Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Think I See My Own Shadow

In life, knowing your limitations is perhaps one of the most valuable observations you can make about yourself. I say “valuable” because not only can you use this knowledge to help guide you on the road of life, but you can also use this information to see what challenges lie ahead for you and what you might want to overcome. Some people can’t deal with heights, so they find ways to handle it. Others don’t like meat, so they buy fake bacon and fake beef in order to satisfy their cravings. For me, it’s my inability to win at poker. The only difference between me and the previous examples is that I have not yet found a way around the problem.

And yet all around me, people are winning. My friends are winning $500 a night playing poker. My parents paid for their entire vacation playing Blackjack in Vegas. One of my managers won $1,250 in 30 minutes playing craps.

Then there’s me. I have no money and no experience playing cards in casinos. But once I arrived at the $1-$2 no-limit Hold’em tables in Atlantic City, I blow $600 without even realizing it. It’s like I was possessed. And when I DID finally manage to pull myself away, it was so I could hit the bar for 3 hours to think about what I had done (a brilliant decision in a casino). After much Descartes-esque-ian thought and a crapload of video poker, I concluded that I WAS actually omnipotent and the rest of the Hold’em players were idiots. Upon acknowledgement of this epiphany, I walked triumphantly back into the poker room at 2:41 am, slammed the rest of my money down on the table and proceeded to lose it in less than 30 minutes. I believe there are hotlines out there for people like me. Then again, I was on vacation and that is something I never do. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

But after much thought and consideration, I have come to the conclusion that this is God’s plan. My purpose on this earth is to lose money in casinos so that others may win. Lady luck to me is just a vacuous black-hole which sucks both my money and other people’s bad luck in. Without people like me walking around, nobody would gamble, let alone visit America’s arm pit (Atlantic City).

But besides losing a lot of money I didn’t have, my winter was fantastic. I sat on my ass for 8-12 hours a day, every day, staring at a computer screen trying to finish a project my boss bestowed upon me last August. I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt as isolated and alone as I did this past winter. Every time I gazed outside it seemed like the world just took off without me. The new golf season is about to start, and I feel like I’m just learning how to walk again. I think my limited, small doses of human contact have affected my interpersonal communication skills as well, and I’m downright terrified to see its monetary effects on my income this season.

In fact, I’m a little scared of how I might be coming off right now.

But I guess the good news is, I’m writing again, and I’m so excited about this up-coming golf season. I just know I’ll have a lot to share and I can’t wait to hear from all of you as the season progresses.

So what exactly have I been working on all winter? I realize I left everyone very mysteriously for the last couple of months. I apologize. In my last post, I mentioned something to the effect of, “my life took a turn.” Well, it certainly did. And it started last August.

After I had returned from my hiatus in LA, my boss offered something up to me.

“I’ve been thinking about putting a 401(k) plan in place for the caddies. And I’m not sure if that’s something you’d be interested in or not, but if you can figure out how to set it up for me, I’ll let you run it.”

I was floored. I was especially floored because 3 months prior to this conversation I had made it clear that being a Caddie Master was not for me. At the time, he was at a loss for words because there are only two positions in my company. You’re either a Caddie or a Caddie Master. There is no in between. I was torn because I really love working for this company, but I just didn’t know where I might fit in.

Was this a possible niche for me?

So for the past 8 months, I’ve been learning everything I possibly can about 401(k) plans and their structure. How are they put together? How can I shape this thing to help out caddies? Do ACTUAL human beings work at the IRS? (For anyone who has ever had to READ tax-law, this question comes up a lot because you wonder how any human being who has to eat, sleep and take dumps could ever help write or organize all of this information.)

And so here I am, 8 or so months later, heavier, lonelier and more socially inept than ever. I was reading 1984 again and got scared halfway through the process when I started feeling like one of those thoughtless drones whose whole purpose in life was to read and revise documents. But somehow, I finished the 401(k). I finished it. I’m a little nervous to see how the caddies will react, because I know some of them would rather buy a case of beer than stash that money away for a rainy day. But who knows. Maybe if the whole saving process becomes automated and they can actually watch their money grow, they might change their tune. There are a lot of “if’s” involved, but I’m excited to see the outcome either way.

