A Load of C. R. (A. A.) A. P.

My dearest Garfield:

As you know, I have long dreamed of owning a TV station and starting my own religion, but it has occurred to me recently that the fulfillment of my yearning may have, for all these years, been sitting right under my very own nose. Of course, given the size and volume of the appendage in question, I feel somewhat justified in cutting myself a little slack for not having noticed it, but no matter, let us move on to the matter at hand.

At the time of this writing, you are the only living soul who has any knowledge whatsoever of my grand plan, and, of course, unless you have already read the end of this letter, even you are clueless, which is precisely why I have chosen you to be my best friend and brain caddie.

What I'm talking about here is the formation of, "Comrades for the Removal (And Also) Abolition of Par," or C.R.(A.A.)A.P., to you and me. (I think it might be best to leave out the two A's in the middle; I mean the last thing we need to do is attract people who don't drink.)

Let's face it, these days the whole concept of par is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle, and it has clearly become irrelevant to all except those who feel miffed by the continuing improvement of equipment, which allows top players everywhere to look even more windswept and dashing, as they reach par fives with swashbuckling abandon.

I would go it alone, but this is for the benefit of the ordinary man in the fairway, and as you know I'm not nearly ordinary enough. Come to think of it, you're seldom in the fairway either, but on behalf of every golfer, Tour pro, or hacker -- man, woman, or child -- I am saying that enough is enough, and for that matter, it's quite sufficient, too. No longer will we be brutalized into calling a 500-yard hole a "par four" simply because some chinless, absurdly rich, Ivy-League half-wit in paisley underpants, sock-garters, and a trilby wants to make par "relevant."

Now, I don't need to tell a former male flight attendant and accomplished gopher-angler such as yourself that throughout the course of history, mankind has suffered much at the hands of man-unkind, but as you know, occasionally there has been a time when the vile suppression of the proletariat exploded into an uncontrollable backlash. It only takes one man to change the course of history, but that man must be able to capture the hearts and minds of the ordinary person, and today, my friend, that man is you. This is our chance to take control of the game, and the way to go about it is through the mind-control device already in place, known as The Golf Channel.

Uh, huh, you read me right, I said, The Golf Channel. First, we hypnotize Peter Kessler, then we break onto the set of "Golf Talk Live," and get him to take over. I have several phone drones in place to feed him the new Rules info, and with his mesmerizing voice, it should be only a matter of time before we have the switchboard lighting up like the crowd at a Grateful Dead concert.

We tell them it's time to level the playing field and give everyone on every golf course the same card on the first tee. It should have the number 100 printed in the center, with room for three underlined digits below. This would be the total amount of shots hit by the competitor, which would be subtracted from 100 at the completion of play, leaving a gross score, to which a handicap could be added. The higher the number, the better the score. Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your Aunt, it's as simple as that.

I can see us standing on the tapestry-draped balcony right now, you and me, bathing in the adoration with our hands outstretched over the seething masses. I can hear your oratory now.

"Come to us, all of you, and bring us your sick (the sicker the better), your wounded (we have a deal with E-Z-Go), your dispirited (the bar is open), and more importantly, your cash, credit cards, and check books. Yes, make no mistake; we need money to do this. Like Bono, the God we believe in isn't short of cash, but unlike that singing, self-righteous, whining, hypocritical blowhole, we haven't got a flattened nickel to scratch our small dog's backside with, and we're going to need some serious moolah to get this movement up and running. So cough it up, you bastards, and before you know it, a six may be an eagle depending on where you live."

(I know that makes no sense, but if you hold a clipboard and say it loud enough with a pencil behind your ear, trust me, it won't matter.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, I was going to mention why it will work. For centuries, the ordinary golfer has been spectacularly underrepresented when it comes to making the Rules for the game. All we have to do is dangle out an oversize carrot with a spring onion-like effect like this and they'll chase us all the way to the bank.

Gazza, hang on to your handlebars and listen to me. If we get enough live bodies in this first draft, we may never need to worry about numbers again, (and I mean off the golf course, too), but you must promise me you won't go designing your own uniform or anything.

Please, I know how you love to do it, but it's the first sign of madness in a leader, and for the love of Tiger Woods on a scooter, it's not like you need to advertise at the best of times. I'm sorry, but if we're going to abolish par, we have to be taken seriously. No jodhpurs, no riding crop, definitely nothing in spandex, and since Noriega, the Tommy Bahama look is a no-no, too. I don't care how much they pay you, we don't need you looking like some 15-handicap Guatemalan banana magnate.

No, take my word for it, and think about Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, or maybe Mohammar Gaddaffi. If the feathers on that desert dingbat's epaulettes were standard issue, the rest of the Libyan armed forces would be working in Vegas as showgirls. Our George the Second's driveway may not go all the way to his garage, but I'll bet his suits are Brooks Brothers. Bless his cotton socks from Target, this is the greatest country in the world, and this is going to work! I can feel it in your water. I'm thinking we need simple shirts for this, maybe in UPS brown, although in the back of my mind I have the feeling it's been done before.

The next thing we need to do is kidnap George Peper, the evil commander-in-chief of the very publication I am using as a facade for the entire operation. He's an agreeable sort and fairly tight with the Wizard of Far Hills, Short Hills, Poppy Hills, or wherever, so he's familiar with the layout of the "Big Bunker." He's just had both wheels re-treaded, so it shouldn't be a big job getting the daft old gimp on a gurney. We'll put on a couple of surgeon's masks and you can tell him one of those "oscopy" stories of yours that frighten even me. That ought to do it. If we keep enough Scotch in him, it'll be a dawdle to get a few of my vitriolic magazine pieces attributed to him and start an internal row in the Bunker.

Over at St.Andy's, the Royal & Ancients already have their niblicks in a knot over this restitutionalized coefficient debacle with the boys in the Bunker, so all we have to do is slip one daft idea into their heads and I guarantee you at least a thousand of them will come out. Natural allies, my arse. At the height of the bickering, we suddenly appear with our one-page rulebook and a column of Bethpage lunatics behind us. All we have to do is promise them a game at Pine Valley and bingo! The game is ours.

Keep it under your helmet old boy, there's more where this came from.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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