Monday, August 01, 2005


Summer in the office has never been great. Actually, summer is great for being out of the office and playing golf. Fortunately, I go out twice this week to play, so the week won't be totally shot. I wanted to work on my short game lately, so I'll have plenty of opportunity to do so this month. Some of the office staff, especially the ladies, take time off for vacation. I try to play golf, because before you know it, winter is here and it's "no golf season" then.

The clients are hard to get on the phone in the summer anyway. They bail out of town and drag their families to all those fun vacation spots around the country. The newly divorced head for some new spa or a cruise, or maybe to Florida to sit in the sun. The mid-level career types carry the kids off to an amusement park or camping. The retirees often run to their kids houses, but in the past they headed for Europe. At any rate, they get out of town, and it becomes impossible to get most of them on the phone. On top of their leaving, they start draining their accounts like they are in possession of Bill Gates' personal check book. Some of them might be his junior partner based on their assets, but they can flat-out spend the cash. You wonder if they will even have a dollar left in the account after they suck out all the vacation spending money. So, the choice becomes one of sitting in the office and leaving an endless series of voice mails, or ditching the afternoon and heading to the club. It's a hard choice to make, but I try to make the right choice about twice a week in the summer. Brokers have to play golf. I think it's in the bylaws when you first get licensed. You can't trust a broker that doesn't play golf. Seriously.

We had a new guy in the office one year, and the yearly office tournament was held about a month after he got hired. Trouble was, he sucked at golf. He was a 20-something hotshot that thought he could master anything by reading about it first. I guess that works if you're trying to master cooking, but reading to master a subject was his personal mantra. A few days before the event, he was reading a book on golf-- "101 Tips for Improving Your Game", or something like that. The afternoon of the tourney came, and since I was in charge of making up the pairings, naturally I put Hotshot in the first group. After the three senior guys put it in the fairway (and gave me a big ration of crap for hooking them up with the new kid), Hotshot gets up with his new Big Dog driver, takes a stance and creams the ball. The ball took off immediately to the left for the 9th green, skipped between two players putting, and plunked in the water hazard off the far side of the green. I still hear the guys laughing. Needless to say, Hotshot got a new lesson in playing with the Big Boys the rest of the day. The three senior guys kept screwing around with him and buying him beer. After the round, he asked me to not post his score for everyone to see since he had been "too drunk to play up to his normal level." I agreed, for the small fee of $40.00. It's a good day when you can get out to the course, play some decent golf, and make a bit of cash off the office newbie.

The following week, we started leaving golf balls on Hotshot's desk every time he headed for the John. He never did play in the office tournament again, but he had quite a drawer full of some of the crappiest golf balls ever collected. These new brokers will never get it, I guess. They have to play golf. Maybe we should add a question on our employment applications asking their handicap. I'll have to pass that idea along to the Boss.


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