Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Archive for April, 2022

That One Time At The Masters. Sunday musings…4/10/2022

1 Hostage. First published “Musings” in weeks. My blog has been held hostage by multiple server quirks. Lots of stuff to talk about. Also, likely time for a change in venue.

2 Equilux. The first day of Spring, the Equinox, is not the day when daylight precisely equals dark. That day is actually called the Equilux, and it typically occurs a day or two prior to the first day of spring.

Learned that from the comic strip Frazz.

3 Mistake. “A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” –Paulo Coelho

Boy, there’s a lot of meat on that bone, isn’t there?

4 Schlimmbesserung. German. An intended improvement that actually makes things worse. Think New Coke. Or EMR.

Yeah…definitely EMR.

5 Memories. One of the things that Facebook does very, very well, is remind you what you were up to in years past. At the moment I am in the midst of 24 consecutive days of “Drinking with John Starr” 2 years ago during the Pandemic lockdown. It was a very dark time for me, one of the darkest of my life. And yet, every day at 5:00 I thought about my friend John and his “Drinks Around the World”, and I smiled.

It may not have been the best coping mechanism (as John himself pointed out), but it did get me through. In 10 days or so I will buy John a drink and say “thank you”.

6 Movies. This has been an “on” week in our new life as grandparents. Beth has lots of responsibility with the little ones. My Dollie is exhausted. We’ve reacted by watching movies together. Some at night, some during the day, but all together. We typically choose movies we’ve missed over the years, or current movies everyone is talking about. There’s a trend we’ve noticed of late…

…we almost always find the most lauded movies to be disappointing.

Seriously. Manchester by the Sea was nothing less than a 3 hour emotional beatdown. You stick with it because it was so well-reviewed. The actors and acting said to be so good it didn’t really matter what the story was. You stick with it thinking that any movie so highly regarded MUST give you some kind of reward for sticking it out. Yeah. No.

Last night it was “Lost in Translation”, one of Bill Murray’s non-comedy movies. One that supposedly proved his chops as a “real” actor, not just a goof. Sure, Murray’s acting was actually quite good. But come on now, WTF was it really about? The best, most memorable scene in the whole thing was Murray whispering something wholly unknown into his co-stars ear at the end. It was the signature moment and you can’t hear him.

You. Don’t. Know. What. He. Said.

So today we took a totally different tack. Beth and I watched a movie with no pedigree whatsoever, starring actors we’d never heard of or seen before called “Without a Paddle”. It’s ridiculous. Just silly. Not art in any sense of the word.

We loved it.

It’s like that book you read because you simply want to be entertained. No work. A “Harry Bosch” or “Grey Man” novel. Bourne, in years past. I’d have felt a bit better about the “esteemed” movies if they’d been…you know…fun. Even less pretentious would have been better.

Murray didn’t need an “art house” movie to cement his reputation. Beth and I didn’t need his (or Ben Affleck’s for that matter) offering to the arts gods.

7 Masters. At the moment I am sitting in front of a television, finishing off one of my DWJS cocktails and enjoying my annual “visit” to Augusta National. I’ve sent out greetings to my locals, my brother, and my best friend. My two cheering interests will come up short, although the fact that Tiger made it through all 4 days without needing an ambulance is probably cause for a second cocktail. It’s funny, that a golf tournament is an annual touchstone for a guy who stopped playing golf for 12 years, but nonetheless, there it is on the tube.

I got to go to the Masters once. In person. My best friend since college once had a job where he took 3 clients to August for the Masters each year. We had a deal: if one of his customers bailed for whatever reason he would call and I would come. In a super cool coincidence I got “the call” at the dinner table when my Mom and Dad were visiting us in Cleveland. Rob had tickets for the whole weekend and one of his customers couldn’t come. I was in!

Have I told you this one before? No matter. It’s a good story, and more than that, it makes me happy to tell it. That’s kinda the point of musings, in’t it? Anyway, the deal was that Rob and his other three customers were landing in Charlotte Friday night and driving to a hotel near Augusta that night. I was to fly in and join the party at the airport. This being 1994 and Cleveland being a Continental hub at the time, the logistics were easy peasy. We met up in baggage claim, hopped in a (huuuge) rental car, and headed to the hotel. Up at the ass crack of dawn to drive to our rental house at the Augusta Country Club (the denizens of Augusta were way ahead of the AirBnB thing) where 4 passes were supposed to be waiting for us for both Saturday and Sunday at the Masters.

And where we found 4 for Sunday but only 3 on Saturday, one for Rob and each of his official customers.

Mind you, I’m pretty much playing with house money here. I’m gonna go to the Masters for the final round, one week after getting the call. We made the ticket discovery while we were exploring our 4 bedroom house, ESPN and CBS on cable, and a second fridge in the kitchen filled with Heineken and bottles of wine with names I hadn’t yet learned how to pronounce. Worst case scenario: I watch Saturday’s round on TV and drink waaaay above my pay grade. Rob wasn’t having it, though. He called the ticket broker his company used and read him the riot act. Off went Rob and his customers; it looked like my Masters experience would be a single Sunday final round.

So there I was, 11:00 or so, sitting on the can, when the broker calls the house. Yep, I’m here, guest of Mr. Roberto, no ticket. “Well, the only badge I have is my own–long pause–but I guess the customer always comes first.” Not gonna lie, I clutched just a moment there. I wasn’t really, truly a customer, after all. Just a moment, though. “Yup. I guess you’re right. So how do we get together so that I can get that badge?” He was playing the Augusta Country Club and would be making the turn around 11:30. Could I meet him on the 10th tee?

What do YOU think? Of COURSE I could.

So I walk out of the front door of our rented house and start to walk, well, where? Remember, this is 1994. There’s no Google Maps or Waze to help me find my way. I know that I’m in a course-side development, but frankly that’s pretty much all I know. The Golf Gods were smiling on me, though. Around the cul-de-sac comes a big, fancy Lexus and the driver rolls down the window as he comes up on me as I’m walking. “Where ya headed?” Turns out he’s the pro at the club where I’m headed. “Sounds like you need to get to the 10th tee!”

And it just gets better from there! Three groups pass the 10th tee and ask WTH I’m doing there, all to leave the tee with best wishes my way for a great day at the National. The broker hands over the badge and calls his driver with instructions to pick me up at the clubhouse. “Is it OK if I drop by our ‘command house’ on the way to the course? I’m pretty sure we can get you some lunch for your trouble’.” Homemade burritos served up by Southern Belles in the kitchen and then off to the Master.

There’s another full “Musings…” worth of stories from this adventure, but you’ve suffered enough already. Finding a high school golf adversary teeing off as I arrived, my Dad’s buddy squiring me around, invited to stay in the same neighborhood as Jack and Arnie if I don’t reconnect with Rob et al, and so much more. Every year my tiny little living room is crowded with these memories, sharing space with memories of my Dad and his love affair with the Masters.

In the end it’s just a golf tournament, right? And yet it is also a touchstone for things that are so much more. Each year I’d call my Dad to review the tournament. My best friend made the call and got me there in person. My brother and my locals have been texting throughout. There is so much that is so important to me that this weekend touches on.

No lesson. Nope, just good vibes. Just, you know, good.

I’ll see you next week…

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