Monday, April 25, 2005

Golf shots.

There’s two kinds of shots in golf—the safe shot, and the not-so-safe shot.

There I am, lining up my third stroke of the par 5 number 8, nothing between me and the green but a surmountable distance…and a tree. I’m not going to lie, it was a big tree, but I was feeling like a big shot, and Christ, a golf ball is pretty damn small, and there is all kinds of open space up in that tree, just begging for a golf ball to weave a path through. Thus, the two choices: safe or not-so-safe.

Oh, unsolvable riddle, who am I to solve thee?

This is bigger than a tree. This is about me, and you, and everyone else, and who I want to be and who I’m going to be and what we are going to do and who you want to become. It’s about law and literature and love and life. It’s about speeding and drinking and wearing a helmet and studying for tests and taking tests without studying and doing drugs and doing laundry and wearing off-color clothes and taking clothes off. Is it the golf ball that will suffer from my poor decision, or is it me? Could it be you?

The golf ball, quite small; the tree, quite big; the golfer, quite bad. Perhaps I am indeed the golfer, carefully deciding the direction in which to drive my life. The ball is then my life, the tree those obstacles in my way: tests and loans and rejection letters and rejections.

Or is it different? Maybe I am not the golfer at all. Maybe I am the ball! And the golfer is fate, or God, or god, or my parents on the phone or the television or the man or maybe the golfer is even you. But what is the tree?

I know. The tree is you. Yes, the tree is most certainly and definitely you. The tree is you and I am both the golfer and the ball and the course would be so interminably obvious and clear if you weren’t there—but would it also be flat, lonely, dull, boring, “safe,” and awful? Maybe, but dammit, it sure would be easier to get to the green.

What is the green? Is the green where I want to go? Is it a great job and a happy family and great wife and dog and a house enough free time to ride my back and maybe play tennis or golf but not so much free time that I get bored, or is the green just where we all wind up? Perhaps the green is old age, the cup—death.

No, I don’t like that version. I’ve changed my mind. The green is now you. You are no longer the tree, you are now the green. The tree is fear and nervousness and a lack of confidence and mumbled words and forgotten facts and everything between me and you. But what am I? Am I the golfer, who has a choice? A choice of going around the tree? Taking an extra shot, but making sure I get there sooner or later, without injury and without fear of losing the ball.

Losing the ball!

Surely losing the ball is death. Surely. Yes, losing the ball is death and if I hurry to get through the tree to you I run the risk of dying a horrible and awful death at the hands of a pond or long weeds or worse yet—a spot of lonely ground that simply gets overlooked.

I don’t much like that scenario, I think that in fact, I would rather not be the golfer, driving my life through all the perils of its fearsome course, aiming for the green, but winding up in the rough.

In my world, I would like to be the ball. The ball makes no choices and cannot be blamed. Yes, it runs a risk, of being lost and never found, and at times, it can take a beating, but it does so with much endurance and rarely, if ever, does the ball break. It gets dirty, and gets lost, and sometimes hits things and sometimes goes the wrong direction, but these are no faults of its own, and it can usually recover…or at least, be dropped back into play. The truth is, I don’t want to decide. I’m afraid of going through the tree, but I’m also afraid of losing strokes and losing time. I’m ready to do either, but I need someone to hit me.

I know it doesn’t work like that. I know that I am the golfer, and no matter how many trees and bunkers and weeds foul things up, I’ll still be the one hitting the ball, though it may be harder at times than at others. At some point, I have to stop thinking about it, have to stop taking practice swings, and hit the ball. In the end, it’s about a being firm but relaxed, graceful but committed. It’s about a good back-swing and a good follow-through. It’s about sacking up, hitting the damn ball, and being prepared to follow it, wherever it happens to go.

Oh, for what it’s worth, on the course today I went for gold, hit the tree, lost sight of the ball, and wandered around aimlessly looking for it until the fellows on the other fairway whistled and pointed to the middle of the fairway—30 yards behind where I started.

1 comment:

Couch Potato said...

"Help me if you can I'm feeling down" - I also think I must be lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him on the golf course yesterday. Now this is strange because usually I see him in the supermarket.

Honest really, last time I saw him there he was right in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new lcd tv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a lcd tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger.

Then I'm gonna go home, put ma dancin' suit on, munch me some uppers and freak out to that maaaaaaaaad surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on ma lcd tv .

How cool is that boy?

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)