Sunday, February 15, 2015

To order a copy ...

Excerpt from "Zen and the Art of Making Par":

  1. Act I, Scene One
  2. (St. Andrews golf course in Scotland.   July 13, 2006, very early morning.   It is an unusually bright and beautiful day for a round of golf.   The wind is light.   Francis is wearing Marine Corps camouflage pants and a t-shirt. He looks silly with his black and white golf shoes. He has taken off his sweater and draped it on his golf bag.   At the practice putting green Francis places his golf ball on the tee.   He addresses the ball.   With a grim, but concentrating look on his face, and never taking his eyes off the ball, he brings his swing back.   He is about to swing as an elderly gentleman approaches from the woods behind Francis.   Donal’ is costumed in a kilt circa 1890-1900.   He speaks with a heavy Scottish accent, but can be clearly understood.   He carries a primitive golf club.)
  3. DONAL':   Excuse me, sire.
  4. (He frightens Francis, who awkwardly connects with the ball, which goes flying off course.   He is very annoyed.)
  5. FRANCIS:   Excuse me!   Sir!   I was in the middle of my putt!   You could’a let me know you were sneaking around.
  6. (Francis double-takes Donal’.)
  7. DONAL':   I am sorry, sire.   I am not sneaking around, as you put it.
  8. FRANCIS:   How long have you been watching me?
  9. DONAL':   I only just arrived, sire.
  10. FRANCIS:   Are you here to ridicule my game?   What is it?   My approach to the ball?   My stance?   My swing?   What is it?
  11. DONAL':   I am sorry, sire.   If you wish my opinion, your approach, as you call it, your stance and your swing, are a bit primitive, but acceptable, sire.
  12. FRANCIS:   First my partner cancels our game.   Now, an old eccentric, masquerading in a skirt, harasses me.   
  13. Calling my game primitive?   Acceptable! 
  14. DONAL':   Yes, sire, primitive, however, acceptable.
  15. FRANCIS:   What’s with the costume?   The skirt?
  16. DONAL':   It is a kilt, sire!   It appears that you are in costume as well, sire.
  17. FRANCIS:   (As Donal’ wanders around, lifting shrubs, kicking the tall grass, not paying any attention to Francis’s ranting.)
  18. FRANCIS:   What’s wrong with my cos… my outfit?   I wanted a nice quiet round of golf at one the most famous…. What are you looking for?
  19. DONAL':   I am looking for my featherie, sire.   I dyed it with red ochre, anhydrous iron oxide, to ensure that, …if lost,… I would be able to find it quite readily.   Are you sure you have not seen it, sire?
  20. FRANCIS:   No, sire!   (Mocking Donal’.)   Featherie?   Red… featherie?   You’re knocking a … what is it? 
  21. DONAL':        (Matter-of-factly.)   A featherie, sire.
  22. FRANCIS:   You’re knocking a… a featherie through Scotland’s St. Andrew.   The birthplace of golf?   A featherie? 
  23. DONAL':   Yes, sire.   I have been wandering in search of my featherie for some time now.
  24. FRANCIS:   Featherie?   Kilt?   Are you, gay?   I really don’t care but…
  25. DONAL':        (Interrupting,)   Gay, sire?   No, I am not happy, …or gay, as you put it, to have lost my featherie.   It’s a bother, sire. 
  26. FRANCIS:   Featherie?   Are you sure you were not playing badminton?
  27. DONAL':   Badminton, sire?   Badminton requires a shuttlecock, sire?
  28. FRANCIS:   Enough with the “sire”.   My name is Francis.   (Offering his hand.)   Francis Aloysius Ingram.
  29. DONAL':   Donal’, sire.   Sorry, ah… Mr. Ingram.   Donal’ Blue.   A pleasure making your acquaintance, Francis Aloysius Ingram.   A Yankee, sire?
  30. FRANCIS:   Call me Francis.   My pleasure, Donal’… I hope.   Yes, I am an American.   I’m here for some golf and rest.   What the hell is a featherie?
  31. DONAL':   Well, sire, rather, Francis, this course does not provide a soporific milieu.
  32. FRANCIS:   A wha….   Whatever.   Compared to where I’ve been, believe me, this is peaceful.
  33. DONAL':   Been, Francis?   Where have you been that you compare the serenity of Scotland countryside?
  34. FRANCIS:   In the land of sand and shells. What is this strange looking golf club, Donal’?
  35. DONAL':   Ah, Francis, this is one of my arma campestria, one of my golf clubs.
  36. Francis:   (Puzzled, but surrenders further inquiry.) I see.    Now, Donal’, you haven’t answered my first question: what is a featherie? 
