Posted by jlubans on May 06, 2016

Caption: Caddy in the rough.

“One Day a Caddy sat in the Long Grass near the Ninth Hole and wondered if he had a Soul. His Number was 27, and he almost had forgotten his Real Name.
As he sat and Meditated, two Players passed him. They were going the Long Round, and the Frenzy was upon them.
They followed the Gutta Percha Balls with the intent swiftness of trained Bird Dogs, and each talked feverishly of Brassy Lies, and getting past the Bunker, and Lofting to the Green, and Slicing into the Bramble—each telling his own Game to the Ambient Air, and ignoring what the other Fellow had to say.
As they did the St. Andrews Full Swing for eighty Yards apiece and then Followed Through with the usual Explanations of how it Happened, the Caddy looked at them and Reflected that they were much inferior to his Father.
His Father was too Serious a Man to get out in Mardi Gras Clothes and hammer a Ball from one Red Flag to another.
His Father worked in a Lumber Yard.
He was an Earnest Citizen, who seldom Smiled, and he knew all about the Silver Question and how J. Pierpont Morgan done up a Free People on the Bond Issue.
The Caddy wondered why it was that his Father, a really Great Man, had to shove Lumber all day and could seldom get one Dollar to rub against another, while these superficial Johnnies who played Golf all the Time had Money to Throw at the Birds. The more he Thought the more his Head ached.

Moral: Don't try to Account for Anything.”

I feel this caddy’s pain. As a former caddy – in pre-golf cart days – I’d carry the bag on my shoulder and walk all over usually along with three other caddies in a foursome of players. Sometimes, I’d carry two bags, but the rate did not double – it went up one and half the one-bag rate. I’d usually make about $1.50 or $2.00 per 18-hole game.
Perhaps I was subconsciously feeling what Ade’s caddy is thinking – the unfairness of this arrangement.
My early riser clients – 7AM tee time - often found me mooning around instead of eagle-eyeing their wayward shots into the “rough”. “Why the hell are you not looking at where the ball goes?” was not an infrequent question.
If there was a caddy-master, he never gave me a job description; wasn’t carrying the bags enough?
I remember crawling out of bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings for 7AM tee times. After three or four hours of trucking bags, I’d get paid – reluctantly so when the golfer blamed me for losing the ball he’d shanked into the woods - and then I’d whiz – like a pony heading back to the barn - down the fairway to the city’s movie house in time for a double feature, usually cowboy movies at .50cents, 25% of my income! The rest was dissipated at the candy counter to the benefit of the dental enterprise in my fair city.
On a rare occasion I’d get a .50-cent tip. Tips were far and few for even a good caddy - the caddy shack guys told me there were some folks who tipped big - but most did not. The big tippers had their favorite caddies; the non-tippers took potluck with kids like me.
While my head was mostly full of the movies I was going to see, George Ade’s caddy is thinking deep thoughts. He’s right about his dad being a Great Man. I hope he did not let the inequity of it all – his dad’s circumscribed life vs. “these superficial Johnnies who played Golf all the Time (and) had Money to Throw at the Birds” impede his bright future. Of course, Mr. Ade alludes as well to why some people have it so good while so many do not. We should always bear that in mind the next time we glide past the less than fortunate.

Caption: George Ade looking more like a prescient Sherlock Holmes than humorist.

*George Ade (1866-1944) was a newspaperman from Indiana who made his mark in Chicago writing about the common man. His Fables in Slang (e.g. “The Fable of Why Essie's Tall Friend Got the Fresh Air”) were syndicated across the United States and enjoyed a huge success. Influenced by Mark Twain, he influenced PG Wodehouse and Will Rogers, among others. The latter made more than one movie based on Ade’s writings. Wodehouse recorded Ade’s snappy witticisms in his writer’s notebooks and adapted them to his stories. Wodehouse’s personal library - in the room in which he did his writing - featured a shelf of Ade’s books.
This is the first fable by Mr. Ade in my Friday Fable series. His archives are at his alma mater, Purdue University.

**Source: George Ade. “Fables in Slang.”

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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