drugged.

Alright. So Sunday. I get to forecaddie for three golfers who are all hung-over and are at the end of a 5 day golf-a-thon. The last four days went as follows: 18 holes, then 36, then 27, then 36, and then a final 18 today to finish off the trip. Quite an impressive itinerary. But these three all looked so depressed and sick. I was going to have to be very careful with what I said during this round. Anyone who’s ever had a really bad hangover could relate--even the sound of people talking makes you want to throw up. So for the first 5 holes or so, I was just pointing to their balls and giving the yardage, which I think they greatly appreciated.

Fortunately for me, my green-reading abilities from yesterday’s rounds carried over a bit, and so when these guys could finally handle a small conversation without feeling sick, they started asking for some reads and I started kicking some ass.

I think the best hole was number 9. All three of them hit the green on this par-3 and they were all about 20-30 feet from the hole. I read all of their putts, and they all knocked them in. Perfect reads. It was great.

To be honest, I think I would’ve liked to have those great reads fall a little closer to the end of the round, so the players could simply enjoy the finish and enjoy handing over a couple bills. But as it turned out, I lost some steam coming down the stretch and COMPLETELY screwed up my reads on 15, 17 and 18. So instead of them looking at me at the end of the round thinking to themselves: what a great caddie! They were probably looking at me the way a meat-lover looks at tofu. Because seriously, what a bland God-awful product. Anything you combine with tofu loses its flavor simply because it’s sitting next to it. Tofu is the black-hole of flavor. So yeah. These guys just looked at me and probably thought of tofu. Which is never good. And neither was the tip.

On a positive note, however, I started noticing that I can pretty much talk to anybody about anything. I guess it comes from all of my years of experience in customer service. Bartending especially.

One of the players was in real estate, so I was able to talk to him for a little while about the housing boom in Northern Virginia. Another guy was a car salesman (and yeah, he cringed when he said this to me), and so I asked him about the current decrease in sales of SUV’s. Could volatile gas prices cause this trend to continue?

In thinking about it, I think there are only three professions that people are embarrassed to admit that they actually DO for a living: car salesman, telemarketer, and lawyer. Random comment, I know, but it’s true. I’m sure there are probably others, but I think people tend to try and avoid these people more often than not.


Bryan said...

You know, if you have ever heard Chris Rock, there was one time in his shows where he talked about OJ Simpson, and he said

"Every morning I wake up and run to the mailbox looking for my OJ Prize...nothing..."

Thats how I feel coming to your site. I get excited coming to find out what I am going to read next.

Another great posting by , ahem.. TOM...

You know, there are 4 professions actually that people don't want to admit.

The 3 you mentioned, and the final one, Al Bundy, a women's shoe salesman :)

Good post again...

Jam Boy said...

Yep. Guess there are four. And I have heard that Chris Rock clip. I'm glad I'm giving you your OJ prize every time you read. That was really my goal all along you know. Well, that and changing my name to Tom. I think while I'm at it I should declare a last name too. Tom Collins. Sounds perfect. Take it easy man.

Bryan said...

"a little birdie told me your favorite drink was a Tom Collins"

--ok, maybe that isn't the exact quote from Meet the Fockers, but damn close :)

mediaguru @ said...

Garbage man, er a.....waste collector.

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