Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's A Festivus MIRACLE

So I know I originally said that I would be all drugged-up and barely coherent when I sat down to write this post, and despite my best efforts to achieve that state, I'm actually quite conscious and awake right now.

I hit a tree while I was skiing and broke my collar bone about 2 years ago and part of my consolation prize for doing so was a set of the best "pain-go-bye-bye" pills modern science had to offer (I suppose other than Morphine): hydrocodone. You feel like a crack-addict when you take it because the codone makes your nose and face itch to the point where you look like Tyrone Biggums talking to a group of 1st graders about the wonders of dog food. But it's an amazing drug. And for anyone who has broken their collar bone, you know how painful it can be and so having a drug in your possession that can kick the living snot out of any discomfort is a Godsend.

Well while I was taking the hydrocodone I realized halfway through it that I was starting to become a little addicted. Because you feel pretty damn relaxed when you take it. So even when I started feeling a lot better and didn't necessarily need to take it, I WOULD just to get that feeling again. Fortunately, I realized what was happening and went cold turkey asap. But, that meant that I had 4 or 5 pills left to use.

Well, time went on and I used a couple of them here and there during some high-stress times in my life when I just couldn't seem to sleep. And again, the pills came through in the clutch.

I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that I am incredibly pissed off right now that my Valium has worn off and I can't find my hydrocodone pills anywhere. Now again, I'm not addicted, but I really want to make sure I sleep as long as possible to insure proper healing after this whole Lasik thing I had done today. Well, I suppose I do have some NyQuil. That will have to do.

So what the hell happened today?

Well, I woke up this morning around 9 and couldn't seem to get myself out of bed until 10. It was one of those mornings where I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I WANTED to get up and eat, but then again I also really wanted to go back to sleep. I WANTED to go work out, but I also needed to deposit some money in the bank so I wasn't sure if I was going to have time. So I was all KINDS of confused this morning. And quite lazy.

I appointment was at 12:30, and as I was lying on my INCREDIBLY comfortable air-mattress I started to think about how long it would take me to drive down. I think that's what finally got me off my ass and into gear this morning. So I ended up rushing around depositing some sweet cash in the bank, working out, and rushing down in the 100+ degree weather in my freakin' dumb-ass car with no air conditioning to walk in the door drenched in sweat right at 12:30. One of the doctor's assistants even had the door open waiting for me when I arrived. First class all the way baby. Then again, for $2500, they had BETTER open the door for me. They better do a LOT of things for me. I want strippers, midgets, and rivers of BEER running through the operating room. Def Leppard's "Jump" should be playing in the background, and Lewis Black should be doing stand-up in the waiting room. Yeah, that's the stuff.

So the assistant sits me down in one of the offices and has me sign the waiver, the confidentiality agreement (whatever the hell THAT is for...I mean, I'm telling EVERYONE about my procedure ANYWAY) and asks me if I'd like some Valium for after the surgery.

Umm. Hell yes?

Then comes time for the payment. Now, the ball for this whole experience started rolling the day I caddied for this guy in one of the club's member-guests. My boss specifically told me before the round started, "Please be nice to this guy. He's one of the top laser-surgeon's in the country and my finance wants to get her eyes done. It's freakin' expensive and I ain't going to pay full price."

So okay. I'll work my ass off and be nice to him. Kinda like what I do EVERY FREAKIN' DAY.

So the round went splendidly. I mean, this doctor was paired up with my old buddy Mr. Nice-Guy, so how could it NOT go well. I didn't even mention the idea of Lasik the entire round, and at the end when I was about to be tipped, the good doctor said to me, "Tom, I'm kind of low on cash at the moment, could I offer you some kind of professional service or something? Like a few free eye-exams?"

"Well, to be honest, I HAVE been thinking about getting Lasik for a while now."

Pause.

"How old are you?"

"24."

"Have your eyes stopped changing?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Well, why don't you stop into my office soon and we'll see if you're golden. My instincts tell me you are. I'll even give you the 'nurse's discount.'"

The "nurse's discount." This is the key phrase. So I took him up on his offer. I stopped into his office one day and had the free consultation and everything checked out beautifully. I met with one of his associates before I left.

"Blah blah blah. Now I haven't given you a price yet on the procedure because I understand the doctor wants to extend some sort of professional courtesy to you. So I'll call you in about a week to let you know what you'll be paying."

But the call never came. I finally called on Monday out of SHEER CURIOSITY and was SHOCKED and APPALLED. $2900. Are you kidding me? That's the normal price? Discount my ass.

But then I thought about it for a second. As a caddie, I have absolutely NOTHING to offer this guy. I can't really give him anything back in return. Of COURSE he should think TWICE about extending me any sort of "courtesy." Maybe even THREE times. But then again, I was a little pissed because he said he was going to offer me SOMETHING, and decided to be a little-bitch-Indian-giver.

So back to my story. So I'm sitting in this office signing papers before the surgery and the assistant tells me, "Now tell me, is your Dad paying for this?"

A sphincter says what?

"No. I'll be paying for it."

Pause.

"Will you hold on just a sec?"

"Sure."

And so she leaves the room. I mean, to be honest, as long as I can afford it, I really don't care how much this surgery costs. Because I see it as priceless. I've been so blind since 4th grade it hasn't even been CLOSE to being funny. Even now with glasses I'm having trouble seeing the freakin' ball land in the fairway. It's time for a change.

So she comes back about 5 minutes later.

"Yes, it looks like he would like to extend you a little bit of a discount. $2500."

Done and done.

And 5 minutes later, I had on a little shower-cap and booties over my shoes. Soon I was walking down a very blurry, dimly lit hallway and off in the distance I could see a beautiful white light. The surgery room. The door was open, I shook hands with the doctor, and his two assistants lead me around the table and helped me into my form-fitting chair (so as to prevent any movement during the procedure). They helped me get into position. And then they proceeded to hand me a stuffed-animal. To hold for uhh...comfort.

I laughed. "Oh no guys, I don't need this."

"Oh don't worry. We're not taking any pictures. Just hold onto it."

Numbing eye-drops were used, and then the chair was rotated underneath the laser. I was a little nervous at this point, because they had literally JUST put those damn numbing-drops into my eyes. Shouldn't you freakin' WAIT a second before you start this procedure?

I clenched the stuffed animal. Calm down. Stop being such a fucking BABY.

Two tape-like strips were placed above and below my right eye to keep the lids open, and before I knew it they had covered my left eye and surrounded my right eye with this suction-like thing that started to suck my eye slightly out of the socket.

Now I wouldn't say it was "painful." But it definitely wasn't comfortable either. I believe they did this for two reasons. First, and most importantly, it made it easier for the doctor to work on my eye. Secondly, and perhaps just as important, was the fact that my vision went black. So I couldn't see any part of that first incision. Which is a good thing.

But I definitely felt it. Again, I clutched that freakin' stuffed animal. Man, these guys weren't kidding. The stuffed animal was a good idea. Even if I am a huge freakin' pussy.

So the incision was made, the suction thing was taken off, and the flap was pulled open via a bitch-load of lubricating drops and soft brush-like instrument. Then I had to look into a blinking light as they shot my cornea with this clicking-laser for about 30-40 seconds. I can only assume that it took 30-40 seconds because my vision was so poor to begin with. Individuals with better vision would probably only have to endure this clicking thing for all of 5-10 seconds. But no. Not for me. I needed several ROCKET blasts fired directly at the heart of my cornea to bring down the blind beast.

Then the flap was folded back over and carefully centered into its original position through the use of that brush tool and then I heard some of the sweetest words EVER.

"You should already see a bit of a difference. Right?"

Holy crap. Yeah. As soon as the flap was back into place I could see the under-side of the machine a little clearer. Weird.

Then it was time for the other eye.

"Now don't be surprised if you have even MORE of a sensation with this eye. It's very common."

Great. More stuffed-animal squeezing.

But the rest of the procedure was fine. And as soon as it was complete, they brought me into the wonderful world of "normal" vision with the standard question of: "Tom, can you see the clock on the wall over there?"

"Yes."

"Can you tell me what time it is?"

"Sure. It's 1 pm."

"Excellent."

Pause. Now I knew my vision was better, but I wanted to make sure it would CONTINUE to progress in that direction. I mean hey, my vision was STILL a little blurry. I HAD to ask.

"Hey Doc? Is this the best my vision is going to get?"

"No! Why does EVERY patient say that? Of course it will get better. Exponentially better. Just wait until tomorrow morning. And remember, no hugs in the parking lot."

No worries Doc. You already have me feeling a little weird holding this stuffed animal (which turned out to be a good idea in some AMAZINGLY HETEROSEXUAL type of way). No hugs required.

