Thursday, January 03, 2008

Well, thank God that's over. Another year of telecasts under my belt -- maybe that's why my waistline is expanding -- and despite having said nothing sensible all season long, I still have a job. America is a great country.

Last week I was in Hawaii, covering the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which of course was won by Tiger. What a shock. Now, at the risk of being called a brownnose, I'm kind of impressed by him, to say the least. I'm impressed enough to dismiss anyone who complains about his occasional petulant profane outburst, or his disdain for shots that would delight a lesser mortal. All that fades into insignificance when placed beside his accomplishments. Besides, when you look at some of the nauseating end-zone celebrations and murderous gestures that some of our other athletes are perpetuating, Tiger's behavior looks more like Mike Reid on Zanex.

The fact is, Tiger is special. So special, I would be inclined to pardon him for anything short of murder, just so long as I was allowed to continue to watch him up close. I'm still fairly convinced that he is not from our solar system, so other worldly is his modus operandi.

But enough about him, what about me? I had a strange altercation with a spectator last week at Poipu Bay, where some of the little lava rock walls are considered hallowed ground by the native Hawaiians. Despite, "Sacred Ground, Keep Out" signs they were regularly clambered over by fans, who were eager to cop a view of their hero. This had me irked, to think that people would show so little respect for local custom, so I decided to pick on one violator, and put the wind up him.

As he was climbing over the wall next to the 17th green, I moved in for the hit. "Excuse me sir," I said, "have you any idea of the risk you're taking?"

"What do you mean?" he asked, his eyes darting nervously towards the vantage point he coveted.

I looked at him seriously. "Listen pal, two years ago a friend of mine climbed over this very wall, and three weeks later he was killed by a falling coconut."

The guy looked at the warning sign and then back at me. "So I'll stay out from under the coconut trees," he smiled back sarcastically.

"Good luck," I said. "The thing is, it happened in the produce section of his local grocery store in Milwaukee."

Hey, it could happen.

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