And last but certainly not least, the site design. It’s still very weird for me too, but I just wanted to freshen things up a bit. The logo is still very flexible, and I won’t rest until I find something I’m truly happy with. I think the one I’ve chosen so far is okay, but it reminds me more of a logo for a private club than a website dedicated to poking fun at private clubs. But hey, maybe that’s the sort of irony my logo needs.

My first scheduled loop is this Saturday at a new course in Maryland. If I get a chance to loop before then, I’ll be sure to let you guys know about it. But expect something to read on Saturday. I don’t want to make any promises as of yet about the frequency of my posts this season, but let me just say that my own personal goal is to post SOMETHING every time I’m sent out on the grass. Here’s to another crazy season.

Take care all.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you're back!

Does anyone else think the logo looks like a bare arse with a flag stick stuck in it?

Tom Collins said...

You know, I never looked at it that way, but you're right. That's hilarious. Well, like I said, this will probably go out the window pretty soon.

English Dave said...

Dammit, someone beat me to the arse flag. I noticed the site re-fit a couple of days ago and thought I'd leave it until there was a new post before commenting on it, but that'll learn me. Damn anonymous wanker monkey funker.

Good to hear from you again JB. Such an introspective (is that a word?) post - most unlike your previous form. I can't deal with gambling - it scares the living bejebus out of me, losing money I've worked hard to earn. I got hold of John Daly's book at Christmas and some of his tales almost made me sick. When he finished second to Tiger in the play-off in the World Chmpionship event in San Francisco and went and lost all his prize money of $750,000 overnight in the casino and then some more - that shit ain't right. Why do people do it to themselves? I guess I understand about the rush, but there has to be a better way, doesn't there? I should say that I love big John dearly, though I don't know him personally, obviously. He's just like me ... big, fat and likes to give it plenty of whack.

I would be no good at trying to work from home or put something together like that. I can barely muster the motivation to do anything while I'm at work (hence the immediate and overlong responses to your posts!) and I just know I wouldn't be able to make myself do anything other than sit and watch films and whip Tiger Woods and the world's ass on the PS2 to amuse myself. Is it really gay when you're playing Tiger Woods to worry that your shirt doesn't match the colour of your hat and it makes you look scruffy? Or is it just me being a twat? Anyway, all power to you, old son, for doing something so utterly tedious and lonely and seeing it through to completion. You must REALLY love working for your company. I hope it all goes well for you, but I fear that the biggets task of all may lie in convincing fellow caddies that planning and investing for their future and retirement is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing. If you can do that, you really can sell ... no, that's racist ... so's that ... that's dated ... well, sell things to people who might not necessarily want or need said things. Is it still racist to call Eskimoes "Eskimoes"? It's such a funny word, I hope not.

I can't wait to hear about all you loops this year - I get withdrawal when I hear nothing for long periods of time. Playing with my own friends doesn't entertain me half as much unless I call them gay a few hundred times on the way round. Or monkey fuckers.

Hope to hear from you soon. KYN

David

Tom Collins said...

Always appreciate the feedback David. I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip. And don't worry, I think this will probably be the most depressed I'll sound all season. I actually re-wrote this post 4 or 5 times until I came up with something that didn't sound like a suicide note. Well, maybe not quite that bad. But it's good to hear from you again. And as far as the PS2 is concerned, beating the crap out of Tiger is great, but if you're into rock and roll at all, you HAVE to buy "Guitar Hero." Sometimes...sometimes...it's even more addicting than crack.

John B. said...

Glad that you are back...I miss the golf humor. Of course, I will find enough humor in my game soon enough when the snow clears.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Welcome back, JB. It's good to read about what you've been doing. I guess if you can't make $$ gambling, start a 401K. I saw your Descartes reference. And here I just (mis)quoted him yesterday at my blog. Now that's weird.