And that was it. They took back their booties and shower cap, that awesome stuffed animal, and $2500 of my hard-earned cash. But you know what? I have a great feeling this is going to be well worth it.

The only other thing worth mentioning were the cookies they gave me. Now I'm not sure if Valium is SUPPOSED to give you the munchies, but I was definitely loving those cookies they gave me. Mrs. Fields. Priceless. I bet 2000 calories existed in that little bag, but by golly, I ate every last crumb. It was awesome.

So I just drank some NyQuil. So I got that gone' for me. Which is nice. Take care everyone. I think my next "few" posts (could be a crapload) should be a little crazy. I have a feeling I'm going to be in a very good mood for quite some time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Day Before The Day

So tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we'll see if modern science has evolved enough to handle these two nearsighted orbs stuck in my skull some choose to call "eye-balls."

I mean, "they" just launched another Shuttle into space. Shooting lasers at a blind-guy's head should be no problem, right?

Well let's look at today first. Today I was to play the role of Caddie Master / Starter. It is a role I've grown to dislike as of late, thanks to the stubbornness of the current members. It seems that many of the members do not see the need for taking a caddie, and so my job has become more of a "Sales Associate" than that of a "kick-ass Caddie Master in training," or a "KACMIT" if you will.

By the way: it's pronounced "caaaahhhhhhhkkkkkkkkMITT."

I cringe just thinking about trying to make a sale. You see, I worked as an insurance salesman for AFLAC before I decided to become a caddie (a common story), and in all honesty, I really don't have anything bad to say about the company itself. It was just what they expected me to DO that I wasn't too keen on.

"So let me get this straight. You want me to walk into this business, a business with a large sign on the door that says 'no soliciting,' ask to see the manager with no other reason than that of 'because I want to,' ask him if I can sit in his office and have 10 (but you really mean 15-20) minutes of his time, and then you want me to make an appointment to come back and close the sale by signing up all of his employees?"

"Yeah. That's about it."

"Just one question."

"Yeah?"

"Are you FUCKING NUTS?"

"Hahahaha...that's a good one Tom. You're so funny! You're going to be great! Hey, after we're done here, do you want to meet up later and listen to motivational tapes together or something? Or what about quizzing each other on that new addendum to Medicare? Medicaid even? What do you say buddy?"

"I have to get out of here."

And so that's what I did. I lasted a solid month. And then I ran straight to the golf course as soon as I heard about working as a caddie and never looked back. Until now. Now the sales training I had received was creeping back with each step I took toward another prospective member.

Remember to smile. Equal pressure and eye-contact on the handshake. Come in with your palm facing a little towards the sky in order to simulate a submissive position. He is in control. Say his name three times in your head to help you remember it later. Confidence. He has no idea you're a little new to this. Let's try the inquisitive approach to start.

"Well how are you sir? Just a quick question before you head out. I'm still new here and I'm training as a Starter / Caddie Master--"

"Oh really? Well that sounds like a good deal."

"Yes, yes. It's working out so far. But I was just curious: have you had a chance to try-out using one of our caddies? I've HEARD they've been doing a great job, but I'm only here once or twice a week so I don't get the feedback from the members like the regular Caddie Master does. Any comments?"

"Well, I haven't used a caddie yet."

REAAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYY.

"You don't say. Well have you heard anything about them?"

"I've heard they're doing a great job."

Heh. Alright. Time for the sell.

"Well that's good. So, how many do you have in your group today?"

"Four. We have four today."

"Care to try out a caddie today? Give me some feedback?"

"Oh no thanks. Me and the rest of my foursome would like to sweat our nads off. We would like to sweat SO MUCH that we pass out and piss ourselves. But thank you for the offer. I'll keep that in mind the NEXT time I come out to play. Because I would like to see how well your caddies' do."

Crap.

"You sure you don't want to try using a caddie today?"

"Oh absolutely. I HEART dehydration."

Oh well. And that's about how it went for the other 10-15 members I confronted today. And it breaks your heart to look back into the caddie yard and see 5 or 6 kids giving you that puppy-dog face because you just KNOW that you're holding their careers in your hands every time you step up and claim to be the Caddie Master.

Because of the heat today (it was up around 105 with the humidity) a lot of the tee-times were cancelled, and so even the caddies who were REQUESTED to work were sent home without a loop. It was so disheartening. I mean, I WASN'T giving up for these kids. But I mean, come on. If the member doesn't want a caddie, there's really not a lot I can do.

And that was pretty much my day. Caddies' coming in to work, members saying they NEVER fully understood WHY a caddie even EXISTED, the pro shop calling me with cancellations, and my brother's in arms were sent home without any money in their pockets.

You know, I think that's the one aspect of being a Caddie Master I do not like. Everything else is no problem: training caddies, keeping caddies in line, being a role model, eating lots of donuts, whatever. I can do all of that. But I hope I don't have to SELL caddies all the time. I mean sure, there has to be SOME selling involved, otherwise my boss wouldn't have some of the commission / incentive programs he has for Caddie Master's. But you can't sell all the time. Or at least, I can't sell all the time.

But as for tomorrow: I have to be into the hospital by 12:30, my operation is at 1, and by 1:30 I'll be so pumped up on Valium I'll be sleeping on my feet. I get my ride home, sleep for a while, take some more drugs, sleep some more, and then, for the enjoyment of my favorite readers, I will sit at the computer and type. I promise. I don't care what comes out of me, I will type it. No editing, and no stopping until I pass out. I want to tell you guys how the operation went. And then on Thursday, WATCH OUT. I'm going to be INSANE. The thought of being able to see like NORMAL people makes me want to drink a soda after throwing some Pop-Rocks in my mouth. I'm just going NUTS man. "Urban-legend" nuts.

So take care everyone. Tomorrow is a big day.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Before I Forget Part 2

So when I came in to be a Caddie Master this morning two caddies showed up. Fine. They said they were told to go on the loop I had planned for them anyway. That’s fine. But then a third caddie came into the yard. I was a little confused.

“Are you supposed to be going out on that loop?”
”Fuck yeah dude. Why is Mike going on that loop instead of me?”

“Well…he told me that loop was assigned to him.”

“That’s fucking BULLSHIT man! I need money! I can’t just come into work for NOTHING!”

Crap. Do I have to pull that other kid off of the loop and chew him out for being a liar?

“Do you want me to say something to this kid?”

“No dude. Forget it.”

“No, let’s grab a cart here and talk to him.”

So I pull up to the range where this caddie is, motion for him to come over and talk with us, and just as I’m about to open my mouth, I hear:

“What the FUCK is your problem man? You need to get off of this loop. This is MY LOOP.”

“Umm…I was assigned to this loop.”

“Oh. Okay, fine.”

And then we drove off with this caddie in my cart bitching away.

(swig)

Startin’ to feel it a little bit. MAN I’m a light-weight.

So now I’m all nervous that I’ve screwed up the morning loops. Great. So I call the Caddie Master (who will be arriving around 11:30) to see if what I did was kosher, and I get no answer.

I’m STHUPER thanks for asking!

So now there’s nothing for me to do until 11:30-12 when this shotgun starts to congeal like a…a…oh crap. Time to get out the ol’ dictionary to pick out a Pee-Wee Herman secret word of the day.

Umm…okay. Got it. Romance? No way. That word sucks my left nut. Let me try again. Increment. Okay. Let’s see what I can do with THAT highly linear and worthless… MAN it’s hot in here. I’m going to go turn on the air conditioning.

And with that, let’s open up another beer.

There we go. I need to make sure I enjoy this beer in small INCREMENTS to make sure I’m focused enough to be understandable. Or not. But either way, I used the secret word. That’s right bitches.

So to quell this caddies’ bitch-fest, I decided to bring him back down to the caddie-room and putt on the carpet for money.

And yes, I’m sure that sounds really bad. Really really bad.

So we’re putting with his putter. Man. How can I make this NOT sound incredibly homosexual. Got it. So we were playing for big money. Or, well, at FIRST it was next to nothing.

“$2 for this game?”

And then it changed a bit.

“$2 for this putt?”

And then mutated.

“$160 for this putt?”

I’m not kidding. We placed two tees on the floor in order to simulate a hole. Yes, I know a NORMAL hole is 4.25 inches, but we weren’t that exact. But it was close. They were standing up like field-goal posts and when a player putted the ball, if he went in-between the tees it was 2 points, if he knocked over one of the tees it was 1 point, and if he missed the tees altogether it was 0 points. A game was 10 points and you had to win by 2. I won 2/3 games and figured we were about finished. Well, no. We had a long way to go. This game was just getting started.

“Alright, well I’m down $3 to you after that game. How about we see who can get the highest score off of one putt? I’ll bet you $3.”

