By Lex, on Fri – February 18, 2005
Bottled water, just now. It’s still early, and anyway I had a beer (Guinness, if you must know – for strength ! * ) with lunch today.
How and why that came to be will be yours to discover once you have clicked “read more” below.
There is a long and circular tale about Monday that I want to share, only I am not quite sure just how to tell it. Hmm.
(Caution: If you can’t abide stories about men lashing the turf in search of little white balls to scrape around [golf, in other words], skip ahead a few lines, brother.)
Well anyway, the surface forces were having their annual golf classic at the air station where I work. Being the team player that I am, and believing it’s all for the best to share of oneself, I signed up a team from our organization. We were a pretty diverse bunch, if you can call four white naval officers between the age of 36 and 50 (I was not the oldest!) diverse. Which I know wouldn’t pass muster at the kinds of places where ethnicity is parsed with purséd lips and diversity is carefully sifted, weighed and assessed, but as I was saying, and to get back on the tale itself, we were diverse, for us: One aviator, one surface warfare officer (for form’s sake, and anyway he’s the best golfer on the staff), one submariner and an admin guy.
I was very nearly late to the tournament, for reasons which shall be later revealed, and got there without the chance to practice. But our team had a great day, and there was always someone there when the others were not, which (as this was a scramble, the team selecting the best shot from the four, and each playing a ball from that position, tee to cup) made it a very successful day for us. We birdied every hole, and eagled our par fives, with the exception of the medium length (525 yards or so) par 5 15th:
I hit my best drive of the day, and we were sitting 213 yards out from the flagstick. An awkward distance for me, rather longer than I can reach with a 3-iron, and too close for any of my woods. Not to worry though, my surface warfare playing partner took out his Mizuno MP-14 forged blade 3-iron (he’s longer than me) and put the most absolutely sweetest possible swing on the little white ball, which took off like it had been shot from the barrel of a gun. It was such a pure stroke that I got shivers, and urged it up there, close to the cup. Lightly did it land, softly roll and finally finish not just near the cup but actually inside it. From 213 yards away.
And there was much rejoicing.
I dunno if I’ve ever seen a double eagle on TV before, but now I know I’ve seen one in actual life (and even, ahem, contributed in a small way, cough*). I’m still amazed when I think of it.
At the end of the day we carded a 49, for 22 under par, over 18 holes. This was the best score I had ever heard of in a scramble and, I reckoned, would certainly put us in first place (is there any other?), it being hard to see how anyone could beat that score. In fact, as the other foursomes trundled in, no one even came close for the first half-hour or so. The next closest score was a 55 (which is a pretty damn good score) but then, suddenly, I looked up on the board and saw that a group had posted a 48. We were beaten, by one stroke.
I still don’t know how that’s possible – I’m pretty sure that no one else double eagled any holes, so that requires a birdie on every hole and four eagles elsewhere. And yet, there is very little that is as precious to a naval officer as is his honor, and any huffing aloud about unlikely scores would have been received very unkindly indeed – in the age of sail, something like that would have led to a challenge on the field of honor, and blood would have been spilled in consequence. So we swallowed our dark thoughts, and took home our second prize winnings as gracefully as we could. It was still a pretty good day.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention – I was very nearly late to the tournament, I mentioned that, did I not?
There was a terrible coil on the 5 south Monday morning – our on-ramp had been shut down, which served to flood all the side streets and avenues in lower Carmel Valley with frowning commuters, creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Once we all got on the main artery southbound, traffic very quickly went from bad to hideous as five southbound lanes, just at peak rush hour, were artificially constrained to two. Steering wheels were being abused by forearms over the span of several miles as people shouted at themselves and the radio, thinking only of their misfortune, and how late we would all severally be.
Soon enough we came upon the cause of all the traffic, and I think all of us momentarily paused and reflected that someone else’s day was about to get a whole lot worse than anything we were likely to experience. It was pretty awful.
And it definitely put things into perspective, all the trivia we find a way to agonize over, while losing sight of the really important things all around us – our lives, our families and our friends.
This was less than a week after Ash Wednesday, and I heard Fr. Steve’s voice again in my head reminding me that I came from dust, oh man, and to dust I would return.
That was a bit of a buzz kill, wasn’t it? Now you know why I didn’t tell you that story on Monday, or on T-Th either, and maybe why I wrestled with how to tell it at all – how do you tie up all the loose elements of that five hour period?
I’m aware that I have done so with even less grace and perfection than is my usual, abysmal standard. But it was therapeutic for me, which is why I was forced to drag you along for the ride.
Sorry ’bout that.
