Thursday, October 05, 2006

Golf Outing

Okay, so I'm not a golfer. I've never actually done it before. Not even at a driving range. I'm not even particularly capable of miniature golfing. The last time that I went miniature golfing was several years ago, and I nearly killed an old guy. The hole in question required you to whack the ball up a hill and under a little bridge. It curved around in a loop until it went over the little bridge to the hole. I was having a bit of trouble getting it up the hill - it kept rolling back to where it started. So, I had a mild temper tantrum and WHACKED it whereupon it lifted into the air, hit the little bridge, rebounded back through the air and whacked the guy standing behind us in the forehead. He went down like he'd been hit by a hammer. Turns out he had a concussion. So I'm not exactly batting a thousand here. And mostly, I'm okay with that.

But... every year my company has a golf outing, open to everyone. Last year, all of my friends went and had so much fun that they're STILL talking about it. So I determined that this year, I would not be left out. It was originally scheduled for September 24th, but we'd gotten so much rain that the course was underwater, so it was rescheduled for October 1. I thought Sunday was an odd day for it, but maybe that's just my ignorance showing through.

I ended up on a team with a friend, we'll call her Laverne, who has also never golfed before; another friend - we'll call him Lenny - who golfs once a year or so and Lenny's 11 year old son. We'll call him Squiggy. Squiggy's never been on a golf course before. I told Lenny that this outing probably wasn't the best place for a child and it was okay to have a threesome but he'd "already told Squiggy and he was excited."

A point to remember. I do not have children. I prefer it that way. OPKs (other people's kids) are okay in small doses if they are well controlled. A choke chain works. Lenny, who is a very close friend of mine, does not believe in discipline. Actually, he and his wife are completely subservient to their little angels, to the point that they've not been invited to peoples' homes because other people don't want their uncontrolled beasts running amuck in their houses. But I digress.

Laverne and I were in one golf cart, Lenny and Squiggy in another. Let me pause here briefly and backtrack.

My friend, D, WAS going to take me to the driving range prior to this little expedition but the weather and her family schedule didn't cooperate. She did, however, set me up with spare clubs. Right-handed ones. Have I ever mentioned that I'm left-handed? Right, well. I am. More ambidextrous than most but still... left-handed. D and I drove together to the golf course, which was in the middle of freaking nowhere. It took us over an hour to get there. But we arrived, and they handed us beer and keys to the golf carts, nearly in one motion. That just seems wrong to me, but whatever.

So, Laverne and I in one golf cart, Lenny and Squiggy in the other. Tee off was at 1:00. At 12:45, Squiggy is whining that he wants to go. Go now. Why should we have to wait, let's just go... with the cart in reverse, so it was squawking that high pitched beep noise. Before we even started, and I'm ready to really hurt Squiggy. Finally, mere moments before I snap and start pounding on the brat with a nine iron (or a six, what's the difference?), the guy in charge makes his announcements and we're all off.

Here's something odd. The golf course has an air strip running right down the middle of it. It's a tiny one - just grass with rows of cones but it separates the first nine holes and the second. The whole day was spent being buzzed by cute little planes taking off and landing. You had to make sure the coast was clear before crossing back and forth over the fairway. Very early in the day, we nearly lost the beer cart 'cause the lady crossed in front of a plane taking off and froze in the middle of the runway. The plane pulled WAY up and managed to miss her by about two inches. Very exciting stuff. I'm told that this is not normal for golf courses.

So we get to the first hole, which for us was hole 6. This was to be a scramble, playing every shot from the best and using at least three shots from every member of the foursome. So Laverne sticks her tee in the ground, balances the ball and gets ready to swing... and Squiggy yells that he wants to be first, runs in front of her and puts his tee in the ground about 9" ahead of hers. And Lenny remains quiet. Squiggy nearly brained Laverne going first as she scrambled backwards out of the way. It took him several tries to hit the ball, which went about four feet beyond the tee box. He then yells that we will be using his shot. Laverne tees again, gets ready to swing and Squiggy starts yapping, just to distract her. She hits, then I hit. Okay, I swung a couple of times and then connected but it wasn't too bad. Then Lenny nails the poor little ball a couple hundred yards. Holy crap! If it were a baseball, it woulda been outta there!

So we hop in our carts and we're off! Laverne and I split it equally - she drove the first nine holes, I drove the last. Lenny let Squiggy drive. Actually I suppose a better way to say it was that Squiggy didn't let Lenny drive.

