Friday, October 28, 2011

HOT HAND LUKE (The Sequel)

In honor of Luke Donald's incredible year, a modest fantasy based on a smattering of facts and hyperbole. In other words, as Foghorn Leghorn would say, "It's joke, son. a joke."

Turns out Luke doesn't get killed in prison. Instead, a kindly guard took the "rebel" under his wing and taught him how to swing a golf club. Luke was a natural. The kindly guard and his poker buddies decided to see how far Luke could go once he'd been paroled, which finally happened without further incident involving any sort of failure to communicate. Luke evolved into a model prisoner, working in the prison library, where he read constantly. And then he was released, a little wiser, a little smarter. But that didn't last. Never does.

Anyway, the kindly guard/buddies invited Luke to their modest farm, where he hit balls dawn to dusk for more than 18 months. In addition to the practice, Luke began playing 72 holes a week at a nearby course. 

Fast forward another 24 months. Luke entered his first event and had his first "taste" of having a gallery. Most of those in Luke's gallery were female and quite attractive. Of course, Luke had been on the farm so long that it didn't take much to attract him. One thing led to another.

Luke made the cut in his first event in spite of getting almost zero sleep. He did get herpes, however, but that didn't bother Luke. He just rolled with the punches.

A grizzled caddie veteran, known only as Daly, who'd been cooking crystal meth in Santa Fe, happened to run into Luke in a coffee shop in Tulsa. Luke and Daly joined forces. By day they played golf, while at night, they sold drugs.

For a while, life was good. Luke entered regional events, and when he wasn't phucked up on crank, he dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour. He was almost 40 years old at that point, but a man can dream, can't he?

Daly got busted in Tucson, and Luke met a waitress named Heather in a Waffle Shop, who not only was quite attractive but also eager to see the world. She begged Luke to let her be his caddy, and after 48 hours at a Motel 6, Luke agreed.

Heather didn't do drugs, nor did she wear underwear. Gotta take the good with the bad.

As luck might have it, Luke and Heather made it on time to Q School. Luke did okay, but on the final day, he needed a great round to have a chance of earning his card.

And so it came to pass. Luke played like vintage Tiger Woods. Like Tiger Woods in the year 2000.

Luke earned his card, and Heather said she was pregnant. One step forward, two steps back.

So, Luke and Heather got married, and as it happened, Heather had a twin sister named Harriet who lived in Seattle. Harriet flew to Houston, where Luke and Heather had rented a trailer. A double wide. Harriet moved in, and oddly enough, one thing led to another.

Harriet got pregnant. Apparently, no one had ever bothered letting Luke know about birth control. Or Heather. Or Harriet.

Luke took a long walk one night, mulling what had happened to him. And suddenly, it all became clear. He would devote himself to his craft – playing golf – and provide for his rapidly expanding family. 

Even better when the time came, he'd buy a box of rubbers.

Luke dreamed of becoming the world's number one husband, father, golfer, and lover, but not necessarily in that order. Ah, the wicked ways of the flesh have doomed even the brightest stars.

But Luke had one thing going. He never looked back. He took Satchel Paige's advice literally, and thus kept his eyes on the prize. Actually prizes. Not to mention that he had a "great" relationship with Heather and Harriet.

Luke won his first PGA Tour event and learned that the gravy train now stopped at his trailer. Well, the trailer days were soon over. Luke moved to Orlando, where he purchased a house in Isleworth with a busted tree and fire hydrant in the yard, and Escalade glass still on the lawn. Luke got a pretty good deal, too.

But Luke soon learned that Orlando is no Mickey Mouse town when it comes to ghosts. Apparitions followed Luke like hungry wolves; voices whispered in the wind, and in no time, Luke fell into a burning ring of fire.

In fact, Luke met a Golf Channel reporter who had studied at UNC. She seemed like the girl next door, but in actuality, she was more like the girl next door in the fancy hotel. You might say Luke had stumbled into a win-win-win situation.

Luke's golf suffered, but he had a good time until Heather and Harriet found out about the reporter. Well, let's just say they weren't happy. And, of course, what goes around, comes around. They beat the sheite out Luke and his Suburban in the driveway, using a 3- and a 4-iron. One wag posted on his golf blog that Heather and Harriet suffered from Elin Sindrome. He was right, of course.

Heather got a divorce, and Harriet returned to Seattle with her baby daughter. Luke was left in shambles.

It didn't take long before Luke went to a spiritual retreat in North Myrtle Beach to sort things out. Will he ever return to golf? 

It was an Allman Brothers/Eric Clapton moment: You might say that Luke was tied to a whipping post, down at the crossroads. There were at least seven turns on the highway, and for a rambling man devoted to the sunshine of many loves, there were no alibis, no money and cigarettes, and no way out. In fact, Luke felt there was nobody left to run with.

That is, until he met Sweet Melissa. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Phone rant

I have been shaking my head for a week about the enormous clamor and passion about the latest iPhone. Okay  It's a new Apple product. And I'm definitely an Apple guy. We have two iPods and three Macs. We are as nuts about Apple as the Phoneites. No argument there.

Here's my thing. Of course, the phone has plenty of tremendous aspects. But at the end of the day, it's still a phone. What I think is sad is that people, and not just in the United States, now have relationships with these devices. I read on twitter where a young woman went into withdrawal because she lost her phone.


It's a phone. Not a cause. Or a person. Or even a writing project.

And the obsession with this technology is not restricted to age or economic class. The planet is now texting itself toward an intellectual wasteland. It's more important to have working thumbs than it is for a mind to be able to discern what it is processing. Or in many instances, SHOULD be processing.

This is where technology, imo, has turned insidious, and the smart phone has evolved into the most dangerous "toy" because it has spawned and enhanced a global obsession with the quick text, the instant you-tube, the clever tweet, and sometimes actual conversation. But minds are not being stretched or expanded with these devices, or at least as much as some might have you believe.

My opinion is that reading words in the linear plane is the best mental exercise possible, and this is where the iPad and Kindle-esque machines are truly valuable. The phone, however, has nothing to do with linear thinking. Why anyone would watch a film on a phone is beyond mystifying. I do not, for instance, want to watch LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on a screen the size of a business card.

I know people who say they are writers because they concoct a lot of email. Wrong. Email is often one step above a coffee rant because one has to type. But not a big step.

What is worse, at least from my view, is that reading comprehension has been replaced with "skills" that impede rather than activate the imagination. It's simple. You want to get smarter? Do some serious reading, instead of using your thumbs to text acronyms and bull shit.

Don't get me wrong. I love technology. I love the internet. I love being able to communicate instantly with someone in Fiji. I love my laptop. I couldn't possibly go back to the typewriter and buckets of white out. Barrels in my case. Sigh.

But I'm also fond of the printed word in a book, magazine, or newspaper that I hold in my hands and get lost inside BECAUSE my mind takes me there. As I said, the iPad and Kindle are terrific in that regard. I am never going to get lost inside an iPhone. And if i hear the word "apps" one more time, I am going to vomit.

Obviously, this rant dates me. So be it. Call me old school. Key word, however, is school.