If you haven’t seen the displacement-challenged person of lesser age from New Jersey lip-synch Romanian techno, you may do so here ** . I got it from Matt’s place , which means of course that all of you have already seen it, but if you haven’t, have fun. And if you have, go again and wash that first part of the entry from your psyche.
If you enjoy watching the occasional spasm of heretic burning that passes for informed dialogue in parts of the political world, I do encourage you to follow this link (and with haste – it’s already in archives and soon will be lost forever to the nothing-paying public.
In it, the LA Times Michael Kinsley, a man I think I would have enjoyed beating up for lunch money back in high school (but who would no doubt have left me a trembling mass of jelly on the debating podium) and Susan Estrich, a professor of law at UCLA have at one another. Now, watching liberals attack feminists who have attacked liberals is not quite on the same level as world champion mud wrestling in terms of entertainment value, but it’s pretty far ahead of whatever comes in at second place. If you ask me.
And no, I never actually beat anyone up for their lunch money. It’s a figure of speech.
Lileks was at his best on Thursday , I thought – the man is busy these days, and the passions of the election past are, well, passed and so his writing has of late lacked a bit of the spark, punch and vim which so often made him such a valuable daily read. And I’d almost given up with a sigh on Thursday, when:
(Qoutha:) Women today mother in the excessive, control-freakish way that they do in part because they are psychologically conditioned to do so. But they also do it because, to a large extent, they have to. Because they are unsupported, because their children are not taken care of, in any meaningful way, by society at large. Because there is right now no widespread feeling of social responsibility—for children, for families, for anyone, really—and so they must take everything onto themselves.
(Himself:) Imagine tha. You have to take the responsibility of your children on yourselves. The day I expect “society” to take care of my child in a meaningful way is the day I give society the right to take her away and do a better job if I don’t schedule daily flash-card phonics sessions. I suspect that we are talking about two different groups – those mothers who genuinely need help because they made some horrible decisions and find themselves with many children and no fathers, and those who can’t quite strike the perfect balance between Corporate Warrior Princess and UberSuperPerfectRoleModelLove-GusherMom, and hence get, well, excessive and control-freakish. I think the former group needs our help, and the second group needs a big frosty glass of chill-the-hell-out with a kicky pastel umbrella.
I do so hate to gush, but there’s much else there besides. You can thank me later, if you’re so inclined.
Did you all read about the German Short-haired spaniel ** that won the big annual dog show last weekend?
You must have. It was on the front page of all the papers, and a lead item on CNN news. Which momentarily left me to wonder if I had gone through some sort of parallel universe wormhole, to an alternate reality in which the American people had a right to know, by God, demanded! to know exactly what breed of dog had won at Westminster.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a dog guy. Through and through. Hunting breeds, too.
I’m just almost entirely certain that nothing like that has ever bubbled up into the zeitgeist before. I never saw it coming, anyway.
Is this how we’ll be remembered?
Hey, Sgt B, whose comments have of late graced these pages, has started his own blog . And because he’s a good man, he’s going up on the blogroll, and I encourage you to seek his custom, as he pays his tribute to the “Ma Deuce.”
Anyway, this is clearly already a gilding of the lilly, since he’s had, in his first week of operations, more comments than I had in my first several months.
These young pups today.
(Have fun, brother.)
Comments, you see, are very likely a blogger’s only source of compensation for the work he’s put into his craft. Oh, some folks have a tip jar (cough*), but for most of us, the only feedback that we’re being read and appreciated is the number of comments in the haloscan counter.
And I believe, for my ego’s sake, that I’m going to have to shift that particular paradigm, at least as it applies to me. Because I can write something I think is particularly choice, or insightful or weighty, and sit back and watch as it accumulates, meh – six, seven comments. High quality stuff, but not the kind of numbers you’d show to your parents.
And then last Sunday **, lacking inspiration entirely, but not wanting to go two whole days without saying anything – I turned a few pixels dark where previously there had been naught, building in the process a little nothing, a wisp of air, a mote of dust… and received 21 comments at this counting. Which is up there in serious competition with the bestest ever.
Long, long. It’s gone on too long, to not have gone anywhere at all, but that is the very nature and essence of a Friday Musing. Innit?
My very best to all of you and yours, and I hope you enjoy your weekend in perfect health and safety.
Sheesh, I almost forgot.
Reenlisted a Sailor today at Dave and Busters – her request. In civvies, adult beverages to follow the ceremony. Got us all out of the office half a day early on a Friday afternoon, and was a true privilege for me. Can’t ever read that oath without getting a little bit humbled, thinking about all the folks who’ve gone before, and all they’ve given to make those words real:
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
* 07-06-18 Link gone; substitute made – Ed.
** 07-06-18 Links gone; no substitute available – Ed.