Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Start of a New Season

The ice storm that hit this area about a week ago certainly put a kink on the start of the golf season. Just when I thought I was going to start working on a regular basis, the course closes for 4 days. Well, in all honesty, it could’ve been 3. I’m not exactly sure. All I know is that I received a call saying that the course was covered in snow and so my infallible caddie reflexes took over and made me temporarily hibernate for the last week. And every day, I left my phone on its loudest setting, hoping that my manager would call and tell me there was work. But it never rang.

Well yesterday it finally DID ring. And all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was back in the caddie room, sitting on the couch again getting psyched up for the season.

Everyone around me was just NUTTY. During my wait, I kept tossing around a theory that all of the caddies had succumbed to a wee-bit of winter “cabin fever.” We were all so happy to see each other again that EVERYONE was making jokes. And not just making jokes, but taking them all too far.

First, I would start something:

“Have you seen one of the new check-out options at the grocery store near the mall? You can scan in your finger-print and hook up that image directly to your checking account. So you can just walk up to the register, slide your finger over the sensor and leave.”

This topic was not chosen haphazardly. One of the caddies’ in the room LIVED for conspiracy theories and possible human-rights violations. He’s addicted to Sudoku and will occasionally assume the role of a bum on the street, accosting innocent people as they pass him by to rant and rave on his own personal theories about 9/11 or the terrible things big businesses are doing to save a buck.

And as I spoke, I watched him. I knew I had caught him off guard. Almost instantly, his eyes lit up and a combination of hate, fear and spit flew back in my face. “You’re fucking kidding me!”

“Nope.” He started shaking his head.

“Don’t…don’t people understand what this could lead to? What’s stopping these grocery stores from hooking up with the FBI or marketing spammers? People you don’t want knowing your whereabouts will all of a sudden have complete access to your every movement. Next thing you know they’ll be asking for SEMEN samples from everyone.”

And this is where the joke/discussion de-railed and took on a life of its own. Another caddie chimed in, apparently excited by the prospect of commenting on sperm.

(Acting like a grocery-store cashier) “Alright, now that will be $27.84. Would you like to earn a 10% discount by jerking-off into that cup over there?”

Then another.

“Yeah, just go step over towards that wall and stick your thing inside. We’ll take care of it from there buddy!”

Then there was something about how great it would be to go grocery shopping, and then a few random comments about reusing rancid meat. You get the point. It was all over the place.

And before I forget, I suppose I should document this: a former caddie was on Judge Judy today. The only thing I had ever heard about this guy before now was that he had brought a hooker on the golf course during a caddie play-day. And now he was suing his brother for $3,000. When it was all said and done, he ended up winning $71. The caddies in the room were peeing themselves watching it. The last thing he said before he left the courtroom was what put everyone in stitches.

Judge Judy: “I hereby award the plaintiff… $71.”

Former Caddie (looks stoned): “Beautiful.”

I guess now the drinks are on THAT guy.

And for 5 hours, this was my day. Telling jokes, talking about what we did over the winter, busting balls. Just priceless. It felt like an hour had passed. But once all of the caddies had been assigned and I was the last one remaining, the minutes started to CRAWL by.

And then a ray of hope. Mr. Generosity. His game was a little weak and he was only able to get out of the office a couple times a month, but every time he walked on property I wanted to caddie for him. A warm, genuine individual who always made me laugh. He would be riding today with two guests.

The first guest was Mr. Sensitive from Tennessee.

Tennessee.

The most awkward part about that, for me, was that I’ve lived in 5 different states, driven across the country and met people from all over the world. I had no freakin’ idea where he was from. The town he spoke of was just as meaningful to me as if somebody said, “Hi, I’m from Westchestersonville.”

Where?

My face was blank. I couldn’t seem to change it. And worse yet, instead of shaking it off and going onto a different subject, I just stared at him.

“You probably don’t know where that is.”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Tennessee. I know exactly where that state is.”

But past any knowledge I could’ve gained coloring between the lines in a 4th grade geography class, I was at a loss for words with this guy.

And Mr. Sensitive was sensitive. Like, girl-scout sensitive. I’m always very careful when I deliver yardages to people because I have to make sure I have a good handle on their golf games before I open my mouth. If they’re bad players, then they usually get offended when I give them any sort of yardage. If the players happen to be good, they might want the front, pin and back yardages. They may want wind considerations, any elevation changes, the “stimp” of the greens, whatever.

Now, I know I need to be careful with yardages. It’s part of my routine. But this was one of the first loops of the year. So…I sorta ignored my tried and true observations and just gave Mr. Sensitive yardages anyway. That didn’t go over very well.

We were walking down the 5th hole, and I was just happy as a pig in shit to try and help these GOB’s determine what clubs they should use to lay up on this well-bunkered par-5.

“Where am I?” Mr. Sensitive said in a very sensitive manner.

“You’re on a golf course. But your ball’s over there.”