Well, since I really didn’t WANT to take any money off of him, as long as I was safe from LOSING money I didn’t see any reason not to gamble.

So I won the first putt. Now he was betting me $6 a putt. Then $12. Then $24. My God. He just kept choking and I was Brad Faxon. Then, all of a sudden, I was up $160. So of course he wanted to putt for $160 dollars. Are you kidding me? If I were to make this and we stopped playing, I’d win $320? That’s insane. We’re in a freakin’ caddie room putting on a rug. We’re not even outside. $320? Okay. It’s your world boss. I’m just visiting.

And that reminds me. Not sure if I told you guys, but my boss flew me down to Florida to check out a new account. So Sunday through Tuesday I was in meet-and-greet mode trying to figure out if this offer from Florida would make sense to me. I’d be an Assistant Caddie Master, and if things go well, he’ll want to get me my own account someday. Okay. Piece of cake.

So I guess you could say things are going well at work. And oh boy did things go well on the trip. I got drunk with my boss in the airport bar before we boarded the plane to fly down, he showed me around some of the bars down there when we arrived, I was able to play golf with my boss and this new head-pro and birdied the final two holes to show them I can strike a golf ball even WITH the whippiest set of rentals I’ve EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. I went out with my boss that night to a restaurant called “Mulligans” (awesome, I know) and proceeded to challenge him to a drinking contest.

“Alright boss. We’re going drink-for-drink.”

“Okay.”

What? No pause? You mean I actually have to follow through with this? The guy weighs 50-60 pounds more than I do. AND I’m a light-weight. I’m screwed. And after the first couple of drinks, he announces to the bartender and some of the other patrons, “Now, based on sheer MASS and the way he’s pronouncing his ‘S’s’, do you think he’ll beat me?”

Of COURSE everyone said no.

Then a shot of SoCo and lime. Then another random concoction of the bartender’s. And then things got a little hazy, and the next thing I know I’m jumping over the fence at our hotel because the gate with the code wouldn’t work. So we parked illegally with our rental car (the “Cougar”) and hopped the fence where I’m SURE we were videotaped. Then I pass out.

I wake up the next morning on the pull-out bed in the living room of our suite. About 5 minutes later, the head pro walks INTO THE ROOM. My whole job while I’m down here is to impress this guy and make him feel comfortable giving me an annual salary while I have the time of my life and I’m freakin’ sleeping in the same clothes as last night. I’m most definitely looking like Bobby Brown AND Mike Tyson’s bitch and I feel like crap. It was one of those hangovers where even the sound of a gerbil farting gave me a headache. But as it turns out, the head pro was incredibly cool.

“What did you guys DO last night?”

“Oh, he tried to go drink-for-drink with me. And you’re looking at the result.”

GREAT START. Thanks boss. Although, there’s really no way OUT of this problem gracefully.

(swig)

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about YOU little one.

“You know, these suites are really nice. This is the first time I’ve ever been in here.”

So I chimed in with, “Yeah. I christened the pull-out last night.”

Pause.

“Well I HOPE not.”

What? Oh. Peeing in it. Har har. Nope. Haven’t had THAT pleasure yet. But don’t worry, I definitely SHIT A BRICK when you just walked in Mr. Head Golf Professional at my FUTURE PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT.

But he was just cool. That’s the only way to describe him. He’s very laid back, extremely tolerant of another individual’s lifestyle (obviously, and to tell you the truth, I’m a little shocked at how much of this Florida experience involved alcohol. Am I going to be screwed come November?”

So then the head pro and my boss left together for their “meeting” and I was left to take a shower and wait for the newly appointed Caddie Master to arrive and meet up with me. So I hopped in the shower. It was awful. So painful. I felt like I was lying on a bed of rusty, herpes-ridden nails. With scabs on them. Oh yeah. You heard me. Big freakin’ scabs.

But seriously. The water was shooting out at me. I was like, “Dude, what the hell did I DO to you?” I’ve never had to take a shower and GUARD my freakin’ NADS. I’ve NEVER seen water shoot out like that. I told my boss about it later and he believed it was because they used 1-inch piping instead of 2-inch. SO much pressure. I can only hope my kids don’t come out with half a FACE someday.

But other than the abusive shower, the day was great. I met up with my new partner (the appointed Caddie Master), went over to the new account, and simply ogled my surroundings for about an hour before I left with my boss to grab something to eat and head back home. This course is MASSIVE. Links-oriented, 7400 from the back tees and a HIGH SLOPE RATING in freakin’ FLORIDA. Florida. Home of the flat-chested golf course. Now, there’s nothing WRONG with a flat-chested golf course. Flat-chested things can be fun. But Florida is not known for having courses with rolling hills and a feeling of PRIVACY. It’s a double edged sword out in this area. There isn’t a whole lot to do around the golf course (like more drinking I suppose), but the fact that you’re so secluded is such a nice change of pace from the normal hustle and bustle of Florida golf. Golf courses are NORMALLY around tourist traps and famous cities. And yes, I am a FREAKIN’ EXPERT on the subject. So please, correct me if I’m wrong. But this course was just BEAUTIFUL. And UNIQUE. Take the 10th hole for example. You tee off down a hill onto an ISLAND PAR 5. That’s right. The fairway, rough, bunkers, trees, and green are all contained on an ISLAND hole. I’ve never seen anything like it. And to make it over the water onto the fairway from the back tees you’d need to carry the ball 260 at LEAST.

“How long is this course from the tips?”

“Around 7400. But nobody plays the tips. Nobody. I mean, why would you?”

Because you’d like to say you did. Like a MAN.

But I was just floored. The clubhouse is gorgeous, the course is gorgeous, the practice area is HUGE, the caddie area is PLUSH and will be much nicer than my current caddie accommodations, and I get to work for a head professional that’s cooler than cool. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my winter than to go down to Florida and work at such an amazing place.

Although, that means I’ll have to learn how to be a Caddie Master. Which brings me back to this morning.

(swig)

So what was ACTUALLY supposed to happen was this 3rd caddie who came in was assigned to go with another group who never decided to show up. And he’s another fan of mary-jane, so of course he’s flipping out because he thinks he got screwed on another loop. In all actuality, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Of course, I found this out from the Caddie Master when he came in, which of course made me feel like a huge jack-ass. If I had actually been able to LISTEN to the phone conversation we had the night before, everything would’ve been fine. I hope I can get into this whole caddie-mastering thing. I have a better future getting into THAT gig than remaining a caddie. I mean sure, I can caddie part time, but “caddie mastering” is the way to go.

Alright. Well that is the end of both the beer and my stories for now. I need to get some sleep before work tomorrow. Thanks for being patient with me everyone. Have a great night.

Before I Forget Part 1

So I was walking up the stairs this evening after I came home and I started thinking about why I felt full. I was thinking: well this is weird. I haven’t eaten very much today, this is NORMALLY the time that I eat, and I feel perfectly content.

So I started changing. I got comfortable, sat down in my chair, and continued to reflect upon this incredible mystery: why am I full right now? Are the planets aligned? Have I starved myself to the point of satisfaction? Am I incapable of feeling hunger from this day forward?

And then it hit me: I just ate at Chipotle 30 minutes ago.

Well isn’t THAT wonderful. I’m losing my mind. Didn’t think that would happen until I hit that mid-life crisis around 40, but I suppose I’m just getting a head start.

What is wrong with me? How could I completely BLANK on something so stupid?

Now I’m concerned. And with that concern came two of the best ideas I’ve ever had: Tom, first, you need to grab a beer.

Done.

Is it a dark beer?

Yes.

High quality?

Surprisingly, yes.

More than one available?

Wow. I’m like 4/4 or something.

Secondly, I need to write. This is one of the first opportunities I’ve had in the last week to write, and I need to capitalize. But, because SO MUCH has happened to me in the last week, and I want to get it all out before I forget these wonderful memories like the freakin’ Chipotle burrito I had for like $8.27 (a magnificent number by the way) 30 minutes ago, I need to write down everything at once. So at this point, I need to declare a state of entropy for this website. Now I’m not proud of it. Normally I like to have some sort of chronological order or method to my madness, but throughout this post (as I hope you will see) I am going to embark on some of the biggest tangents you’ve ever seen. I’m going to set the world record. If such a thing could be scientifically quantified for study, that “random walk down Wall Street” could be reduced to a freakin’ Special-Ed kid riding through New York City on a blue bus.

You see where I’ll be going with this post? Hide your kids. Don’t tell your mother. I hope any of you women aren’t pregnant, and I hope nobody has a stroke. You guys are about to enter my brain.

Oh, wait. Hang on a second. I need to crack open this beer and take a big swig. Oh wow. That was almost better than sex. Almost.

Okay, so today. Today I was driving over to another account to continue my Jedi training as a Caddie Master.

