I Work At a Golf Course

As it turns out, I really like Frightened Rabbit. Their singer just died. Or I guess the guy who was the band, which became a band with more people in it, and those remaining people are tweeting about mental health awareness. Good gravy I hate Twitter. It’s extremely unsettling how this happens, how what happens, how you discover these dead artists after they’re dead, over and over again, how you discover over and over again how much your own personal emotional patterns overlay and complement those of the terminally suicidal, how, when you’re listening to their music for the first time and you are reading an article that quotes a song lyric, your eyes find the lyric at the exact moment it plays out loud the very first time to your virgin ears. This has happened to me numerous multiple times. Sometimes it’s difficult to believe I’m not in the Truman Show.

And it starts to rain the exact moment you decide to take the dogs for a walk. How is this not scripted.

I don’t know how to acquire information reliably anymore. I can determine that perhaps up to sixty Palestinians died and some 1000+ (!!) were injured by the firing of bullets from guns during protests at the Gaza border, according to reports from various sources. But I don’t know how, and I don’t know why. My liberal friends are firing off memes about it being in direct response to Trump’s a-hole decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying things like this was a peaceful protest like the Parkland-inspired student protests or the Women’s March, and these Israeli troops mowed them down indiscriminately. Israel says the violence was justifiable in the protection of their borders, and that 28 of the dead were identified as having demonstrable ties to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, that they had “documented terror background[s].” And the US is apparently blocking a UN investigation into the violence, saying things like, if anything, Israel showed restraint in ONLY killing sixty. Because I live in just the worst country. We’re just, the worst.

It’s not that I don’t trust my liberal friends anymore, but I just don’t think they have the kind of time to research and vet their sources. I don’t have that kind of time, and I work at a golf course. These people have like career-type jobs and kids and diseases and real actual problems that take up a lot more time than my problems and so how could they possibly know for sure what information they’re passing along is true and accurate. We live in a world where an organization called Human Rights Watch sounds like a biased liberal Facebook group, but they have been around since 1978, and they have somebody on staff whose job title is UN Director, which as far as I can tell isn’t a sanctioned UN position but merely their in-house title for the guy who gives their official responses to UN happenings, so yes, perhaps they have a liberal bent but are they biased? Do they lack facts to back up their opinions? This UN guy they have, he worked for Reuters literally at the UN headquarters in New York for at least five years, he’s a journalist who if nothing else probably for years drank coffee on the same park benches as the people who have the best access to all of the facts.

So can I trust Human Rights Watch? This international, non-governmental organization? I have no idea. They’ve been criticized for being too ingrained with US foreign policy, for not accurately reporting on human rights violations by relying too much on civilian eye-witness accounts and discounting military or government accounts, for being biased against Israel, for being biased for Israel, you name it. Their take on the recent Gaza conflict is that it was a “calculated killing of protestors” and that there should be a UN investigation, and that the US is being hypocritical in blocking this investigation against Israel when they’re calling for investigation and intervention in Syria and Myanmar. That all sounds rational, logical to me, but I have to hesitate before I believe it. I just want to know why these people died. I just want access to the facts.

I spent about three hours today picking golf balls from the driving range, cleaning them, putting them into bags three by three, returning them to the clubhouse to be purchased and dumped and whacked back out onto the range again. Golf balls are approximately the exact size of those what’s-it-called, those zen ringy balls that were popular for a hot moment in the early 2000s. They have different balls for the driving range than for regular play, supposedly they’re softer, more absorbent of force and thus don’t travel as far, are not as easily lost, are more easily controlled, less prone to being launched over the protective netting and into traffic. There are also balls that are labeled for use by women, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what this is supposed to mean. Are they… easier? Smaller, to travel further, or larger to make better contact? Heavier for more control, lighter for more distance? Harder for better transference of kinetic energy from club to ball? Softer so they’re easier to add spin? Is it just marketing, is it all marketing, is everything marketing?

I work at a golf course because I’m an English teacher who doesn’t know if he’ll be teaching in the fall and even if I am it’s not for enough money, so I need a summer job to make ends meet, and I’m so sick of customer service that I opted for working outside, in the sun, in the fresh air, performing rote, near mindless physical labor for barely above minimum wage. I have two master’s degrees and I’m answering to more experienced high school students, or I would if they had any semblance of responsibility or ambition, but they are providing me with some clarity. They forget to do the basic tasks of the job more often than one would think would be continually employable, and they revel in minor rebellious acts like chewing tobacco and hitting driving range balls up the number one fairway, and their time is worth the same as my time. They have access to the same facts that I have access to. They are almost all there for the free golf. It costs $44 to play 18 holes on this course. I don’t spend that much per day to feed myself, my wife, and my four pets combined, usually. That’s a lot of money for a few hours of entertainment. And I get to do it for free. When I applied for the job they asked me two questions. Will you show up to work, and do you golf. Because they knew the job doesn’t pay. Mostly what they pay you in is golf.

Today after work I stopped at Goodwill and I found a golf bag for $10 and three irons and a putter, which means I now have seven clubs in total, which is more than enough. Now I can golf free, too. Collect all my benefits, instead of just the perks of next to zero customer interaction and the whiling away of hours spinning golf balls in my hand.

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