Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking a Mulligan at Life

I don't golf.  I mulligan.   

I haven’t played much golf in recent years, but whenever I happen to summon the fortitude to hit the links, I frequently make use of a uniquely efficacious contrivance known as “the mulligan.” 

A mulligan is a device whereby a golfer can negate an errant shot that goes careening into rough, lake, or trap. With a mulligan, the golfer simply wills the first shot into oblivion, tees up a second shot, and takes another chance at rendering all’s well.

 Which makes me wonder: Why aren’t there mulligans at life?

Our lives are replete with moves we’ve regretted, from spending an evening at a movie we were luke-warm about to spending a lifetime with a spouse we luke-hate. Every move we make --- no matter how half-baked, ill-conceived, or totally lacking in reason --- becomes locked into eternal permanency.

I for one have certainly pulled my share of wrong-headed moves. Oh, why be modest? If there’s such a thing as quotas on stupid-ass moves, I’ve filled mine and left you precious little room on yours!

Why is it that we can take mulligans at golf --- which is, after all, nothing more than a frivolity devised years ago to justify our ancestors’ uttering the “s” word in broad daylight --- when we cannot take a mulligan at what constitutes the very most important aspect of our very lives? That is, our very lives themselves!

A few weeks ago, I was out on the course with a friend of mine, and I hit an incredibly bad drive on the first tee. The shot went sailing into a lake on the neighboring hole. What’s worse, the lake was filled with snapping alligators --- unusual, to say the least, for a public course in the Philadelphia area.

“I can’t live with this,” I complained. “I’ve got to have a mulligan.”

I put my hand in my pocket and felt for a tee. I found one, but somehow I couldn’t make my fingers wrap around it.  Very odd.  

“Get a grip, fingers!”

 “You have a tee?” I called to my friend. He tossed me one. I seized it and tried to tee up my ball, but I couldn’t make the tee penetrate the ground.

“What the  f…...!” I said. 

Yes, golf was also developed as a convenient rationale for unleashing the “f” bomb down among the sheltering pines at all hours of the day or night prior to Happy Hour.

“I’m afraid,” my partner said, “that was a LIFE SHOT.” And there are no mulligans at LIFE.”

“But I can’t accept that miserable shot,” I whined. “What can I do?”

“The best you can do,” he replied, “is develop philosophical acceptance of the situation and move on.”

Well, philosophical acceptance may have its merits, but a nice clean do-over is a damn lot more satisfying.   So I grit (gritted?) my teeth, pounded the tee into the turf, and forged ahead.

A short while later it was time to pack up the clubs and head for the locker room. My score for 18 holes, without mulligans, was 107.

 My score at life --- 72!

Yeah, you’re right.

I took a few mulligans.



Kimberly said...

I have long advocated the introduction of a Ctrl+Z function for daily life, so I am completely on board with you here.

Perry Block said...

Wow, Kimberly, you're reading through my entire songbook!

I think I really do love you!

Where do I sign up for those Jubu conversion classes?