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The Sweet Spot

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I like going to the driving range because I like hitting the life out of tiny golf balls. They’re meaningless pieces of matter, yet serve a purpose. Plain and simple. There is nothing more philosophical to it other than the fact that perhaps Bill Murray does it – and Murray is the Buddha reincarnated (or at least that’s the way I’ve seen him since the Groundhog days).

Sure, golf gets a bad rep. It’s a rich and elitist activity; courses are just a big piece of land that caters to the exclusive bunch able to afford to play 18 holes. It’s boring.

But over here, it costs about 5 bucks for 60 balls. That’s a good thing because I would hate to pay for my own. Could you imagine trying to pick up all the balls you’ve bought after whacking the crap out of them? That’d be like trying to fish for all the pennies that you tossed into a water fountain.

It also feels good. The way that I hold the iron wedge before I hit it. I feel like a man in control. And then, I wind back, keeping my left arm as straight as possible, holding the club near twisted body. Then a swing . . . and a miss! Let me do that over again.

I play it off as a practice swing. I start to practice my swing two or three more times as a way to recuperate for my hitting of a phantom. The air is such a touchy thing to swing at, because you never know if it’s going this way or that way.

Okay, I usually think to myself. Pretend your Tiger Woods trying to get a hole in one . . . or fifty for that matter. Just take a deep breath and think about all the shit you’ve been through. Take a swing out of life.

It’s almost as if it’s a practice of improvisation, the way that Coltrane say repeat “A Love Supreme” until the fade out of the song. I bop my head and mouth the words before I swing. I think about what frustrates me the most and start to channel that energy into the club like a piano player hitting major and minor chords on the green of his mind.

WHACK!

There it goes. The wind carries it to the east. I pretend that that hole is over there and that is where I meant to aim the whole time. This is easy, I think. The next 59 balls will go just like that.

WHACK!

But in reality, what is there to do when the frustration of feeling like a zero creeps up on you in your most vulnerable moments. One moment you’re on the toilet thinking in the morning, thinking about what the day is ahead. The next, the toilet doesn’t flush. Frustration comes in all different shapes and sizes.

WHACK!

The reason that I’ve been so frustrated stems from the utter fact that I am experiencing what my girlfriend has called “having a normal summer as a college student.” After all, for the past two semesters I’ve read nearly over twenty books and written over hundreds of thousands of words just to get a mark on it. The last thing I want to do is read. Yet I have to

WHACK!

The measuring stick for my self worth has vanished in the midst of joblessness and boredom. It’s been replaced by social media lurking and seeing almost everyone comparing their dick size by the amount of success they’ve been given.

WHACK!

I’ve gotten rejected by a bunch of employers! I’ve gained ten pounds! I lost a hundred dollars today! But really, why would failure matter anyways? It’s only success that people want to show.

WHACK!

It helps that I volunteer though. When arriving back home, I volunteered at the old library that I used to. I spent a good week there, going through inventory for three hours at a time. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. As you already know, it was the greatest week of my life – committing myself to a job that wasn’t really mine in the first place.

WHACK!

Then there’s the beauty of hanging out. I can count the minutes it would take to walk down to my friend’s place in the past. Nowadays, it’s more about counting the minutes I’ve wasted trying to find anyone to hang with. But it’s cool that I’ve found a family friend that I’ve hung with a couple of times. A brother from another mother if you will.

WHACK!

Yep, summer as a student is probably the worst existential crisis to encounter. After going to two different schools in the past, this third one is okay, but it’s administration system is a nightmare to deal with.

WHACK!

Didn’t I say I was going to do this? Now I’m not doing this.

WHACK!

My only friend sometimes seems to be a piece of wood that I ride down the streets. I’m terrible at doing tricks and the old grandmas stare at me with their piercing judgments. They think I’m going to steal their grandchildren, whisk them away into the sunset.

WHACK!

That was a good one. I switch clubs, and readjust the way it feels in my hands. If I use the nine iron, maybe I could get a little more aim at the target 300 feet away.  This club is a little heavier, but its size allows me to cut the ball a little more. It functions like a special tool in the kitchen, the kind of tool that will help get the job done. I place the ball on the tee.

THUMP!

There goes another one. It makes a different sort of shot. The drive looks more like a flyball than a homerun. But that’s the goal for me. I just want to hit a certain part of the field.

THUMP!

Murakami did, so can I. All he did was sit a baseball game. Once the hitter hit the sweet spot, he knew he could write a –

THUMP!

Damn it, that was close! I follow through and hold the position of the club over my back. Close but no cigar. All sizzle no steak. Where there is smoke, there is a fire. Stop if you’ve heard this one before.

THUMP!

THUMP!

THUMP!

I take a break. I look at the remaining golf balls that I have. There’s still a hell of a lot them in the bucket. For five bucks. It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m a bit tired. I should’ve stretched my arms before that first swing. I’m going to pay for that later.

I sit on the resting bench behind me. I watch the other people at the range continue to swing. I think about how my more swings I’ll be able to take.

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