The entire day was an exercise in not bashing that child's head in. We didn't talk to anyone else, because everyone knows what Lenny's spawn are like and won't come anywhere near them. At every hole on every shot, the child yelled, squealed, barked, threw balls, drove the cart in front of the tee box - whatever he could do to distract you from hitting your shot. He ripped the hell out of the course - several pounds of every sandtrap onto the green, divets the size of the rodent in Caddyshack, stabbing the flag into the ground, moving the markers. Ooh, and on several occasions, someone yelled "fore!" and a ball came bouncing by, and Squiggy took them. He left that day with quite the collection of balls from other players. The entire time, Lenny was correcting him - but he never once followed through with anything. Squiggy didn't even look over at Lenny while Lenny was telling him not to do something. Lenny told Squiggy four freaking times that he was done driving for the day, and when it was time to move on, Squiggy hopped behind the wheel, and Lenny sat down next to him and didn't say another word about it. Once, Lenny got the wheel away from Squiggy, and used the opportunity to show the little darling how to skid sideways to a stop a la Dukes of Hazard. Fortuately, that was near the end of the day, so there weren't too many huge ruts from the cart.

Finally, FINALLY, we finished - at a bit after 6:00 and went in to dinner. That was about the longest five hours of my life. And on top of it all, dinner sucked. The salad was good. Our other choices were squishy California mixed vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, very fatty ribs and half cooked chicken. Yummy. We sat at a round table for 8, so others got to experience some of the joy that is Squiggy. He took only a huge plate full of mashed potatoes, and spent dinner playing with it - molding it into a castle using the water glasses and bread sticks. They took our scorecards, and then had people go up and chose from a table of prizes bases on their scores. Squiggy went up and helped himself to as much as he could carry. The guy in charge had to come to our table and extract items to put back. Once again, Lenny was completely ineffective.

D and I left as soon as we could. On the whole, I wouldn't mind trying it again - with left-handed clubs and without children. On the way home, D said she had no idea how I didn't do damage to Squiggy. I'm not sure either.

* The drive to the course was fun and scenic.
* I had fun with Laverne.
* I really liked zipping around in the golf cart.
* It was a BEAUTIFUL day and I was happy to be out in it.
* Golfing, if you have good company, the proper equipment and some clue what the hell you're doing, may not entirely suck.

Not So Positives:
* We'll probably have to find a new course next year, 'cause the owner did NOT look happy with us. Turns out their insurance doesn't allow for children driving the carts, which he told Lenny and Lenny ignored.
* I've learned that good friends can be pretty crappy parents.
* I've learned that the same good friends can evidently be completely oblivious to their offspring's unpopularity. At one point during the day, I looked at Lenny and said "Next year, the kid stays home." Yes, exactly like that. During the course of the day, Lenny tried to get either Laverne or I to switch with him in the cart "because Squiggy's driving was so bad." Evidently the whole concept of not letting your child drive is foreign.

The Next Day:
Lenny and I IM (instant message) back and forth throughout the day. When I came in on Monday, I wondered if Lenny would be talking to me, based on how I treated his child the day before. I logged on and almost immediately got a message from him thanking me for my patience with his son's behavior.

Here's the really weird thing:
I can't decide if Lenny is really that clueless or if he's hoping that I'll take his children in hand. He said something at one point about how he felt his son would be a good helper for me. I replied back with "Only if you want to see him hurt. I demand obedience from my minions, and I'm willing to beat them until I get it." He said he was fine with whatever methods I decided to employ. Then he said something about how next year, he and Laverne would share a cart and Squiggy and I could duke it out. I responded with "Not bloody likely."

Oh The Irony:
Also the next day, Lenny was complaining about how his back hurt. He whined for quite a while about it. I thought it was from the swinging, since he didn't golf that frequently. Nope. It was from Squiggy driving. Apparently they were playing a game where Squiggy would slow down and drive past a ball and Lenny would lean out of the cart and grab it on the fly. Except that Squiggy would wait for Lenny to lean out and then would slam on the brakes - and he kept doing it throughout the day. This is why Lenny's back hurt. Okay, maybe this is just me, but if you have back trouble anyway and your kid pulled something like this, how would you react? Continue to allow it to happen? Beat the brat senseless right then and there? Take the wheel of the golf cart and wait 'till you got home to pound on 'em? Probably most parents would go with something like option three. Option two looks best to me. Lenny chose option one.

Sometimes I ask for others' viewpoints before I say anything because I frequently do not look at things the same way as others. This time, however, I've had nearly everyone that was there tell me that they have no idea how I put up with Squiggy for the day.

Aww well, live and learn. Next year, I shall have left handed clubs and I shall pick my foursome more carefully!

1 comment:

Stu said...

Seriously, good for you for being so candid with the guy. He needs to understand that parenting is an imperative, not a choice on a menu of other options. He seems to respect you, so you may want to consider being even more candid, telling him exactly how to parent. I bet you he'll be grateful.