Last night the current Caddie Master called me and said he had everything all set up: two groups were going out in the morning, he had 3 caddies coming in to fill the slots, and I was to read a good book and help him out in the afternoon with a WOMEN’S Member-Guest. Never heard of that before. But it should be fun. Kind of like beating yourself with a hammer.

The only problem with this phone call was that I was COMPLETELY worn out.

Why was I worn out? Because yesterday I sat from 9 am to 5:30 pm before I got out on my loop. I was supposed to go out at 3:30, but the group decided they needed more time in their precious meeting, so I didn’t see anybody out in the circle until 5:30.

The loop itself was alright.

(swig)

I mean, I guess is was alright.

(swig)

I uhhh…saw another man’s penis.

(rather large swig)

Yeah, crap. For the first 5 holes, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Why? I was forecaddying for 6 people. Yeah, that’s right. 6. The other caddie? Yeah, he was caddying for 2 people. And after 4 holes, one of them left. Meanwhile, I’m running like a speed freak at girls’ soccer practice with drunk men screaming out things like, “how far do I have?” or “where should I hit it?” or “I wish I had a FUCKING PENIS.”

And yes, that last comment? The guy whiffed a chip and felt a little bad about it. But I was all over the place. And on the 5th hole, after raking the bunker and running across the fairway to help out one of these “Special-Ed” kids find their ball, I came across a cart in the middle of the fairway. On the other side, a drunk man decided it would be a great spot to pee. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE relieving myself. But right in the middle of the fairway FACING towards the freakin’ hole so some poor caddie has to feel awkward around you even though we’d never date and I’m not gay and your mom’s a whore and I heart good beer and Chinese Checkers has no point and I’ve never tried to light a fart.

Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt right then. And come to think of it, I didn’t actually look down at the thing. The guy locked eyes with me and tried to make small talk while we BOTH tried to pretend he was doing something else. My God. At this course? Really? Anyway.

(swig)

DAMN this beer is good.

So these guys only played like 8 holes because they realized there was this little thing called sunlight that made a habit of going away at night. I mean I was just a flabbergasted as these guys, but I decided to trust their instincts and help them pick a few good holes to finish on.

And by the end, I was tipped better than if I had forecaddied for them all 18 holes. So that was pretty sweet. It was almost worth the awkward fortnight I spent trying not to notice this guy watering that beautiful fairway. Bastard.

So I finished the loop around 9 pm. So I had been at the course for 12 hours.

So you can bet your bottom dollar when this Caddie Master called me I wasn’t about to remember what the color RED looked like. Well unbeknownst to me but now knownst to the rest of us, that little piece of forgotten information would make me look bad in the morning. Surprise surprise.

Did you guys know I have 2 pictures of Jennifer Aniston on my desk? Both of them are signed, one is fake, one is real. It’s nice to have them on my desk, don’t get me wrong, but every so often I get pissed because I never got to meet her in person for that ONE real signature. And to be honest, I’m not sure WHERE that comment came from or WHERE my initial fascination of Jennifer Aniston came from, but you know what? I said it anyway, and I don’t care. I love that girl. I was initially bummed because Brad Pitt had her, which I got used to after a while because I really respected his acting abilities, but I tell you. After this divorce and my separation with my girlfriend, the SKY is the limit my friends. THE SKY. You hear that Jennifer? THE FREAKIN’ SKY.

Wow. Wouldn’t THAT look good if she was reading this right now and came to the INCORRECT conclusion that I’m a bit of a “weirdo.” Well, maybe that’s pretty true. But I tell you, I can be normal. I know it can be done. So don’t give up on me yet Jen.

Ahem. Sorry. Wait. Why the hell am I apologizing? There’s no reason for it. You guys decided to keep reading and go a little further into my brain WHILE I’m drinking incredibly tasty beer. It’s not MY problem you guys don’t understand what’s going on. That’s it. I have HAD it. No more apologies. If you can’t follow me, you can just shit-a-brick or something on your neighbor’s freakin’ LAWN for all I care.

I’m having so much fun writing right now that my ARMPITS ARE SWEATING. Doesn’t that happen to you when you start to rant? Ahem. Attention all deodorant providers. Send me free stuff so I can write without incident.

(swig)

Damn damn damn. It’s a shame this stuff doesn’t come out of a woman’s breasts when they LACTATE. I mean sure, milk is good. But what about when the boys grow up? That would be awesome. Then again, how productive would our society be if good beer came out of women’s breasts? Wow. There’s an economic dilemma. I mean, forget the Great Depression. Men wouldn’t know what to do with themselves, and women wouldn’t know what to do with the men. Productivity / Reproduction would halt for like 15 YEARS until the men built up a big enough tolerance to actually do something OTHER than enjoying breast beer.

Okay. End of that little side-track. Not really sure if that would ever happen, so I don’t really think it’s worth debating.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Using A Caddie

Recently Rich from Eat Golf posted an article asking me to try and come up with a list of things players should remember to “make a typical caddie's day better.” Most people, after reading some of the posts on this site, will come to the obvious conclusion that I’ve caddied for a few “assholes” over the past few months. So having somebody ask me to come up with some sort of unofficial guide for players’ to use was a very nice gesture. I jumped right on the idea.

After doing some free-writing I realized that it would be nearly impossible to come up with a numbered list and say, “There’s your damn list. Everything you need to know about using a caddie is right there. There’s nothing more to discuss.” Because let’s face it, there are some strange things happening on the golf course every single day. Take today for example. Today one of the caddies said that while he was playing golf the other day, he looked over on one of the other holes and saw two people having sex in a cart. Well, I guess TECHNICALLY it wasn’t IN the cart, but half of her body was definitely bent over one of the seats. I mean come on: even if a player was trying his or her best to make the caddies’ life easier, the relationship of the caddie / player just became rather awkward. I mean, neither individual knows if that’s something the OTHER person would like to see, and there’s really nothing you can suggest as far as “etiquette” is concerned to get you out of the situation. Or here’s another one: what if your caddie has to take a shit so bad that he grabs your towel and hustles off into the woods? Now it’s NOBODY’S fault. It was just something that NEEDED to happen. But there are no RULES I can give you to handle a situation like that. So I approached this “list” as more of a work-in-progress than anything even CLOSE to resembling gospel. Here we go.

On Using a Caddie…

Don’t be afraid to throw your ball to a caddie on the green for cleaning, and if you just happen to take a huge divot and need your club cleaned immediately because you need to use it again, feel free to ask the caddie to help you out. Hey, it’s part of what we do.

Understand that your caddie may have stayed up late the night before playing poker and drinking, so it may take him 2 holes to warm up and get into a good groove. But don’t worry. He’ll be on the ball soon enough, so please try and cut him a little slack.

On the greens: don’t ostracize your caddie after a couple of bad reads. He’s only human. Wait until he fucks up 3 in a row. THEN you can call him names. “Stevie Wonder” is always popular.

To help guarantee that your caddie does the best job possible, do NOT burden him with drinks to carry or excess baggage such as umbrellas or rain gear (if it is a REALLY sunny day out do NOT assume it will rain).

ALWAYS trust a caddie on a yardage. The minute you don’t, you’ll be giving yourself more work and affecting your playing partners’ games because they will begin to question their caddies’ abilities as well.

Remember that the higher your ball flight, the harder it is to see when someone is in a forecaddie position. So don’t blow up at your caddie when he asks you where your ball went. Yes, a caddie asking a player where his ball is the entire ROUND is a BAD thing, but this shouldn’t happen very often. So please be kind when it does.

If you’re playing a course where there’s a snack bar or something at the turn, offer to buy your caddie a Gatorade. Human beings burn a SHITLOAD of calories while caddying. Help replenish your caddie’s energy a bit. It’s sort of like refueling a car. And your caddie will thank you. He’ll be working double-time on the back nine.

Ask your caddie his handicap. That will give you a good idea about how much advice you can really ask for. If the caddie doesn’t even KNOW what a handicap is, run away. If the caddie’s a scratch, understand that he might offer you some shot selections that you might not be able to pull off. Either way, it’s a good idea to see where the caddie’s advice stands relative to your ability.

On the same token, it’s a good idea to ask your caddies’ how long they’ve been working at the course. Green-reading ability is invaluable, and unless your caddie spends the majority of his time smoking crack (I mean who DOESN'T), long-term employment at the club usually correlates with a higher aptitude on the greens. If the caddie HASN’T worked at the course for very long, I would STILL suggest asking him for advice. Two heads are normally better than one, and by asking a caddie to help you with a putt, you’re HELPING him learn how to read the greens. The best green-readers are forged in fire. They STILL carry scars from bad reads that cost their players'. All it takes is time. Help your caddie improve.

