Is this a classified advertisement for golf clubs, or a rumination on the passage of time and this crazy thing we call life? It’s called “Flaccid golf clubs for sale,” which doesn’t tell you much one way or the other.
Marc T. Lewis, your words put many-to-most of ours to shame. As your clubs are a part of American history, you too are a part of the American literary landscape. It’s also refreshing to see something of this caliber on craigslist, as opposed to ads for outdated cell phone chargers and discreet sexual activity. Take it from here, Marc:
I’m selling my golf clubs and with a golden satchel of memories. These clubs have been with me since high school, forty pounds ago, when the world was my oyster, long before that oyster was left out in the sun to sour, uneaten and spoiled. These clubs were with me the first time I sank a golf cart in a water hazard, the first time I polished off a fifth of bourbon during a single round, and the first and only time I ever killed a bird. These clubs have been in my trunk on every one of my road trips, whether alone or with friends, so they have seen the world, or, rather, a corner of the world, just North Carolina really, and maybe Virginia and South Carolina, but we don’t talk about South Carolina, no one does. These golf clubs were used once in defense against a swarm of bees that turned out to be imaginary bees brought on by lack of sleep and something else, some wild fuel I accidentally ate. They have been used as a cane when my crutches were not around the two times I broke my knee, the second time a dislocation of the knee cap that led me to believe the pain of child birth would be both bearable and welcomed should it be an alternative to my knee cap coming unattached again. These clubs have felt the salty breeze of the Carolina coast on their face and the brisk numbing wind of the Blue Ridge Mountains about their grips. These clubs are a piece of American history because they have seen a piece of America.
These clubs are also stupid. Anything that has heard words shouted with such repetition in its presence would have surely learned to cuss by now. These clubs cannot cuss. They also can not learn to hit the ball straight. They are terrible at remembering the few good strokes they have created and fight constantly to stand out from the herd, to stray, like some weirdo in Jnco jeans in the corner of the cafeteria eating his spaghetti by hand or some damn Hippie lying in a field going nowhere with his life. These clubs will never sustain a job because they cannot learn. There is a reason they are for sale and all sales are final.
I bought these clubs before I met the girl who would become my wife. I met her eleven years ago when I was sixteen and had a stomach that no one who knows me now would believe, ripped like a little Rambo. I had these clubs when I was a young bachelor, hair down to my shoulders, tearing up the town in a 1990 Volvo 740 SEL with the sunroof open and the road before me like some great American Dream ready to be snatched, the way candy is from a baby, or a kiss from an easy and drunk woman. These clubs moved from the Volvo to the 1980 midnight blue Chevy Camaro Berlinetta, a thing unlike any other thing, and they watched me fall in love with my wife, a woman who has mastered both looking perfect and a number of delicious casseroles. (She’s heartbreakingly beautiful and comforted me each time these golf clubs kicked me in the crotch.) The Berlinetta, the keeper of the clubs for two years, was a car that only ever knew the sounds of Appetite for Destruction and who wanted to go so much faster than the 85 miles per hour its speedometer allowed. But that car was hampered by reality, something its driver never saw coming. Like the clubs, as in life, like a speedometer only meant to go so fast, potential is not what you can imagine but what you can do, and the potential in these clubs is set at a non-negotiable 32 over par. After the Camaro the clubs moved to a Jeep and then a fuel-efficient Civic, neither of which sustained the fiery joy of a young man’s driving, and neither grown-up car comes with as many stories, except for that starry night when the State Police knocked on the Jeep window just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the flashlight’s glow filling the cab, but that has nothing to do with golf.
PW-3I. The 3-iron and 4-iron have never been swung. Maybe they have been swung but they have surely never been hit by a ball. The 5-iron worked one sunny day in August of ’01 on a course just outside of Raleigh. And on that day the 5-iron worked like few 5-irons have worked before. But that day was but a whisper of joy in a lifetime of defeat, like that scrimmage before senior year against the worst team in the city when I had twelve tackles and an interception (my count) and the world (my mom) thought I was going to be a star. But it wasn’t meant to be. Remember the knees. And like the 5-iron I faded into a metaphorical bag in a metaphorical trunk riding circles around North Carolina looking for another sunny patch of manicured fairway to kick up.
I had a sand wedge but I lost it.
For an added price, negotiable, I will also sell the Bazooka driver. Purchased along with the irons back when I believed in the names of things–back when buying something called a Bazooka was a perfect idea–the driver is in good shape. But it too is a failed son. If the Bazooka were an actual son it would smoke pot in a basement and troll for uneducated red-headed former dancers from “down east” in dingy bars on the weekends, selling the poor girls on stories of grandeur, hope, tales of a Big Bazooka and all the memories such a Bazooka could bury in her cold and weary heart. But like the actual Bazooka, my driver, if the Bazooka were a sorry man it would have trouble with its piece and would fail to make it in the short grass every time. The Bazooka hits a ball straight up in the air and lands it a hundred yards shy of where you intended, it’s like a quickie when all you really want is the thing to be patient. Up, up, up, down, down, stop, over, damn, sigh, sorry. The Bazooka is nothing its name implies, or maybe it is everything its name implies, war on something, war on your soul. Us Americans and our names. Like a subdivision named Garden Estates that can only be seen from the highway when the red dust cloud settles and a view of the trailers emerges from the crimson squalor.
My initial asking price is $125 for the clubs. No bag. No extra wedges. No putter. PW-3I. And $200 if you want the driver. The asking price is high, yes, but this is a g-d recession if you haven’t noticed and the bar near my house seems to think $2.75 is an appropriate asking price for PBR. Not only do I have all the hipsters in the world drinking the stuff but they’ve driven the price through the roof. One day I’ll catch one, one of the skinny, squirrelier ones, and place his knit cap over his mouth and waterboard him with Four Loko. But we digress. $125 for clubs, no bag. $200 with driver. (Note. The driver doesn’t come with a head cover because I lost it and bought an Appalachian State head cover for it and you can’t have that because I’m not buying another Appalachian State head cover. Bazooka comes naked. Naked and flaccid as it should.)
If you want to discuss the price you can email me through Craigslist or get me on twitter (@marctlewis) or my website (marctlewis.com). If you want to bicker about the price you can bend over and place your head between your knees until all the blood rushes down there then you can pop up quickly and pass out. Save me the effort. Also, if you’re the type of person who bickers over a Craigslist price you have neither the sense of humor nor mental fortitude to wield a set of sad sticks such as these.
Let the bidding begin and don’t be cheap. Everyone is poor these days. You’re not special.
There are tons of great lines here, but “some weirdo in Jnco jeans in the corner of the cafeteria eating his spaghetti by hand” is my favorite. What are yours?