“It went through the fairway? Oh muffins! Now I’m going to have to re-think how I might play this hole.”

“Well, it’s about 190 to that bunker on the right. So make sure you keep it short of that and you should be perfect.”

“I can’t hit the ball 190.”

You just hit your drive over 260. Don’t lie Wanker McWankerson.

“Sure you can. So make sure you take a little less club.”

“No. You don’t understand. I can’t hit the ball 190. I’ll never be able to hit the ball 190. I’m not a good player.”

Oh my God. Cry me a river Justin Timberlake. Should I try to encourage him and make him take a 5 or 6-iron instead of the 4? Should I just let him hit the ball in the bunker?

I think I’ll let him hit it in the bunker.

And sure enough, he SMOKES a 5-iron and puts it 2 feet short of the bunker on the right.

“That was a nice shot.”

“Oh my God, it was, wasn’t it?”

Yes. Si. Oui. I just said that. Do they speak English down in Tennessee sissy man?

The other member of the group I’ll call “Mr. Arm-and-Hammer” because honestly, that’s what I think his name should be. His name was spelled one way on his bag-tag—elegant and long with all it’s vowels and such—and yet through some nifty tricks with phonemes and a drunken slur, the name was reduced to a corporate sound: Mr. Arm-and-Hammer.

Now Mr. Arm-and-Hammer was really nice once you stroked his ego. He had on a “TPC at Sawgrass” shirt and he didn’t even acknowledge me until the 4th hole when I turned to him and finally said:

“Hey there. Nice shirt.”

“Oh this? Yeah, it’s a nice course.”

No shit?

Pause.

Oh come on. Is that ALL I’m gonna get out of you? Well fine. Here’s one more.

“…Did you par 17?”

“Ha! Yes! Twice!”

Ahh yes. Thank God. Now we can be friends.

Sounds obvious, but one thing that always strikes me as amazing about this job are the techniques I’ve learned to get along with almost everyone I work with. Some players don’t like to be bothered, some players like to talk, some players want to hear about drinking stories and others are insecure and afraid to swing a golf club in front of you. Sometimes all four players in a group are alike. Sometimes they’re all different. As a caddie standing on the first tee, you are an outsider. The foursome usually knows each other very well, but none of them know you. You have 18 holes to sell them on your services and make them believe that you were worth every penny. On top of that, you need to make a big enough impression so that they look for you the next time they visit.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it anyway.

Take care guys.

4 comments:

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English Dave said...

Hey Tom

Nice bit of spam for a comment, there. I move that it be stricken (Steve?) from the record.

It was pretty cold over here last week, too. I wouldn't go so far as to say we had ice storms, since we clearly didn't, but it was a bit frosty in the morning. It took me almost 3 or 4 seconds to scrape it off my windscreen, let me tell you. Umm ... yes, we definitely had the worst of it. I still had to go to work, but the course was frozen anyway, so where else could I be?

I would LOVE to get one of those finger scanner things at the local shop. But I would be sorely tempted to go and cut someone's finger off and use that to scan through every time I wanted to buy a newspaper and a Mars bar. They'd be OK, everyone knows fingers grow back. They might even get exciting new fingers that they could put exotic rings and nail varnish on, if they like that kind of thing.

"Oh muffins!" That's great. Sounds like Butters saying "Oh hamburgers" 'cos he can't bring himself to swear. "Loo loo loo I've got some apples..."

I think I would like to be nick-named "Mr Arm-and-Hammer". That sounds very manly. It also describes my golf swing, which is not so much about smooth tempo and timing as it is belting seven shades of shite out of the ball at every available opportunity. That'll learn it for being a ball. Makes holing six footers tricky, though.

Did it really take you that long to get out? Aren't you quite senior there, now? Or do the same people work there all the time? I would start throwing my weight around and demanding preferential treatment, if I were you. Crack a few noggins together, tell them "Don't you know who I am? I write a secret internet blog that is read by literally some people!" That'd tell 'em who's boss. And if they don't listen to you, call them a poopy head on this site. Can't say fairer than that.

I played in a medal on Saturday. Got on the bogey train early and was three over (net) after 5, got it back to level after 12, then chucked in a double and a triple bogey in the last 6. What a pisser. One bad drive out of bounds and taking 5 (FIVE!) to get down from just short of a greenside bunker on the last. Duffed the chip and shanked the bunker shot. Stupid game for pansies. I'm not playing again until tomorrow. That'll show it.

The clocks have gone forward over here now, so I can play 9 holes or so after work. Yay! Plenty of whacking and no looking back.

5 days ... Stay cool and KYN.

David

MyDailySlice said...

Here's hoping your '07 golf-year is as great as your writing!

Cheers!

JFB

lassie said...

Hey Jam Boy,

Quit smoking so much rock and write some more stories! Your fans knash their teeth in anguish waiting for more scrumptious words.