NOTE: GOOD CADDIES KNOW TO OFFER A READ ONLY WHEN ASKED. If the first thing your caddie does when he walks onto a green is start to read your putt, feel free to tell them they’re not doing their job correctly. I HATE it when caddies shirk some of their other duties around the greens just to read a putt they weren’t even ASKED to read. Remember, you’re paying your caddie for services rendered. If you don’t feel like they’re helping you out, give them a warning, and if they still don’t listen, count it against them in their tip. Or tell them they need to be replaced and carry your own bag. Because some caddies just don’t get it, and we need YOU the golfer to help straighten them out. Again, don’t be nervous or try to empathize with your caddie if they’re doing a crappy job. Out on the golf course, the Caddie Master isn’t their boss. You are.

Another aspect of caddying, which I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, is that we’re never supposed to SPEAK unless SPOKEN TO. Now I understand that rule is in place to protect players’ from caddies who can’t seem to shut up, but I mean COME ON. The whole experience for the golfer and the caddie is so much more enjoyable if there is a good line of communication established throughout the round. So players, give your caddies several chances to talk with you. I’ve found that most caddies have led incredibly interesting lives. You’ll probably learn something.

As far as I know, the three golden rules of caddying are as follows: never lose a player’s ball, keep up the pace of play and never speak unless spoken to. We’ve gone over one of those so far. Let’s look at the other two. Pace of play: if a caddie tells you to start picking things up, he’s only doing his job, so don’t get upset and count it against him. In addition, by keeping the pace of play up, you’re saving your caddie a lot of ridicule after the round is over, because the caddies behind you will definitely let him HAVE IT if their rounds were slowed down because of your slow-ass play. Lost balls: if a caddie loses your ball in the rough, he’s not fulfilling one of his promises to you. Now I for one am not a HUGE stickler for this, because some courses have rough so tall you can only see the ball if you’re right on top of it and just happen to be looking straight DOWN. So I would say that unless you’re playing in a tournament or a very serious match, don’t worry about it, console your caddie and tell him everything is going to be alright. If the caddie loses your ball TWICE, ehhh….that’s your call. But I’ll tell you this: I have NEVER lost two balls in one round. If the caddie is really working hard and just couldn’t help it, give him some slack. But if he’s barely moving faster than YOU are the whole round, dock his pay for it. Because a caddie should ALWAYS be moving a little faster than you are. Occasionally they’ll be at your side to talk, but for the most part, they need to be a little ahead of you to make sure that when you get to your ball you already have a yardage. Because that’s the main purpose of a caddie: to make sure that all you have to think about the whole round is swinging the golf club. Yardages, bunkers, divots, or whatever else shouldn’t concern you. As a result, there shouldn’t be that much waiting involved on ANY shot. Now, if a caddie is carrying two bags, you may have to wait. But that should hardly ever happen. A good caddie is always on top of things.

I’m not sure how other caddies will talk about yardages with their players, but I’m accustomed to giving the yardage to the front of the green as well as the distance from the ball to the hole. Some players don’t see the point of that and only want ONE yardage. Some players would rather have the yardage to the BACK of the green. Some players just want an “estimated” yardage. Regardless of what you want, that’s fine. Just make sure you let the caddie know EARLY so he can tweak his normal routine to fit your playing style. Don’t get frustrated with your caddie and BLOW UP at him on the 10th hole because YOU didn’t establish how you’d like to receive your YARDAGES. Ahem. Sorry for the outburst. But that HAS happened to me before.

Whereas it is OKAY to toss a ball to a caddie for cleaning, please do NOT toss your clubs. Yes, your caddie will fetch the club and pretend that little tantrum of yours DIDN’T just happen, but remember two things: one, if a player somehow manages to injure a caddie by throwing a club, you have the potential of costing that caddie $500 or more in lost wages. That’s not cool. And secondly, you’re using a CADDIE for cryin’ out loud. You’re playing golf like the professionals (as far as using a caddie is concerned), and you don’t have to worry about a thing all day. There’s no need to EVER get upset on the golf course. Well, wait. I take that back. If a colleague of yours calls and tells you that a $500 million dollar deal just fell through, I give you permission to get a little upset. But OTHER THAN THAT, everyone ELSE should be happy and enjoying themselves. Period.

Caddies are not allowed to smoke, drink or ride on carts while on the course. Believe me, we WANT to. It’s just against the rules. So don’t tempt / compel your caddie to have a cigar / beer with you while you’re playing. Again, we WANT to. But we can’t. So don’t ask.

Tipping: before you tee off, ask the Caddie Master what the recommended “per-bag” tip is. Do not ask the caddie this question during the round. Because it is awkward. Use the number the Caddie Master gives you as a MINIMUM. If the caddie does a satisfactory job, add $5-$10 to this number and put a smile on your caddies’ face. If they do an AMAZING job, it’s not unheard of to go $40-$50 over the minimum. I’m not saying you HAVE to give that much, but remember: if you play the course a lot and you want to make SURE the caddie makes himself available for you, give him some incentive to come back. Don’t give an AMAZING caddie the minimum and then request him the next day. Odds are the caddie would rather just sleep in or roll the dice on another loop. And yes, if the caddie does a horrible job, you are welcome to give less than the minimum. But please provide the Caddie Master with a couple of reasons so he a) doesn’t come to find you when the caddie complains about the tip, and b) knows what he needs to help the caddie with to assure future success.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure when I’m out on the course this next week I’ll think of some others I should add. And I will. Like I said, I see this list as a work in progress. Caddying really is an art-form, and I’m still too new to the game to come up with a finalized list. But Rich, thanks so much for the suggestion.

And one more quick thing. Tuesday and Wednesday definitely provided me with some interesting stories. I’m currently working on a post to inform all of you what the hell happened to me during those 48 hours.

And one random comment before I go: why the hell do energy drinks change the color of your BM’s?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"The Franchise"

I'm going to be honest with you guys. Today was incredibly boring. I think the most exciting thing about today was that it was raining this morning. Oh yeah: there were some dark clouds and wind and stuff too.

That's about it.

Because of all the rain, tee times were delayed until 10 am. That meant as soon as the clouds parted and the rain stopped around 9:30, people were flying all over the place. Maintenance people were running out onto the course with sub-pumps to start draining water out of the bunkers and collection areas, alcoholics / players inside the clubhouse were chugging the last of their Bloody Mary's to assure themselves ample time to take a piss and stretch-out any remnants of the previous evenings' activities, and my boss was on the phone in the caddie room calling everybody he could think of as he was singing, "I'm fucked, I'mmmmm fuuuuuuuuuccccckkkkked!"

Because despite the rain in the morning, the tee sheet was packed tighter than Chong's bong. I've never seen so many people milling around outside.

Now, I arrived at the course--on time--without the boss having to call me in. I was one of maybe 5-7 caddies who were able to pull that off this morning. So the boss came up with a little sheet called "The Golden Ticket." Every caddie who arrived on time this morning will be receiving priority this weekend.

"All of those weekend warriors can just suffer. You guys were here when I needed you."

What has two thumbs and loves the "Golden Ticket"? THIS GUY.

As for the round, it was really quite boring. I started off carrying two bags, but then on the 6th hole two of the players decided they needed to go. Not sure why. Maybe they needed to drink a few more Bloody Mary's or something. They said they were accountants. Hence, they were just about the most exciting people I've ever encountered. On their best days they looked like the Great Depression on heroin. Whenever they smiled it looked like they were constipated. MAN I wish I was an accountant.

The only semi-cool part of today occurred when I came back into the caddie room after the round was over. Some of the other caddies who were called in to work the afternoon loops were watching TV and for some reason one of them started calling me "The Franchise." And for some reason, it started to stick.

Now I've had a few different nicknames in my lifetime. "Champ" was the most recent, surfacing during my stay in Tahoe. But it wasn't really THAT original. The guys who gave it to me heard me talking about "beer pong" my third day out there and had heard me utter the phrase, "I am the beer pong champion." So of course they HAD to call me "champ."

In college, my housemates called me a variety of names, but the one that they kept falling back on was "Pinto." Now, I'm not going to go into the "why" of that one. But if you've seen "Animal House" you can probably get a good idea. And I SWEAR they're exaggerating a bit. Super-young chicks aren't THAT appealing to me.

And now "The Franchise?" I think that's the first nickname I've ever had where it sounded well thought-out and heartfelt. I mean, that's deep man. You just can't think of something like that every day.

"Tom, I'll make you a deal. When you come in tomorrow, sign up on the board as 'The Franchise' or I'll kill your pets. It's your choice."

Done and done. I mean, I don't even HAVE pets, but I guess you're pretty serious about it. So FINE.

