I'm sure I seem to you like a guy who doesn't miss a major golf championship when it is played at a course five minutes (on a bike) from his home, and it turns out I didn't miss the first round of the 2022 US Open golf championship yesterday. Generously invited to attend by my friend Curtis, we two aging hackers with mediocre backs stumbled around the course for a while, trying to find a good location to watch the action, until we found the par 5 8th hole grandstand, where we could watch famous people in slacks and hats that proclaim which major corporation is sponsoring them hit approach shots, and chip and putt to finish the hole.
After a couple of hours, my friend Curtis felt like he needed to get up and walk. There was a threesome teeing off on the 15th, just behind us, and once they had played their shots the officials dropped ropes and let people pass through, until the threesome coming off the 14 arrived, whereupon they put up ropes again just before we arrived at the crossing. So, Curtis and I were caught there at the 15th tee
This seemed like a hole that was clearly concocted for the US Open. The length of it, a par 4 at more than 500 yards, couldn't have been the regular tee box for members. It would take a drive of 280 yards just to make the fairway, and the tiny real estate that the tee box was comprised of suggested it had been horseshoed in for a major championship. As a result, we were inches from the players and their caddies.
When you watch golf on TV, you usually see huge galleries at the tee, but that's because the networks show you the best players, with fans that follow them around the course. If I can paint with broad brush strokes for a second, I would guess that the American contingent of PGA touring pros is made of up of lots of Christian family-men – guys like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler – probably Republicans, certainly guys who don't go raising hell the night before playing in a golf tournament. But the group at the 15th were people I had never heard of before – Ryan Gerard and Jesse Mueller, and a third guy named Brady Calkins.
There was a backup ahead, so the caddies and golfers at the 15th started making small talk about where they were staying and the crazy traffic and trolleys going by their windows. I couldn't help but notice that the caddy for Calkins was young and was dipping Copenhagen chewing tobacco, talking smack with Brady like he was a drinking buddy rather than an employee, which is what professional caddies are. Most notably, the golf bag he was carrying was tiny compared to the wardrobe-sized bags that everyone else on the course was using. It was like his boss had played hooky from work to hack around with his buds on a municipal course, grabbing clubs he had bought second hand, and looking for the drinks cart to pass so he could grab a can of local craft beer. It seemed so unlike the players you hear about all the time that I couldn't help but search him up on the interweb, which is how I found this article about Brady in Golf Digest.
Brady Calkins: maybe a Christian, maybe Republican, but at this point in his career definitely not a family man who seeks to get a good night's sleep before he tees off in a major championship.
I haven't attended an actual theatrical farce since the late 1980s, when I went to see Joe Orton's "What the Butler Saw," accompanied by a woman with whom I was hopelessly infatuated. My strongest memories of that evening – in the darkness of a tiny theater somewhere on Charles Street in Boston (need to check the facts on that) – are less about the comedy itself than the revelation that we humans spew an incredible amount of saliva when we talk.
The director of this production had backlit the stage, such that every time the actors yelled – especially the balding guy playing the central character of Dr. Prentiss – the audience saw impossibly huge clouds of salivary droplets spewing into the air. It was both comical and disgusting and went on for a couple of hours. At times it was hard to follow the play because I was so awestruck by the bursts of goo coming out of the actors' mouths. It didn't exactly provide the romantic atmosphere I was hoping for that evening.
One day, when I was in grade school – call it fifth grade – a teacher angrily hollered at us for treating English class as a farce, which made me laugh because, as a French Canadian, I had many times eaten a meat stuffing called "farce." Then she yelled "Patrick McVay wipe that smirk off your face now!" I might not remember many of the world's thorniest crises of that era, but I remember her saying "farce" and me laughing about it.
Calling our behavior a farce was, to be honest, inaccurate. It was more of a circus. Farces, to my mind, have a pattern to them. Several doors as well. There was only one door in my fifth-grade English class, and our unruly behavior had no discernable pattern.
I've never written a farce, but I did once claim, in these very pages, that I was going to write one called "Gun Farce." I'm guessing that I posted that blog entry shortly after a mass shooting occurred. I won't even bother to check what mass shooting might have happened around January 13, 2013, because, let's face it, they happen just about every day in these increasingly disunited states.
Sometimes, I feel that penning a play around the general contours of my Gun Farce blog entry would be worth the effort, if nothing else to assuage the guilt I feel for doing otherwise little to combat the conditions that enable teenagers to waltz into gun shops and purchase semi-automatic rifles without a license and use them to murder children in their classrooms en masse. However, I don't think it would end up being terribly funny. It's hard to lighten the mood when a minority of Americans are arming themselves to the hilt. It feels eerily like preparation for war, except the enemy is, apparently, young people in school.
Maybe what I'll do instead is write a farce about the US Senate. After all, the Capitol has lots of doors, the principal characters are mad, and there is a decades-long pattern of defending the purchase and sale of guns at any cost.
If you know me, you know that I have mustards. You may have ketchups and maybe even catsups, but what's in your mustard arsenal? I get that it's really none of my business. I'm not going to pry into your mustard stash like some kind of food voyeur, then post mockingly about you in social media because instead of finding mustards I run into a plethora of ketchups. That would be really weird!
But seriously, I have to ask, do you have various ilk of ketchups? We don't in our house. We have Heinz 57 and that's it.
But we have our mustards. Several types of honey mustard, Dijon, horseradish (can't get enough), plus your standard yellow mustard for when you want a taste of the ballpark.
Still, those ketchup people want to ruin everything! Taking away the spotlight that had been shining on the world-class mustards that have done so much to spice up our lives!
Don't get me going on mayo.
Hey, a quick note to say I got your email message. I'm packed to the gills at the moment, but I should be able to respond later today, or at worst tomorrow. Thanks!
Hi again. Sorry that I haven't responded, but I haven't forgotten about your request. Back in touch soon!
Hey there. Just wanted to say that I started writing a response to your initial email message, then got interrupted, and then my day just got super crazy! That's the way it seems to be these days, doesn't it? Back in touch soon.
Hello again. I'm about 90 percent of my way through a response to your very complicated request. There are still a couple of people I need to touch base with before I can dot the I's and cross the T's. Call it more like 95%. Sorry for the delay! I think we'll be able to help you, but I just need to connect on a couple of technical issues first!
Oh dear – has it really been a month since I last responded? I guess so, although I will say that I have an email all queued up and ready to go, except for one last tiny bit of information that I'm trying to get from a colleague on my end. She's not in today but I expect to see her tomorrow. I'm sure you're frustrated but just sit tight for one more day and I'll be sure to get back to you!
Hello. I am out of the office on an extended leave. If you need immediate assistance, please call our main number below and someone will be happy to assist you. Have a great rest of the year!