August 24, 2006


Reflection on Unhappiness

we duffers are happy
exhilarated even
when our approach shot
hits the green
anywhere on the green
immediately we start
imagining birdies

and if we get
a bogie on the hole
we blame the fucking
putter for the 3 putts
and we are still happy

imagine how happy
a duffer would be
if in the course
of a golf tournament
he hits the green
with his approach shot
on all 18 holes

the poor duffer
would go crazy
he would get so drunk
that night
even his happy wife
couldn’t calm him down


now take a professional
a scratch player
let’s take tiger wood
if during an 18 hole round
his approach shot
does not land 2 or 3
feet from the hole
he’s unhappy

and even
when the ball lands
on the green
but beyond 2 or 3 feet
from the hole
it’s total unhappiness

most professional golfers
prefer to see their ball in the bunker
if it does not land 2 or 3 feet from the flag

in my many years of watching
professional golf on the tube

or in person
yes I’ve been foolish
a couple of times
to go follow the pros
during a tournament

I have seen more golf balls
go directly into the hole
from the bunker
than putts attempted
from somewhere on the green
beyond 2 or 3 feet from the cup

imagine then
how miserable the life
of a professional golfer must be
and how much he must suffer


the other day I watched
tiger play a tournament
one of the big ones
and I counted
how many times
in 18 holes his ball
landed 2 or 3 feet
from the hole

6 times out of 18
that means that
for 12 holes
tiger was unhappy
that means that
for 2/3 of the round
tiger played unhappy

but he still won the tournament
that’s what counts

imagine now how unhappy
a professional golfer
must be
when playing 18 holes of golf
and his ball lands
on the green
2 or 3 feet from the hole
only a couple of times
and mostly far from the pin

or imagine if it lands in a bunker
or short of the green
or over the green
or in the water
imagine how unhappy
the poor professional golfer
must be

imagine the unhappy mood he’s in
when he gets wherever he sleeps that night
he must feels like shit like committing suicide
but instead he gets drunk
vomits all night
and the next day
during the final round
he completely destroys himself
and later that night he will certainly
cut his wrist or else get so stoned
that he will collapse permanently


think then how lucky we duffers are
to jubilate when our ball lands on the green
anywhere a couple of times during a round
that’s enough to make us sleep soundly
that night after a couple of beers
and even be nice to the wife
before collapsing into sleep
to dream of birdies

Raymond Federman

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