In our winter of discontent, even a washed-up Irish golf professional can dream

In our winter of discontent, even a washed-up Irish golf professional can dream


Well, it’s Christmas time again, and not surprisingly, I’m in my usual caustic mood. I’ve given a lot less than normal to the Salvation Army, the Starvation Navy and the Constipation Coast Guard, and considerably more to the commander-in-chief on board what increasingly appears to be Life-is-Unfair Force One. (For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with a charitable analogy for the Marines. Maybe there’s a reason for that.)

In challenging periods such as these, it’s often difficult to remember exactly why we’re so lucky. So I’ve gone ahead and made a list of reasons to be cheerful, but a word of caution: some of the things that make me cheerful have a tendency to piss off other people. As a depressive, I can tell you that it’s much better to be a carrier than a sufferer, and one sure way to cheer yourself up is to spend your time making other people miserable. That way you feel better by comparison, which is better than nothing. The same principle applies to the art of looking intelligent. Trust me on this one—figure out a way to surround yourself with idiots, and you’ll be golden.

My baby girl Erin is now a heartbreaking 11 years old, and I’m not kidding when I say that she is the single most optimistic and positive person I have ever known. From shortly after the time she was able to speak, whenever I packed up to travel she’d ask me how long I’d be gone. “Two weeks, baby,” I’d say.

“Well, at least it’s not a month,” she’d reply with a smile.

So first, while (like so many other people) it would appear that I’m going broke, when I use Erin’s logic, I realize that I’ll have to travel a lot farther than I would have 10 years ago in order to get there. That cheers me up.

These days it appears to be a very good idea to get yourself into as much debt as possible, so I have given up the practice of paying my bills on time. Only the people who have been stupid enough to pay their credit card bills and various other notes in a timely manner are getting the shaft, so I’m pulling the ripcord on that kind of irresponsible behavior, and floating under a beautiful golden parachute right down to the very bottom of this mess. Now there’s a nice thought!

I really wish I had the opportunity to pay dues at all the golf clubs at which I don’t play and of which I’m an honorary member. I would definitely stop doing that for no apparent reason, and while I was at it, I’d probably hit up Edwin Watts, Golfsmith and Dick’s with all of the broken and dusty old golf crap in my attic, claiming that they owed me a new set of Cobras, which I’d then give away one club at a time as Christmas presents to people who don’t play golf. 
This is brilliant! I’m starting to feel better 
all the time, and so far I’ve spent nothing!

What could possibly happen next in this Scroogian farce? Oh yes, wait—I’ll be an American citizen very soon, so I may think about putting that off. It could actually screw up my whole plan, although when I think about it, I could always go ahead with it and then run for political office. Yes, that’s it! What a Christmas present to America that would be—me sitting in the hallowed halls of Congress, making various political belches, constitutional farts, looking outraged and pointing my finger at the innocents. But such behavior might be considered intelligent and worthwhile compared to the way the political machinery works now. The whole thing reminds me of the famous old Irish Christmas story of why Jesus wasn’t born in Ireland.

That’s right, they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin. Bring on 2010. This recession is cracking me up.