It's that time of the year again when, for me, golf fades into the background, and I get to be more of a stay-at-home guy. I'm still doing the occasional corporate outing and after-dinner speech, but the trips are less frequent, and not as long, leaving me more time at home to do the kinds of things that Anita, my long-suffering wife, normally has to cope with in my absence. Like looking after the little nest of vipers that is my family.
It would appear that I get a lot of mail, some of which is from people who want money. Anita tells me these are called "bills." Well, I'm all for correspondence, and communication, but these have to be some of the least entertaining letters I have ever read. Thank goodness she who must be obeyed looks after the task of replying to these idiots, otherwise I would have no time at all to write for GOLF MAGAZINE. Each one of them gets a personally signed note (a little oblong green one), torn from a booklet that my wife keeps locked up somewhere. I have never written one. My wife is brilliant. She looks after all this stuff, and leaves me to get on with what I do best, or most, or something.
But the other day, I found out that even she cannot protect me from everything. This was something of a bombshell to me, and I'm sure that all of you will be shocked to hear it also. Apparently, there are people out there who think that I am an idiot. Really!
The editors of this glorious rag are always telling me how absolutely marvelous I am, how clever and articulate, and how someday, if I keep up the good work, they might even start paying me. Then the other day they forwarded me three e-mails from people who seem to think I should be locked up somewhere. Well, I had no idea. The thought that some people might actually disagree with me had never really crossed my mind. The thought had tried to cross my mind on a number of occasions, but had always turned back after the first few, featureless, barren miles.
It all started after the release of the October issue and my Sidespin column, entitled "Teaching the Tikes," in which I mentioned the following in the same paragraph: Jesus, Tiger Woods, Harry Potter, and my anguish at the thought of having to teach my boys to play golf. All of these letters were in the same vein. They claimed that I am obviously anti-Christian, and I should not be allowed to bring up my own children. Well, I would like to take this opportunity to politely reply to those that I have offended, and apologize to those who felt so guiltless that they felt it necessary to hurl e-rocks in my general direction. Hey, nice try, you missed.
Hey, hey, hey there reverend, stop thumping the book, and listen up. I am most definitely not anti-Christian, and I fought for two years to get custody of my two boys. You're probably right, I'm a bad father, but I'm doing my best. I think it's quite difficult. My wife is a Christian, and I love her all the more because she knows who I am, and still loves me back. Some of my dearest friends, such as Bobby Clampett, are devoted Christians. I know I could call Bobby in the middle of the night, and there is nothing he would not do for me, a sinner. In fact, I think I'll call him tonight, just to wake him up. My travel agent, Barb Hegel, is a real Christian, who always gets me into first class, and says she will drag me, kicking and screaming into heaven if she has to. If I see you there, I'm going to drag her kicking and screaming, back out.
My children go to Sunday school, and church retreats, where they learn about Jesus, and I am happy about it. I am also teaching them that there are other religions and philosophies, and other people such as Jews, Hindus, Moslems and Buddhists, to name but a few, all of whom deserve exactly the same respect and tolerance to which we are all lucky enough to be entitled in this great country. Damn, I should be running for President! I am not teaching my kids that there is only one way, and I am not teaching them golf. I think they are old enough to know that their father is a happy unbeliever, who thinks that "after life" is the same as "before birth," and both are blissful states. I don't think that this is the correct place to express these opinions, but hey, the devil made me do it, and I think it must have been a real bummer for the recovering alcoholic, who asked for a glass of water at that wedding feast. I would bet my life that Jesus had a hell of a sense of humor.
Again, I am not anti-Christian, but I am decidedly anti-idiot.
For the gentleman who threatened to inform every TV evangelist for whom he has respect of my evilness and blasphemy, I noticed that every one on your respectable list has at least one thing in common. If each week they put aside the money they spend on hairspray, it would be enough to feed the homeless of Atlanta for two weeks, or at least to buy enough hairspray to stick them all into one neighborhood, so they wouldn't be such a bother to extremely wealthy TV evangelists.
I could go on, but I have a life. I hear my daughter waking upstairs -- you know, one of those children I should not be allowed to raise. I have about four hours of joy with her before she has to go to bed again tonight. The last thing we will do tonight -- Erin, Mommy, and Daddy -- will be to say together:
- "Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Guide me safely through the night,
And wake me in the morning light.
Oh, and one other thing. Every time I get letters like those that inspired this rant, there is usually some reference to Tiger that tends to give me the feeling that the writer might perhaps be judging him by something other than the content of his character.
Finally, for the record, for every piece of hate mail I receive, I get a hundred filled with love. Peace be with you my friends, thank you, and may your God go with you.