  37. DONAL':   (Declaratively.) Surely you must know, Francis.
  38. FRANCIS:   No, Donal’, I don’t know.
  39. DONAL':   Very well, Francis, if you insist on farce: It is my golf ball.
  40. FRANCIS:   Golf ball?
  41. DONAL':   Yes, Francis, the featherie is my golf ball.
  42. FRANCIS:   Is it better than my ….(?)   (Picking up his Titlist.) 
  43. DONAL':    (Interrupting, not looking but turning to continue searching for his featherie.) I only just purchased it.   I cannot afford to purchase another.   They are quite expensive.   Handmade: You know.
  44. FRANCIS:   Handmade!   My god, it must be expensive.   (Surveying Donal’.)   With the nerve to wear an outfit like that, you surely have more money than me.   
  45. And guts.
  46. DONAL':   Francis, it has taken many months of savings and sacrifice to purchase just one featherie.   It was more costly than my club.
  47. FRANCIS:   What’s it made of?   Spun gold?
  48. DONAL':   Oh, no.   My friend, a handcrafter in the village, enlightened me to its construction.   It is made of goose down.   A ball of the boiled feathers is made, compressed, then wrapped and sewn in sodden animal hide and set aside to dry.
  49. FRANCIS:   This I gotta’ see.   Come clean now Donal’ Blue:   
  50. Ya’ gotta’ be kiddin’ with the costume.
  51. DONAL':   This, Francis, is the costume of the day.   One must wear a kilt and a warm sweater.   Scottish weather can turn at a moment’s notice.   Abide a chill and your game will suffer.
  52. FRANCIS:   I’m not cold.   As a matter of fact, the weather’s great.   Would you consider a round of golf?
  53. DONAL':   Francis, I lost my featherie off the eighteenth tee.   I have no ball with which to play.   If I don’t find it, I will have to stop playing until I can afford another.
  54. FRANCIS:   I’ll lend you a golf ball.   Let’s play.   I’ll even buy you another “featherie”.   What do you say?   If it is what you say it is, I may even buy into your…featherie.   It could be the next wonder ball.   I’ll help you find it later.
  55. DONAL':   No, Francis.   I must find my ball.
  56. FRANCIS:   All right, let’s search for it.   You said you drove it off the practice tee?
  57. DONAL':   Yes.   It should be in this area.   Perhaps under the gorse?
  58. FRANCIS:   (Sotto voce, while searching the underbrush around the tee.)
  59. He must be kidding. Goose feathers?
  60. DONAL':   Ahah, here it is, Francis.   No worse the wear for its disappearance.
  61. FRANCIS:   May I see it, Donal’?
  62. DONAL':   Surely.   (Handing it to Francis.)   As you can see it is not the least fragile.   The featherie has superior flight characteristics.
  63. FRANCIS:   (In disbelief at it’s appearance.) I could lend you a ball… One of my Titlist’s.
  64. DONAL':   No thank you, Francis.   I am very pleased with my featherie’s performance.
  65. FRANCIS:   Maybe a better club?
  66. DONAL':    is nothing wrong with my club.
  67. FRANCIS:   OK.   A round?
  68. DONAL':   Very well, Francis, a round it is.
  69. (They exit to the first tee shaking hands.   Lights down.)
  70. End Act I, Scene One
  71. Act I, Scene Two   Hole No. 1 ― 376 Yards, Par 4
  72. (Francis and Donal’ are standing on the First Tee.   Francis, his mouth agape, is overwhelmed at the perceived difficulty of the first tee.)
  73. DONAL':   It is a bit overwhelming, is it not, Francis?
  74. FRANCIS:   Yes.   My god, Donal’, this is frightening.   It’s certainly not an Executive Course.
  75. DONAL':   Me wife, loves to quote your Mark Twain with her own special twist in the words … when I come home wi’ a bit too much ale influencing me every word:   Hmmph…Golf! …t’is a good walk spoiled, t’is, … says she.
  76. FRANCIS:   Spoiled by too much ale.
  77. DONAL':   Or at times,… not enough, Francis.   Heh-heh.   However,… (With attention to the course.)   once through the first hole, Francis, it will seem a triumph. You will be pleased to know that the game was being played here one hundred years before Columbus found our America and more than two hundred years before our Shakespeare was writing his sonnets… and plays for the Globe Theatre.
  78. (Francis still standing with his mouth agape, staring out at the fairway.) 
  79. DONAL':   (Continues.)
  80. One word of wisdom, Francis:   Off this first tee, keep your game to the left.
  81. FRANCIS:   To the left?   The flag is on the right.   Are you sure?
  82. DONAL':   We should have hired a caddie.   Perhaps you would have taken his advice?   Alas, I have been here many years.   There is no need: I am very familiar with the course.
