People think they need to change
for their life to change
but this isn’t true.
People are impatient.
I got a text
from the guy I played golf with two weeks ago
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book.
I ordered it from the library.
“Are you at the golf course?” He asked.
“Well—I’ll see you around the course.”
He showed up 5 minutes later with a big grin on his face.
“You playing alone?”
“Yeah. I have the Tao with me.”
He frowned. “I’m playing with my son and his friends. They’re pretty good. You could join us?”
“I’m alright,” I said.
You would be surprised how difficult it is not to talk to people on the golf course. It really is a social game.
Those years in high school and college, I spent alone…
I was socializing,
and I didn’t even know it.
I don’t make an effort to be with others. They find me—the way vultures find a dead corpse—they can smell someone going bad, who wants to stink by himself. They want to preserve that person, with their colloquialisms, and I don’t mind. It’s fun to be rescued by people who are completely lost.
On hole 11, I caught up with a group, but I kept reading my book and they said, “Hey, aren’t you going to play golf with us!?”
“Okay. I might as well,” I said.
“My name’s Leon. His name is Leon too. He gets annoyed with me—apparently, I don’t play golf fast enough. I’m 82. You know what they say?”
“What?” I asked.
“If you sit back and drink beer when you retire, you’ll be dead in two years. Well… I’ve been retired for over 20. Can you believe that? I went to see my urologists yesterday. He’s giving me testosterone, and you know what he asked?”
“He asked me if I still get erections. I told him, ‘Hell no. I wake up in a pile of my own piss each morning,’ but that’s okay, because I like my doctor.”
Leon was bald, the way old guys get, when they shed all of their body hair. He looked like his face was made of putty—like God got him wrong. His son wore an Alabama shirt. “I work as the janitor at the elementary,” he said.
“Really? What school?”
He told me. It wasn’t in my district.
“I play foursquare with the kids at recess. The fifth graders are good.”
He kept talking about playground sports until I was convinced, he was retarded.
Then Leon asked me the question. “What are you reading?”
“I’m reading the Tao. It’s older than the Bible.”
“Oh—are you a believer?” Leon challenged me, by looking into my eyes.
“Yes—” I said. “There’s too much evil in the world, not to believe in God. Man needs redemption. He can’t redeem himself.”
“I believe you. Let me tell you the story of how I got saved.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Well, I was working swing shift with this guy at the factory that nobody liked. The reason being, he was a Christian. He started trying to save me. ‘God cares about you, Leon.’ Shit. No, he didn’t. I was drinking every night and screwing women. You see, my son Leon, over there?”
“I was chasing his mom. Anyway, this Christian wouldn’t leave me alone. It got so bad, that one day he told me to call his pastor. I said I would, and then he pushed the phone over to me, and waited. So, I did. ‘Jesus loves you, Leon’ the pastor said, but that was hogwash. This guy at work kept after me. ‘Go to church, Leon.’ But I didn’t. Then, one night, I was driving in my truck and God spoke to me. ‘Leon, go to church, and if you don’t, I will never bother you again.’ Now, that scared the shit out of me, so I went to church, and right when I was going to go through the doors, I stopped, and said, ‘I don’t know anybody here, God. I’m not going to go in.’ But then a fella opened the door and told me that he would sit with me and introduce me to everyone. He did, and two weeks later I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.”
“Wow. That’s so cool,” I said.
“But wait, the story doesn’t stop there. It keeps going. I’m almost to the really good part. I became friends with this woman who dressed really bad. Her husband was an alcoholic and he beat her. I started to go out to ice cream with her and her kids. A month or two went by, and then, in the middle of the church service, she said, ‘Do you want sex? You can have me after the service.’ I told her, ‘Shit—if you’d only met me a couple months before, we could’ve done it, but now, I’m a born again Christian.'”
Leon turned to me. “You know that’s how men are—sex means love to a woman, but a man views it as a conquest. I can’t believe I said ‘no’ to a woman offering me sex. She was a looker. Well, a couple weeks later, she showed up to church, looking good, in a brand-new dress. I thought she was trying to seduce me, for sure, but she told me that she reconciled with her husband, and he quit drinking! —All because, I didn’t sleep with her. Now, if Jesus isn’t real, you tell me. They both got saved.”
“That’s some story,” I said. “Did you have a happy marriage?”
“No. I married Leon’s mom—that woman I was chasing, and we fought all of the time. She pumped-out four kids, and when all of them were grown, I divorced her. You can’t get no peace of mind under the roof of a disagreeable woman. I’ve been married to my new wife for 35 years, and we haven’t had one fight. Can you believe that?”
“Hard to believe,” I said. “What advice would you give a young man thinking of getting married?”
“Make sure she’s your friend, first, and don’t marry a woman you fight with.”
“Good advice,” I said.
“It was nice playing with you, Andy!”
Both Leon’s drove by in their power cart and waved to me.
How can there be this much honesty in the game of golf? It never happens at work, church, or bible study.
Man, I love this game.