By Steve Goldfinger
“Giving up smoking is easy,” Mark Twain said. “I’ve done it hundreds of times”
My tally is a lot lower, perhaps ten or twelve times. My fervent intentions were almost always foiled after I drank a little alcohol with a pal who was lighting up. “Can I have one?” invariably led to more.
At one point, I was seeing a patient who flaunted a pack of Lucky Strikes in his front shirt pocket. How I craved one, and my ensuing strategy was craven. He was in for a routine health check up, and I strongly urged him to quit smoking. The best way, I assured him, was to go cold turkey. “Toss that pack into that waste basket. Right now,” I implored. He did. I went for that waste basket as soon he was out the door.
That was 50 years ago, and I’ve been clean for about that long now.
It wasn’t so easy when it came to golf. I can think of dozens of occasions when, driving home from a horrendous round with my golf buddy, I assured him that the end had come. Never again. Why torture myself? Why destroy a perfectly gorgeous Sunday morning by hitting one wretched shot after another, succumbing to outbursts of temper, and cursing–so unlike me during the rest of my week. He would smile and remind me of the two good shots I had made that day. And, sure enough, during the week, I thought about those shots, remembered how many wonderful ones I had hit in my prime. Just recapture the rhythm, the mind set, the joy of being out in nature, the camaraderie, I said to myself. And the next Sunday, I was out there with him again. And the ride back was no different.
There was only one way to truly quit, and I proceeded to do it. Last year, I prepared a professional looking affadavit entitled Goldfinger’s Last Round of Golf and in it, detailed all my foozled and otherwise mis-hit shots, hole by hole. I sent it out to all my golfing friends– recent ones and others from years ago.
So far, this has worked. I even gave my clubs to one of my sons. But I had this dream last night: I was out on the course with a player who was hitting magnificent shots with a set of curious-looking clubs, a recent breakthrough innovation by a club manufacturer who was advertising them widely.
I asked if I could swing one. When I did, the ball soared high and far, in a trajectory that would have made me proud even at my golfing peak.
These clubs can be purchased online or at a nearby golf store. They are handsome and affordable.
Tune in next month.
Since joining BOLLI a few years ago after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side. He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.