And don't take that last quote too seriously. That guy was cracking everyone up before that comment when one of the other caddies was trying to buy a Subway sub off of another caddie. I'll use numbers so it's easy to distinguish the "who's who" of this story. I'd start erasing pronouns from existence if I didn't.

Caddie 1: "Hey man, can I buy that sub off of you?"

Caddie 2: "How much you gonna give me?"

Caddie 3: "Hey, I'll make you a deal."

Caddie 2: "Yeah?"

Caddie 3: "Give me your sub, or I'll slash your tires."

Pause.

Caddie 2: "Oh yeah?"

Caddie 3: "No, wait. Got a better deal for ya: give me your sub, or I'll kill your parents."

Caddie 2: "Oh yeah?"

Oh man. Actually BEING there would've been the ultimate, I know. But it was hilarious.

So we'll see how long this new nickname holds up. And I guess the day wasn't THAT boring. I mean, I DID get a new nickname. That's always a cool thing.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Foreigners and Lasik

So my landlord is Chinese. Just thought I’d let you guys know that. That’s cool, right? Most of the time I can’t seem to understand what the hell she’s talking about because she’s one of those foreigners who only wanted to learn “just enough” English to function in America. I mean don’t get me wrong, she’s very nice, but when she talks she’s incredibly loud and usually gives me a blank stare whenever I say something other than “hello,” “how are you” and “thank you very much.” It’s a miracle she hasn’t screwed me over somehow on rent payments.

You know, I need to make a quick aside to this INITIAL aside. Sort of a double entendre if you will. And oh my God the spell checker hasn’t picked up “entendre.” I hope that’s even a real word.

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was waiting in the drive-thru at Wendy’s that it really pays to have foreign workers who don’t speak English as employees because they’ll sell more food. If I was a franchise owner, I’d want as many foreigners as I could get my hands on. I mean think about it: You pull up into a drive thru and give your order. After you’re done shouting into the metal box, the employee either repeats it back to you or gives you the price. But with a FOREIGN employee, you’re lucky to get out of there with your original order.

“So you wan tomato and dressing?”

“I ordered a cheeseburger and fries.”

“Yeah. You wan tomato?”

“CHEESEBURGER. FRIES.”

“TOMATO.”

You know what? Fine. “YES! Give me the fucking tomato!”

“Okay. Total is $8.63. Pull up to second window.”

What is going ON in there? You guys got some poor Hindu man at gunpoint slaughtering COWS or something? Holy CRAP BALLS is that expensive.

Without exaggeration I’d say 40-50% of the time I decide to eat fast food I end up just saying “yes” to anything they say because I’m an idiot. Well, no. I’m actually trying to be considerate of the other poor souls behind me just trying to get their hands on a cheeseburger. Things need to keep moving along. So when I pull up to the window and the lady says that the meal will be $10,345.38, I simply tell that guy in the back that I’m Hindu and that I DON’T want to slaughter a freakin’ cow and he shoots me.

So where was I? I got all pissed-off again and I lost track of what my story was. Oh yeah. So my Chinese landlord. She’s moving to San Diego with her fiancĂ© and she’s kicking me out of my room on August 1st. At first I was a little “angry,” but that same day she found me an even better place to live for the same price, so I STOPPED being so “irritated.” This new place isn’t even that far away.

So she’s moving. Great. Go have fun. But I walk into the kitchen tonight while she’s packing and I attempt to make myself some pasta when BAM. I open the cupboard and it’s empty. I open another. Still nothing. What is this? A Brother’s Grimm nursery rhyme? What, am I just supposed to eat all of my food with my HANDS? And what about those CANS I have left over? Should I take them outside and beat the crap out of them with a rock?

But, fortunately for me, the moment panic started creeping over my face my landlord came over and offered me some bowls, plates, and utensils for me to use before I move into this new place.

“YOU TAKE THIS, IS OKAY?”

Did I mention she likes to shout at me?

“HAHA. YOU TAKE. IS NO PROBLEM.”

And did I mention she MASTERED the TOEFL?

Anyway. Enough with the non-caddie/non-golf related stuff. Let’s move on to my day today.

Lately, I’ve been empathizing with Casey Martin. My legs feel INCREDIBLE. I was playing golf with a friend recently and several times during the round all hell would break loose: both of my legs would cramp up, my arches would buckle, I’d curse the original cast members of “Saved by the Bell” and I’d feel like I had been beaten with bamboo poles.

Ahh yes. Fatigue. So you can imagine when I opened my incredibly nearsighted eyes this morning and saw that it was still a little dark outside I definitely took my time getting up. I didn’t even walk into the cart barn until 8:05 am. I know, right? SACRILAGE. But never fear. I knew what I was doing. I wanted my boss to look at all of the names on the list, notice I was dead last, ask me why I even BOTHERED coming in and send me home.

Well, fortunately/unfortunately Mr. Nice-Guy was playing today. Hence, I was loopin’. At first I sharded in my pants a little bit because I really didn’t think I could handle carrying two bags, but then I heard over the radio: “He’s a single today. We just need someone who can carry one bag.”

“Tom! Get out there. He’s your boy.”

Damn right he is. And one bag? Awesome.

Now don’t look at me like that. I would GLADLY take on two bags for 36 holes. I just need to stop feeling like one of Wayne Brady’s HO’S and get a little more bounce in my step. Then I’ll be good to go.

As for the round, I’d say “routine” would be a good word to use. Lately Mr. Nice-Guy has had some problems with focus, and I was hoping we could nail down some kind of a solution today. Because his first 9-12 holes are always excellent. But then, for some strange reason, he starts sucking ball sack. A loss of focus means blocked shots and plenty of “bad” words.

And I always have to turn away to laugh because Mr. Nice-Guy is quite a “learned” individual. Highly educated. When he speaks, he will take his time and choose his words carefully. So when I see the man throw up his hands and start saying words like “fuck,” “shit,” and “tit-mouse,” I can’t help but chuckle.

Well fine. Maybe he hasn’t said “tit-mouse” yet. But I’m counting the days.

The 13th hole sticks out in my mind. Mr. Nice-Guy was putting for par from about 20 feet. Things are looking normal. He’s lining up his putt, checking out all of the angles, and motioning for me to take out the pin. Okay, so far so good. But something is amiss. For some reason, it feels like time is standing still. Everything around us feels stagnant. He throws down his towel, strikes the putt, and leaves it 10 feet short. He throws down his putter and stares off into the distance for about 5 minutes.

Obviously he’s pissed. But what the hell just happened?

It wasn’t until we were walking down the 14th fairway that he opened his mouth.

“I was TOTALLY out of it on that last putt. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was UNCONSCIOUS. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I was just thinking: well, I’ll just putt it, right? What the fuck.”

So THAT’S why everything seemed to stand still. His mind was blank. He was sucking all logic and reason out of the air. But he brought up an interesting topic. Why do golfers do that? I do it, you do it and your MOM does it. We’re about to hit a shot and about 10 seconds before we do we forget who we are and why we’re there. Yet, for some strange reason, we still hit the shot. And of course after we do, we always curse ourselves for following through with it when we weren’t even ready.

Sometimes I fall victim to that. But only occasionally. More often than naught, I’ll lose focus because I’m busy questioning my own existence. Sounds stupid, but it’s true. I’ll be standing over a putt ready to pull back the club when all of a sudden I start reasoning through millions of years’ of evolution, from blob to blog and I start freaking out because I’m just so incredibly AMAZED that I’m on that golf course, standing over THAT putt, playing with THOSE people. I know, I’m a little insane. But those little existential moments really screw up my score. Kind of like when you’re talking with a friend and some hot chick in a short skirt walks by. You forget what you were talking about, why you were talking about it, who the person is you were talking to, and why your eyes have ceased to be curious about ANYTHING other than that freakin’ skirt. Or maybe that’s just me. But again: I’m a little insane.

So I guess the moral, point, lesson, whatever you want to call it from that little rant is that golfers need to step away from the shot and re-focus before they hit. Don’t waste a swing just because your brain decides to rip a huge fart. That’s one less “if” you need to go over with yourself after the round is over (e.g., “Well, IF I didn’t 3-putt twice on the back…IF I didn’t chili-dip that wedge on 9, IF I had asked that one chick to get tested…etc”).

I also have some big news. One of the player’s I caddied for recently specializes in Lasik eye surgeries, and he’s been asking me to stop in for an appointment to see if my eyes fall within the parameters of the laser. Well I went in and caught him today after my round was over. And it turns out I’m a candidate for surgery. So I made an appointment for July 27th.