  83. FRANCIS:   I hope you are, Donal’.   Reminds me of the airport highway to Baghdad: a white-knuckle ride through five miles of suicide bombers, grenades, rockets, booby-traps and IEDs.
  84. DONAL':   (Not paying any attention to Francis.) Now Francis, if you don't have any guidance, there are some extraordinarily strange, …however magnificent places your ball can end up, such as the well-hidden deep pots..   You Yankees call them bunkers. 
  85. FRANCIS:   OK, Donal’, I guess it’s you and me against the bunkers, your pots, as you call them. 
  86. DONAL':   (Looking out over the fairway.) The fairway ripples like a torrential sea, and we are about to set sail.
  87. FRANCIS:   I’m counting on your ship’s sea worthiness.
  88. DONAL':   Thank you, Francis..   I will bring the ship to safe port.
  89. FRANCIS:.   (On second thought, still not taking his eyes off the horizon.)
  90. Perhaps we should skip the first hole, though.
  91. DONAL':   We must launch the ship, Francis..   If we don’t set sail, we’ll never reach the 19th hole..   The greens are very hard to read on the first tee, Francis, but I can assure you that your acceptable talent will prevail.
  92. FRANCIS:   Again with the “acceptable”… huh, Donal’?
  93. DONAL':   (Walking to the front of the tee to take a closer look.)
  94. I am sure you shall persevere, Francis..   Trust me. 
  95. FRANCIS:.   (Francis places his golf ball on a tee and addresses the ball.)
  96. This is a very unusual course, Donal’..   No trees to cut the wind.
  97. DONAL':   I’m sorry, Francis, I did not hear you. 
  98. FRANCIS:.   (He sways with his driver..   He sets himself for his swing.)
  99. Just agreeing with you, Donal’.
  100. DONAL':   That is the right attitude, Francis..   There,.   (Pointing.).   do you see the Swilken Burn, Francis? 
  101. FRANCIS:   Yes, Donal’..   (He stops his swing, irritated.).   I see it.
  102. DONAL':   The perfect driving line is left-center on the fairway.
  103. FRANCIS:   Okay, Donal’..   I think I can do that..   (He sways with his driver..   He sets himself for his swing.)
  104. DONAL':   Hitting the fairway does not always give the best angle into the flag..   You want to drive further to the left so that your angle of incidence is greater coming over the angle of the burn..   You do know what a burn is, do you not, Francis?
  105. FRANCIS:   Yes, Donal’, (He stops his swing, irritated.).   I know what a burn is..   So…. I want to drive to the left of center.
  106. DONAL':   (Not hearing Francis, who sways with his driver..   He sets himself for his swing.).   A burn, Francis, is a small stream of water..   There is a burn dividing the fairway and the green..   Mind what I tell you..   This strategy leaves you a perfect lie. 
  107. FRANCIS:.   (As he brings his swing back.) Donal’, I am aware of that.
  108. DONAL':   A word of warning, Francis:.   You must be particularly vigilant when driving across Granny Clark’s Wynd..   Do you see it, Francis?
  109. FRANCIS: (He stops his swing, irritated.) See what!
  110. DONAL':   (Pointing.)   That pathway cutting across the fairway.
  111. FRANCIS:   Yes, Donal’, I see it..   So?
  112. DONAL':   Course rules prescribe that you must hit even when scholars and townsfolk are strolling on Granny's Wynd, but you must caution them by shouting "Fore", making sure that they hear you, and then drive away.
  113. FRANCIS: (As he brings his swing back..   Not taking his eyes off the ball.)
  114. They allow people to walk…stroll into the line of fire?.   I hope they’re wearing flack jackets.
  115. DONAL':   What did you say, Francis?
  116. FRANCIS:   FORE!.   I said…. (He begins his swing awkwardly.).   … this is the … (Connects with the ball.)….   very unusual course… I…. Ah, crap!.   I shanked it to the right. 
  117. DONAL':   (Noticeably irritated.) This fairway is a very wide:.   One hundred thirty yards..   How could you miss it, Francis? 
  118. FRANCIS: (Noticeably irritated at Donal’.) You said left-center on the fairway..   (Resignedly.).   At least it’s on the fairway. (Irritated with himself.).   One hundred thirty yards wide and I missed it..   I’m not accustomed to this new club. (Donal’ steps up to the tee, places his ball, and without hesitation drives his ball straight down the left-center of the fairway.) 
  119. DONAL':   There you have it, Francis: The perfect drive..   My lie will be almost to or near End Hollow..   A perfect lie to the hole: in the center of the fairway..   I will birdie first hole easily … perhaps eagle.
  120. (Donal’ exits to find his ball on the fairway..   Francis gathers his golf bag and follows Donal’ as they exit..   Lights down.)
  121. End.   Act I, Scene Two