Humiliation, pain, pleasure, happiness. To experience the 51st shade of grey, you must fence with the force of nature and a little white ball for 4 1/2 hours. And there’s no better way to do that than with my friend “O” at Memorial Park.
Golf is the hardest work between two fairways that human beings ever attempt. No game is more challenging, absurd, or addicting than golf. You’re allowed to bring 14 clubs but the most important club in the bag is Happiness—the one club you must never forget.
In the pantheon of great characters in my life, O is without a doubt the happiest person I’ve ever known. He is uniquely suited for the game of golf. He’ll never shoot par but at least once every round he hits a shot so amazing he falls to the ground and nearly faints in a fit of excruciating pleasure. But the most interesting thing about O is how he brings his gift of happiness to every aspect of his life: family, friends, co-workers, whirlpools, crawdads, guacamole, margaritas, Shiner Bock, and twice-a-year…church. O’s happiness actually pisses people off on occasion, which only makes him happier. Aristotle teaches us that “happiness is the end of man.” For my friend, happiness is the beginning, middle, and forever.
Memorial Park is painted with scene-after-scene of exquisite beauty. It’s everywhere you look. Yet golfers concentrate intensely on keeping their head down and miss the best part of the game. You should always golf with a happy person…happy people turn everything upside down and enable you to see things you won’t believe.
Riding home after our round of golf, I couldn’t help reflecting on all the great characters in my life and how random it’s all been. Maybe you shouldn’t try to choose your friends after all. But you should definitely try to keep them.