The Golfer

Style Issue 2018

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A: I do not remember. In any case, the point is immaterial. They were merely gestures. Q: Did you take an eight, or insist on a five? A: I took an eight. I gave in. Gentlemen: I am a good-natured person. Too good-natured. Calm and philosophical; unruffled and patient. My philosophy never leaves me. I took an eight. (Sensation in the grand jury room.) Q: Will you tell something of your past life, Professor Waddems—who you are and what your lifework has been, and how you acquired the calmness you speak of? A: For nearly 25 years I lectured on philosophy and psychology in various universities. Since I retired and took up golf it has been my habit to look at all the events and tendencies in the world's news as a philosopher. Q: Has this helped you in your golf? A: Yes, sir. My philosophical and logical training and my specialization in psychology, combined with my natural calmness and patience, have made me the great golfer that I really am. Q: Have you ever received a square deal, Professor, throughout any 18 holes of golf? A: No, sir. Not once! Not once during the five years since I took the game up at the Rivercliff Country Club. Q: Have you ever broken 100, Professor? A: No, sir. I would have, again and again, except that my opponents, and other persons playing matches on the course, and the very forces of nature themselves, are always against me at critical moments. Even the bullfrogs at the three water holes treat me impertinently. Q: Bullfrogs? You said the bullfrogs, Professor? A: Yes, sir. They have been trained by the caddies to treat me impertinently. Q: What sort of treatment have you received in the locker room? A: The worst possible. In the case under consideration, I may say that I took an eight on the second hole, instead of insisting on a five, because I knew the sort of thing Dr. Green would say in the locker room after the match—I knew the scene he would make, and what the comments of my so-called friends would be. Whenever I do get down to 100 an attempt is made to descredit me. Q: Well, you took an eight on the second hole. What hapened at the third hole? A: Well, sir, I teed up for my drive, and just as I did so, Doc Green made a slighting remark about the League of Nations. "I think it is a good thing we kept out of it," he said. Q: What were your reactions? A: A person of intelligence could only have one kind of reaction, sir. The remark was silly, narrow- minded, provincial, boneheaded, crass and ignorant. It was all the more criminal because Dr. Green knew quite well what I think of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was my idea. I thought about it even before the late President Wilson did, and talked about it and lectured about it in the university. Q: So that you consider Dr. Green's motives in mentioning it when you were about to drive— A: The worst possible, sir. They could only come from a black heart at such a time. Q: Did you lose your temper, Professor? A: No, sir! No, sir! No, sir! I never lose my temper! Not on any provocation. I said to myself, Be calm! Be philosophical! He's trying to get me excited! Remember what he'll say in the locker room afterwards! Be calm! Show him, show him, show him! Show him he can't get my goat. Q: Then you drove? A: I addressed the ball the second time, sir. And I was about to drive when he said, with a sneer, "You must excuse me, Professor. I forgot that you invented the League of Nations." Q: Did you become violent, then, Professor? A: No, sir! I never become violent! I never— Q: Can you moderate your voice somewhat? A: Yes, sir. I was explaining that I never become violent. I had every right to become violent. Any person less calm and philosophical would have become violent. Doc Green to criticize the League of Nations! The ass! Absurd! Preposterous! Silly! Abhorrent! Criminal! What the world wants is peace! Philosophical calm! The fool! Couldn't he understand that! Q: Aren't you departing, Professor, from the events of the 29th of last September at the Rivercliff golf course? What did you do next? A: I drove. Q: Successfully? A: It was a good drive, but the wind caught it, and it went out of bounds. Q: What did Dr. Green do then? "I would have broken 100 except that my opponents and the forces of nature are always against me at critical moments."

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