Cocktails, Golf & Rocknroll
I am plumb worn out already today from 18-holes of the most challenging golf of my 32-years, and I still have a cocktail party yet to attend. Don’t think golf and cocktails are very rocknroll? Read on.
I had a terrific meal last night at Naples National Country Club. I was the youngest by some 30+ years, which left me feeling short on experience and storytelling. But it was a lot of fun to hear other’s terrific, amazing stories about presidential meetings, world travel and events that are — to me — abstract historical fact. These guys were there. I wish I had a DV cam, or at least a tape recorder to get all of the detail, all of the insight, and all of the lessons from this table of successful adults. Of course, it was all not-for-attribution.
I woke early from a night of deep, dreamless, wind-and-waved lapped rest, and tried to find something that approximated golf clothes. Alas, I do own one pair of khaki slacks, and ended up buying a golf shirt at the pro shop. That plus borrowed shoes and a cap, and I was as good as a member. ‘We’re going to turn you into someone you never thought you’d become,’ my uncle said. ‘That’s the funny thing about growing up,’ I replied.
I was pretty anxious about playing with these guys. They’re terrific. I get out twice a year, max, and rarely hit well. I just like to hang out with guys and shoot the shit. That’s what happens when you grow up 2000 miles away from your father. He did — and continues to do — a terrific job fathering me, but there’s still that craving to shoot the shit and drink some beers with the boys every now and again.
Anyway, I hit ok to start. I was driving pretty well on clubs I’d never used, and wasn’t going too far over. But it wasn’t always very pretty. ‘How well do you think I’d do with a guitar?’ my uncle asked. They all did a great job putting me at ease, guiding me through the game, and giving me a few tips. And I had terrific guidance from our Scotch caddy with the patience of Job named Graham. He had me driving as far as my uncle by the 18th hole.
Which is the funny — and somehow rocknroll — thing about golf. It’s a game full of rules: line up your shot, consider the elements, keep your head down, follow through, etc etc. But the only time one really gets it, the only chance you have of any success, is to completely forget what you know. Which is to say, you have to let go of the rules. At the moment of impact, you have to be completely Zen.
I probably don’t need to draw the parallel between golf and performing rocknroll for you, dear reader. You’re sufficiently bright. Put simply: it becomes clearer and clearer to me that to be good at anything is to know the process, and let go of the outcome.
I smiled all afternoon, reminding myself to let go, and have fun. And I did. When you drive a ball 250 yards square on, you just know it. It sounds right, feels right, and as the tiny little speck of white fades into the blue and green, it looks right.
So, now then… I’m on the patio, slightly sunburned. I’m tuckered, suffering from a bit of a headache, and wanting for a nap. Instead, I thought I’d run on the beach to wake myself up, before changing into some nice linen for my aunt and uncle’s Leap Year party (but I’ll probably just nap first). Should be interesting. Here I am this kid trying to work my way up and make my name in the world, and here they are relaxing after years of ruthless, sleepless toil. There’s a lot to be learned. We are, after all, always in progress.