Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big Ass Swiss Army Knives

One of the biggest problems with wet weather—as far as a caddie is concerned—is the variable weight of a players’ bag throughout the round. Most of the time, when the weatherman has a small seizure on camera and tells the local community that it’s going to be a little NASTY outside, the golfers at my club turn their golf bags into Swiss Army knives. They have everything in there. Extra socks, shoes, balls, towels, rain gear, you name it. Every button, zipper and strip of Velcro is holding on for dear life. And if for some strange reason the weatherman is WRONG (which of course never happens), by the 5th or 6th hole your players are shedding garments faster than a date on prom night and you’ve got to find room for even MORE clothing in their bags. So unless the weather is consistent, wet weather can really make those shoulders hurt by the end of the day.

Yesterday was one of those nasty days. It had rained almost the entire night before, and now there were water hazards WITHIN bunkers and mud bogs peppered throughout some of the fairways just WAITING for a victim. But you see…now it’s only DRIZZLING outside…and so although the course is WATERLOGGED, there’s some freakin’ GOLF to be played people. Not like I’m complaining, because winter is coming soon and I’m trying to hoard a few nuts before they’re all gone. But it always amazes me what weather some golfers will play in. Then again, if I had a chance to play this golf course with a few of my buddies and we had all flown in from other states, you better believe we’re playing no matter what.

So I get my assignment and I’m waiting outside in the rain for my players to come down off of the range. I hear a cart accelerator being popped into gear at the top of the hill and see my two players start to descend down towards the starters’ podium. Suddenly, a loud snap and crackle is heard as the weight of the two bags strapped to the cart rips the cart in half and slams the undercarriage against the sidewalk on its way down the hill. A spark is seen and the gas tanks under the seat cushions ignite and explode, engulfing my two players in a ball of fire. They quickly eject themselves from the cart screaming and thrashing violently trying to roll along the wet ground to extinguish themselves. The flames grow more and more intense as a second explosion accelerates the cart into a 15 mph fireball straight down the cart path toward one of the cart boys. He cries out in terror for Paula Abdul but she is nowhere to be seen. The cart spontaneously combusts, creating a powerful vacuum which sucks in the poor cart boy, ripping out his lower intestines.

And to think: this all started because the bags were too heavy.

A moment later, I was back in reality. I was now staring at two massive trunks. Both stuffed to the brim, both with too many head-covers and both with a right-handed strap. If humans had evolved with two right shoulders, I would’ve been in heaven. But as it turns out, I HAVE a left shoulder, and so adjusting one of the bags would be a bit of a challenge. One of the guests approached me.

“I tried to take as much as I could out of there.”

Oh really? Then why do you have two umbrellas?

“Hey, Tom? You want me to carry one of those? I think those are too much for you to handle by yourself.”

That was the other caddie in the group trying to talk some sense into me. But the problem was, he pushed the wrong button. He could’ve stopped at “you want me to carry one of those?” But instead he had to keep talking, insinuating that I couldn’t handle the sheer magnitude of the two bags that rested before me. I mean for cryin’ out loud—one of the bag stands wobbled every time there was a breeze.

But would I listen? No. I was now on a mission to prove to everyone how incredibly massive my testicles were. I was going to handle these bags on my own.

In retrospect, that was a dumb-ass thing to do. Ego has no place anywhere near a golf course. Without any exaggeration, each bag weighed more than 60 pounds a-piece. If there was a featherweight division for the world’s strongest man, I’m sure I would be eliminated in the first round. But this would certainly be a way to train for it. I spent the entire round focusing on posture. I wasn’t going to tear something just to get the job done. Not for these guys.

The worst part was, the group was playing slowly (about 2:40 for the front nine) and if they didn’t pick things up, there was no way we were going to finish in daylight. We were on the 16th hole, and the sun had already set.

“Should we skip to 18 so we can get in the whole round?”

“Nah. I can play in the dark if you can.”

Yeah, don’t worry about it sir. Caddies are a lot like bats. Except we’re human, drink beer instead of blood and sleep on our backs. Yeah. That’s about it. Hit it wherever you want. I got it.

Crap. My one chance to get out of this loop a little early and instead I have to hustle the last three holes because they don’t know how to keep up the pace of play.

“Yeah, guys? Let’s play ready golf, huh?”

Didn’t you say that on the first hole? You guys promise?

“Yes, I agree, we need to pick things up.”

So pick things up! Like your balls! See that white thing there? Yeah. You’re lying 7. You’re out of the hole. STOP THE MADNESS and pick that bitch UP.

“Tom, I’m going to pick up on this hole. Here, let me get my bag for you. No use in you carrying this up the hill when you don’t have to.”

Did I just inadvertently use a Jedi mind trick on this guy? What a nice gesture. I almost cried. So I left the bag with this great Samaritan while I helped the rest of the group finish up the 15th. But when I started walking up towards the next tee Mr. Samaritan had only just reached the halfway point of the hill.

“Oh hey. Hey Tom? Could you carry this the rest of the way? It’s a little heavy for me.”

Yeah, it’s a little heavy for me too sir. And about these two umbrellas? It’s been raining on and off all day and you haven’t even touched them. Please TOUCH THEM before the round is over with so you can justify—if only to me—bringing them out here in the first place. Please. Oh Jesus I’m going to die. Somebody please make it quick and painless.

And here I am, a day later, still sore as hell. MAN am I a dumb-ass. Remind me never to do that again.

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