I have to spaz out for a second. So you’re telling me I’ll be able to see without glasses or contacts on July 28th? Holy shit. I need to find some way to celebrate. I don’t even think there are enough hours in the DAY to do what I would like to do. Well, I guess first off I want to look at EVERYTHING, as opposed to closing my eyes most of the day. That’s a good start. I want to tell every player I work with that YES, I COULD DEFINITELY SEE YOUR BALL OFF OF THE TEE. No more tilting my glasses forward to help me see the ball flying through the air. Oh yeah, I HAVE to start wearing those Peak Vision sunglasses ALL THE TIME. Whenever I fart from now on, I’m going to turn to the person next to me and say, “I SMELL BACON.” I wonder if I could get some of the other caddies to go out drinking with me on the 28th. Well that shouldn’t really be a problem. That’s like asking an Irishman if he’d like a Guinness. So okay. I’m going to go to work, chug like 4 energy drinks to make sure I’m all over the place and then yell REALLY loud. THEN I’m going run myself ragged and read EVERYONE’S putts even if they don’t want me to. If they tell me to stop, I’ll simply tell them of my surgery and accentuate the completion of the story with a “so go fuck yourself.” Then I’m at least PRACTICING golf to make sure my game stays in shape after the change. And then I’m getting a freakin’ hair cut, because right now I look like a freakin’ ski bum. Then I’m going out and getting HAMMERED. I’m talking to every girl, getting as many numbers as I can, and then throwing them all out before I leave. Oh man. I can’t wait.

If anyone has any other suggestions for me, please let me know. I mean, I don’t want to do EVERYTHING in one day, but I definitely need to find some creative ways to celebrate. As you can see from my initial thoughts, my plans aren’t really that “creative” yet. They’re more like, “be as obnoxious as possible.” And I SUPPOSE I really don't want that. So let me know what you think I should do.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Great Moofta

A sign up sheet appeared on the door to the caddie room a few days ago and it advertised a tournament taking place on July 6th. There were 39 numbered blanks for caddies to sign in their name. One day later, all of the blanks were filled with a few add-on names were written in for alternates. Fortunately, I was able to catch the sign-up sheet before it filled up. As a caddie at a private club, you NEED to work in a tournament because a good tip is all but a certainty. Obviously, all of the other caddies realized this. But there was one interesting aspect of the sign-up sheet.

"Arrive no later than 9 am."

For some reason this struck me as weird because normally the sheet would read: "Arrive AROUND 9 am." I wonder if the boss is cracking down on latecomers or if this is simply to encourage certain lazy bums to get into work on time.

I was having some trouble waking up this morning and I walked into the cart barn at 9:06 am. Two minutes later, the boss walks out, calls the meeting to order, and tells the first caddie he sees to shut the garage door. This in turn forces any of the late caddies to enter through the side door, instantly highlighting the fact that they were late.

There were three caddies that walked in around 9:12 and the boss made a point of reaming them out in front of everyone.

"Yeah, guys? Go wait outside. I don't want to see ya. I'm focusing right now on speaking with the caddies who actually got here ON TIME today. I'm going to work them and not you."

Wow. Thank God there wasn't any excess traffic this morning; otherwise I would've been benched just like those unfortunate three. But he gave me a pairing and soon I was ready to go.

The only problem was, I couldn't freakin' HEAR HIM as he called out my assignment. Once the other caddies started hearing their name being called out they realized they could stop focusing on listening and just start talking with as many people as possible.

So what I thought I heard was: "Mr. Bosteakas."

So I walk up to the carts in the circle and start looking for a name that even REMOTELY resembles this mystery member.

After I walked around the circle two or three times I finally decided I should ask the boss to clarify.

"Mr. Bosteakas."

Sure. No problem. I'm only back to square one. 30 minutes from now we’ll be teeing off and I have no idea what the hell is going on. Where are my players? Is he simply pulling my leg because I came in at 9:06 instead of 9:00? Am I even WORKING today?

So I finally built up the courage to ask the boss again.

“I’m sorry. This will be the last time I ask you. But what hole am I on? I can’t seem to find my players.”

“Hole 7. Actually, your players are right over there.”

Oh. Simple.

So I walk over and introduce myself. Kind of. Because I still don’t know my players’ names, the introduction leaves something to be desired.

“Hi, I’m Tom. I believe I’ll be helping you guys out today.”

“Hey Tom. Nice to meet you.”

And that was it. STILL no names. Damn it. I shook his hand as he was walking off of the range with 4-5 clubs in his hand, and if I was following standard operating procedures I should’ve taken his clubs from him, brought them over to his cart and started to clean them while he was making his way over.

Nope. It was “plan B” for me. I was just going to smile, turn around and run away. For some reason I thought FINDING his cart was more important than actually helping him out. And finally, there it was. The carts for hole number 7. Now I had their names and I finally knew where I should be standing before we headed out to the tee. I had a purpose in life again.

Oh yeah. And the names? NOTHING LIKE “Bosteakas.” That wasn’t even close. No wonder the other caddies looked at me like I was Tyrone Biggums asking for crack.

The cool thing about today was that the other two in my group included a caddie. One of the caddies I work with is a professional golfer, and somehow he was asked to play in the tournament with one of the members. And you should’ve seen it. Everybody and their mother was saying hi to him and wishing him luck. All of the caddies were giving him hugs and shaking his hand telling him how cool it was that he was able to play in this today.

And it was cool. It felt like one of “us” was a contender in this little tournament. Kind of like “The Longest Yard” when the convicts got the chance to play the guards. Finally, the caddies had a lone fighter able to go out into the field and blow everyone away. Now, it’s not like the caddies are treated poorly at this club, but it was a great feeling to see another caddie being treated as an equal among all of these millionaires and billionaires.

And the day couldn’t have gone any better. The two players I worked with were hilarious. The member had the worst swing I’ve ever seen in my life. AND he was left-handed. So that just amplified things for me. He would stand over the ball with both of his feet together, take the club halfway back as a part of his pre-shot routine, squat a little, pop back up, and then make the ugliest hockey check-swing you’ve ever seen. It was like a “crip-walk” with arthritis. Plus he looked like Larry David and talked like Mel Brooks. I mean, you just can’t get a funnier character than that.
”You know, it just occurred to me. My score means absolutely nothing. I think my pro has beaten me on every hole. I could put down whatever I WANTED as a score and you know what? It wouldn’t matter. So you see my ball right here? I’m lying one.”

He was pointing to his ball on the green on a 575-yard par 5.

“I am so hungry right now. I’m just going to beat the living shit out of this ball so we can go in and eat. Yes: We must eat. The great Moofta has spoken.”

And to top it all off, the caddie/professional was playing some of the best golf I’ve ever seen. All of the professionals were playing off of the “Gold Tees,” which play around 7500 yards with a slope of 145 and a rating of 76.5. Yeah, it’s a beast. We started on 7, and by the 17th hole, this caddie/professional/Cinderella-story-out-of-nowhere was 5-under par. Yeah, you heard me right. 5-under par.

He ended up making a couple of bogeys (3-putts) and one more birdie to finish with a 68. It was incredible to watch. On the 3rd hole he hit his drive 356 yards. And to think, that was one of the holes he bogeyed. Talk about ridiculous.

So it was a great day. I got to see one of my own kick some major ass, and I was working with an escaped mental patient. All I need now is a cold beer and I’m in heaven. Well, as long as the beer is good. THEN I’m in heaven.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

(Hopefully) Quick Post

I need to apologize. You know, it feels like I've been doing this more and more lately, and for THAT, I am sorry. But I HATE not being able to post every day. When I first started this blog, my main goal was to update at least every other day to keep the site fresh and interesting. But lately, I feel like dogs in HEAT have better opportunities to write than I do.

Random side-note, but here's a little more about me: I am (or was) a people-pleaser. I know this may come as a shock to many of you. You're probably sitting there reading these posts thinking to yourself, "Man, that is one sarcastic dude. He probably doesn't take shit from anyone."

Well, I do. Or at least I DID at one point in my life, and for a while, I've been good. I've been doing my own thing and haven't really stopped to think about what anybody else thought of it. Again, I cite this blog as an example. For a while I was using REAL names and REAL places. Dumb, yes, but again, I really didn't care.

Now I don't really want to go into this because it's a ridiculously long and complicated story with lots of big words, but I broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years about 3 months ago and since then, I've been a little "off." I suppose I should thank her, because she gave me enough anger and frustration to pick apart every one of my loops and bring that frustration out in sarcastic metaphors and paragraphs to share with the general public. Without all of that, I wouldn't have been able to meet all of you. I love you guys. I literally feed off of your comments. They've definitely put a smile on my face when I thought nothing would. So thank you.

So what does this all mean? Well, from what I can tell, not much. I haven't really arrived at the point yet. But I'm getting there.

