Well, this is my last column of the century, and I can feel a barf-inducing bout of sincerity coming on. Those of you who are weak of bowel or stomach please, for the good of your health, read no further.
I have a wish for the new millenium. I would like sportscasters and athletes alike to take themselves less seriously. You could throw politicians in there too — wouldn’t that be nice? I have this vision … you remember perhaps the baseball announcer, Bob Uecker, from the movie “Major League” with Charlie Sheen? Now that was real commentary as far as I am concerned. I think Bob Uecker should be the model after whom all sports announcers should be trained. After that movie, he instantly became my hero. Not that I want to sit with a bottle of bourbon in front of me (although I guarantee it would be interesting). It’s just that I’d like everyone to smile more.
One of my tasks for GOLF MAGAZINE in the new year will be to judge a golf joke competition with the assistance of Bill Murray. I’m really looking forward to it. Jokes are my favorite things, because they make people laugh, and when we laugh, just for a moment, everything that concerns us disappears. Now, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to most of you that some of what I say and write is not original. I don’t feel ashamed of this, as even Mozart and Shakespeare occasionally pilfered from those who came before. So it is with that in mind that I give you the definition of the word “smile” from my favorite Irish comedian, Hal Roach, who at the age of about 147 is still working, sharing the absurdities of the Irish with the rest of the world, and teaching us that to laugh is to feed the soul, to love, to understand, and forgive.
- “A smile costs nothing, creates much, and enriches those who receive it without impoverishing the giver. It happens in a flash, but the memory of it can last a lifetime. There are none so rich that they can get along without it, and none so poor that are not richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble, and yet it cannot be begged, bought, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone, until it is given away. So if in the course of the day, your friends may be too tired to give you a smile, then why not give them one of yours, because nobody needs a smile more than those who have none left to give.”
Okay, for those of you who are not barfing on the carpet, here is a footnote, more characteristic of me. Next year, I promise to continue trying to help all of you putterheads develop a keen sense of the absurd, so that you may better enjoy watching and playing this incredibly silly game. Actually, I’m reliably informed that I will have at least another two years at GOLF MAGAZINE to annoy you, thanks to the incredible foresight of his Imperial Magnificence, the Worshipful Master of Adjectivity, and Grand Wizard of Verbosity, Sir George Pooper. See you next century, unless of course, George happens to read that last bit.