Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Final Post

It’s sad for me to think that the last time I posted something here was over a year ago. After all of the great experiences and fun I had working on this blog, to end on such a bad note was just heartbreaking. This site, and the experiences linked with it mean too much to me to just abandon it and leave everyone in the dark as to my whereabouts and what I’m up to.

But, that’s exactly what I did. I blame life for being a little bitch and getting in the way. But that’s beside the point. Let me fill you in on some of the highlights…

In November of 2007, I told my boss of 3 years that I would not be back the following season. It was an extremely difficult decision for me to make. At the time, I told him it was because I wanted to go to law school. But that wasn’t the real reason I left. To quote my boss, “We’re only doing this because it’s fun. The minute it stops being fun, we move on.” It sounds sacrilegious to say, but I just wasn’t having fun anymore. The long hours, the thankless members, guests, caddies, managers…even struggling to make ends meet while driving 400-plus miles a week got old after a while. I could go on, but I won’t. Because as much as I could criticize the position I was in, I was also surrounded by great friends and experiences. For every week or two of ungratefulness and physical pain came a day or two of beautiful weather, generous members, and a card game with fellow brothers-in-arms.

Like I said: it was a gut-wrenching decision to make. But the way I figured it, I still had some growing up to do and some more exploring as far as my dreams were concerned, and I had reached the limitations of the caddie-world. I’d like to think, that at some far-off point, I could return to my crack-pipe and morning coffee, riding the couch at some beautiful—and caddie friendly—golf course in the future. Perhaps that is what heaven looks like.

So, in short, I decided it was time to leave. Granted, thinking is much easier than doing, and I’ll never forget the day I cornered my boss in his house to deliver the news. But, as I walked back to my car, I started to feel lighter. I knew I had made the right decision.

Early the next morning, my boss called and told me that I couldn’t leave. He said there was too much work left to be done, and that I was the only one with any motivation to do it. He needed me to complete a management training program as well as develop a business plan to get the company on track and set some goals for the future. He told me that if I decided not to come back the following season, he wouldn’t be upset, as long as I helped him complete these tasks now. I knew it would be a lot of work, but I also knew that winter was coming and I had forgotten to land another job before I decided to leave my first one. So to continue working for him throughout the winter wouldn’t be such a bad idea…at least in the short term.

I worked for a solid 2 months and finished both projects, and when the time came for the company trip—a vacation that would signify my decision to stay with the company—I decided instead to decline, saying that I was leaving for law school once again. This time, however, the reception of the news wasn’t taken so well, and I haven’t heard from my boss since. That was in February of 2008.

And that was when the housing market and rising oil prices really started to affect the economy as a whole. Jobs became scarce, grocery bills went up, and regardless of how hard I tried, I could not…get hired...anywhere. I think I sent out a resume to everyone and your mother, and your mother definitely threw out my resume.

This was also around the time when I bombed my LSATs. Somehow, I managed to drug myself the morning of the exam by using eye-drops specifically made to relieve dry eyes during allergy season. So I was drowsy through the whole bloody thing. I guess I’m just thankful I was even able to finish in the time allotted. What can I say? My eyes were dry and I grabbed the nearest eye-drops I could find. But the problem now, you see, was that my main reason for leaving my job—or the reason I gave my boss, anyway—didn’t really apply anymore, seeing as how no law school would take me. But hey, I’ll take these extraordinary circumstances as a sign that for right now, maybe I wasn’t meant to go to law school.

Meanwhile, I bussed tables at a restaurant on the weekends and worked on my writing, feeling that there was a story in me somewhere. At one point, I thought my luck had changed and almost landed a job with Citigroup selling coffee futures, but the company-wide hiring freeze complicated things and the job fell through at the last minute. Or maybe it was just my addiction to caffeine and crack that blew it for me. Damn background checks and drug-screening…

But just when I thought I would have to rely on credit cards for the rest of my life, I got a break: I landed a job at a tax resolution firm, helping clients rectify tax liabilities with the Internal Revenue Service or a particular State taxing authority. At first I felt I had found the perfect job, but realized very quickly that no, that was simply the recession talking, and that in reality, I was getting paid approximately 8% of the money I was MAKING the company every day.

Welcome to the corporate world, Tom.

Fortunately, however, in sticking with my writing, I just finished a screenplay and am currently working on a book about my experiences as The Reluctant Jam Boy. When the book is finished, I’ll be sure to let you guys know. I should also mention that so far, 70% of the book is new material, consisting of things I either couldn’t include with the site or didn’t get around to posting. Maybe even 80%, depending on how I end up putting the whole thing together.

So that’s where I am. Working for the man, but keeping my chin up and writing like a maniac. In addition, I’ve started writing for a new online golf magazine called “Universal Golf,” which launched on September 1, 2008. You can check it out at www.universalgolfmag.com.

I’ve also started a new blog called “Under the Limit.” Although not about caddying, I’m hoping to bring a Jam-Boy-esque feel to my writing. The content will highlight my daily and weekly struggles to work on my golf game. My end goal—and the whole reason why I’m even putting this painful process online—is to lower my handicap enough to be eligible for a local qualifier for the US Open. Right now, the limit on qualifying is a 1.4 index, and so I have a lot of work to do to whip my 6 handicap into shape. But, seeing as how I’m now a member of the office class and have Saturday’s and Sunday’s off (which hasn’t been the case in 5 years), my weekends will be spent somewhere on a golf course working on the ol’ golf game.

Now, I’m not delusional. I know how hard it will be to lower my handicap to that degree. You and I both know that achieving this goal is next to impossible in a short amount of time (let alone FOREVER), and so although I’d love to talk about how great it would be in a year’s time to report that I’m trying out for the US Open, I doubt that will happen. But hey, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and you can’t blame me for wanting to try. I’m certainly going to give it my best effort.

But that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and giving me your feedback during this crazy journey, as I have already seen after reviewing my posts that my writing has improved dramatically because of it. I’ve also met some great people, and I hope to talk to you all for a long time to come as I work on my next blog.

Take care everyone.