So where were we. Oh yeah. So I was happy and innocent, then I got my heart broken and became highly indifferent and bitterly sarcastic and critical of the world around me, became a caddie and decided to take out some of my frustration in writing, and now I'm sitting here 3 months later feeling a little better about myself, but sad that I'm not finding the time I would like to write.

Now I know it sounds bad, but the last couple of nights were taken up with drinking, gambling, golf, and more gambling. When I get home I usually take one look at my computer and crap my pants while I cry myself to sleep. I'm always exhausted.

But I think I've figured out a solution. In an effort to get more sleep and be able to post more often, I'm going to say SCREW my friends for awhile and simply work and write. I know it's not the IDEAL situation, but I feel before I get too much on my plate I'm going to have to cut back and start all over again. Because as any of you who have ever survived a harsh break-up would know, when you get out of a long-term relationship you lose a piece of yourself. You start forgetting what it is that you actually LIKED at one point in your life. Before I just start doing what everyone else wants to do (the old people-pleasing side of me), I need to take a little more "me time" and write. Because it is rather theraputic. Plus, I need to be able to flex my brain once in a while because if I didn't write, that would mean that my life would consist of only 4 things: eating, sleeping, working, and watching Sportscenter. I would be a high-school dropout (albeit well-informed of the sports' world) stuck in a college graduates' body. My phrase of choice would be "duhhhh" and my only joy would come in bottles of beer. Cheap light beer. And there's NO WAY I'm letting that happen. I'm going to drink some GREAT beer, start reading more books, writing more posts, lifting at the gym (to give me some freakin' bulk for cryin' out loud) and THEN hang out with some of my friends if there's time. I mean, to be honest, I will have MONTHS to myself when I'm working this new Caddie Master job, so I may have to re-think this schedule a bit, but for right now, I really need to get my brain working again. Plus, I miss hearing from you guys. You can't really leave feedback if there's nothing new to read.

So right now I'm going to read a little bit and fall asleep. There's a special tourament going on tomorrow so I should have NO problem writing tomorrow night. Take care everyone.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

OKM And A HOTTIE

After 12 hours of sleep and recovering from one of the worst hangovers in the history of EVER, I arrived at 7:15 this morning rarin' to go.

You're probably reading that last sentence goin', "12 HOURS of sleep? Why?"

Well, the night before I met up with a friend and drank a crapload of alcohol. Then I stayed up all night. Then I drove straight to the course. Then I sat and nursed a bottle of water for 2 hours, and then WORKED on a FREAKIN' HANGOVER. Little tip for everyone: don't caddie on a hangover. And I know that's a good tip to share, seeing as how most of you are going to be in that situation OFTEN. So when 3:30 rolled around, I was pretty tired. My head hit the pillow around 5 and that was all she wrote.

So here I am, rested and ready to deal with just about anyone. Even old Korean men. Which was a good thing because I was in fact ASSIGNED some old Korean men. And, oh, almost forgot. Two Korean women too. And one of them was SMOKIN' hot. I mean hotter than hot. Screw the courtesy "I'll look down the fairway just to assure you that I'm not staring at your ass Miss." I'm just going to go ahead and stare. So that's what I did. So I ran today, oh yes, but I think I stared quite a bit too.

Normally this group has a regular caddie, but he's been out smoking crack--literally--and hasn't been into work for a while so the boss decided to stick me with this group and see how I worked out.

Before the round started, I was only able to introduce myself to two of the four members of the group. Why? I have no idea. I mean, they ARE Korean. That may have something to do with it. The other two just avoided speaking with me until they knew they absolutely HAD to.

But one of them--a heavy-set Korean man with a heart of sausage--let's call him "Mr. Sumo," was walking by with a club in one hand and a sleeve of balls in the other. So as I outstretched my hand to make some sort of contact with this massive PLANET of a man, he made no effort to throw the sleeve of balls in his pocket and deliver a good firm handshake. He simply extended three of his fingers and kept walking. That’s all he gave me. So I took it. I shook three of his fingers. Hell yeah.

Then I met his incredibly hot daughter.

"Hi, I'm Tom. I'll be helping you out--"

"Don't read my putts. If I want some advice, I'll ask."

That's right. Talk dirty to me. MAN you're hot.

And then we were off.

Well on the first hole, I think the old Korean buttheads felt I was some sort of threat because they made every effort they could to end the "power struggle" as soon as possible. They wanted to show EVERYONE that THEY were in control of the group and I wasn't. And you know what? That's fine. Although, here's another little tip: a caddie is in a subservient position ANYWAY. There's no need to try and push us further down from the title of HUMAN BEING.

So on the first hole, Mr. OKM (Old-Korean-Man) is walking over to his incredibly short drive. He takes a look back towards the tee and starts thinking about two things: First, he's thanking God that his tee-ball finished past the ladies' tee so he wouldn't have to whip out his incredibly small pack of Rolaids. Secondly, he's looking at the club in his hand wondering, "Wow, that was an incredibly short drive. I wonder if this club can even get there. Maybe I should go get another."

So as he's standing there looking at his club, looking towards the hole and improving his lie, I feel I have to say something to get him over the ball and swinging.

"Sir, I can run over and grab you a different club if you want something else."

"Listen: I will TELL you when I need another club. OKAY?"

Whoa. Well it's a good thing we've got that straightened out. Thank God that's what I DO ANYWAY. I mean is there a freakin' ECHO out here or something? What crawled up into your sphincter this morning and started playing Kenny G?

But you know what? That's fine. If that will increase the size of his penis, then so be it. Sir, I am lower than maggots. Wait. Less than that. I am lower than the smallest, crappiest, most pathetic earthworm in existence. I just work here because it's an awesome self-esteem booster.

And then about 2.28 minutes later, I'm running over to hand little-miss-hottie the clubs she requested only to find out that they weren't her clubs. I had grabbed an 8 and a 9 iron from the wrong bag. This meant that Mr. Sumo (the other Korean man and Miss Hottie's father) had to start yelling across the fairway, "She needs her clubs! You need to get her her clubs!"

Yeah. So that was the first hole. Good times.

Another thing had me worried. Before we teed off, one of the staff guys reminded our group that today was "cart path only." Apparently the course took on some water after yesterday's storm and the Superintendent was asking that all golfers stay out of the fairways with their carts. Now forecaddying would be a bit of a challenge under those conditions. Normally, when players can drive right out to their ball, you don't feel any pressure as a caddie because the cart is right there. If they decide at the last minute that they should hit that 5 iron instead of a 6, they CAN without any problems. But if carts aren't allowed in the fairway at ALL then that means I have to be calling out ONE number, and that's it. I can't get over the shot and start strategizing with them or telling them they should take one more, because their cart isn't right THERE anymore. Now it's way off to the side. So whatever club they have in their hand, that's it. They have to use it. Game over man. Game over.

Fortunately for me, I was forecaddying for 2 old Korean men. Cart path only? SCREW THAT. We don't care about the condition of the course. Let's just drive anywhere we want to.

And so they did.

To stop me from saying anything to the staff, Mr. OKM leaned over on the 2nd hole and said, "I know we're driving on the fairway, but one of the staff guys said it was okay."

Sir, I was THERE when you had this supposed "conversation" with one of the staff guys, and he told you "no." But you know what? I'll let it slide. Because I know you're crappy tippers and I don't want to ruin anything I might get at the end by yelling at you for driving where you’re not supposed to. Plus, allowing you to drive up to your shots in the fairway makes my job a little easier. So go for it little guy.

To be honest, the round was pretty uneventful. A skank skank here and a skank shank there, here a skank, there a skank, everywhere a skank skank. Oh yeah, and everyone was VERY quiet. Nothing was ever funny to them and aside from the occasional yelling of Mr. Sumo (“Mark my ball!”), you could hear a chipmunk talking DIRTY it was so quiet. On the 16th I made a loud grunting noise because Mr. Sumo somehow hit an amazing shot that grazed the cup (almost a hole in one). Sounds normal, right? Well one of the guys in the group on 15 started staring me down after that. I guess he didn’t LIKE my grunting noise. Guess it reminded him of his ugly wife or something. I wanted to yell over: you don't understand! This guy usually sucks wang! But you know what? I don't think they would understand.

On 17 I could've sworn I heard Mrs. OKM fart, but I really can't be sure. I turned my head as she was walking over to her ball and then off in the distance I heard a loud RIIIIIPP. It was over in her direction. That’s all I'm saying.

I also felt something in my right leg pop as I was running and almost fell over in the fairway. I'm not sure what it was, but I think I need to start stretching. I mean, I DO stretch. But I “suppose” what “I’m doing” is no where NEAR sufficient. Oops.

After it was all over, even though hardly ANYTHING was said the whole round, they all congratulated me on a job well done. So I got that goin' for me. Which is nice.