Freudian Slips: Teeing Off

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Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

February 05, 2006

Teeing Off

-First hole of Pitman Golf Course June 4, 1989 9:20am tee time
On a wooden bench by the first hole, sat two middle aged women sporting touches of grey. One woman looked vaguely familiar. While I stared, I scanned my memory banks.
“Mrs. McLeester?” I asked. “Is that you?”
“Joe Tornatore?” the woman replied.
“Yes. How are you? You haven’t changed a bit” I greeted. “What on earth is your son Byrone up to? I haven’t seen him since high school.”
She rose from the bench like an old Judge. “Byrone and his male lover moved to Washington State.”
Her reply came from the warning track of deep left field. Coupled with the crisp air and the serenity of the golf course, I failed to recognize the shrewdness behind her choice words. From someone who last saw me when I was fifteen years old, her confidences in casual conversation came unexpectedly. Could she be looking for shock value? Standing on the raised tee box, it had the trappings of the fool on the hill. So I walked towards her but it did not make for an even playing field.
I replied, “That is cool.”
“Cool?” She walked closer to me wielding a golf club. “That is all you have to say about the situation?”
A thousand thoughts ransacked my brain at warp speed. Although I did not know about Byrone’s lifestyle, the little she said finally made sense to me. I was Byrone’s close friend for four impressionable teenage years. Never in my presence had Byrone mentioned or placed himself in the proximity of girls. Moreover, Byrone often talked about moving far away. All that had to count for something. To Byrone, Washington State must be a shiny apple.
“What would you like me to say about his life?” I asked miffed.
“I’ll tell you, Joe. I didn’t spend my whole life raising him proper to turn out this way. Byrone had to move clear across the country to hide the ugly truth. What kind of life is that? Living in sin with a man! You know that he was my only son. I am devastated. Do you have any idea how empty my dinner table looks around the holidays? Byrone robbed me of the opportunity to be a grandmother. I will never see Byrone raise a family. I may never see my son again.”
Mrs. McLeester reminded me of Beth Jarrett, the mother in the movie Ordinary People, whose only surviving son failed to live up to her expectations. She felt justified in her rant but she was completely out of turn.
I heard the sound of a sweet golf swing behind me. My friend Mark timely summoned me to the first tee box. “Joey, you’re up.”
My turn on the tee box prevented Mrs. McLeester from continuing to tee off on me. She left me, however, at a complete loss for words. All I could muster was a tight smile and a retreat back to the tee box. With the landscape of the first hole before me, I settled into my golf stance. I put my best foot forward. With a perfect swing, I guided the ball out of my fold. I spanked that little dimpled ball, which spent so much time in the cozy comforts of my pocket, out in the world. Despite my best intentions, the wind took my ball over one hundred yards wide left. I felt powerless in the grip of circumstance watching the ball sail away from the hole. The flight of a golf ball has been known to drift irregardless of center. The fool on the hill concluded that the same limitations are true about parenting.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Erin said...

During a Women's Studies class in college, the professor (who happened to be a lesbian) asked us to make a choice: would we rather see our children grow up to be homosexual, or grow up to be felons, spending the rest of their lives in prision. I was amazed at the number of students who chose the second option.

The more progress we make, the harder we have to fight.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

erin,
sad commentary.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous et said...

This woman loved not her son; she loved an image of a son, conjured up in her minds eye of what a son should be. True love, loves unconditionally!

6:32 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

et,
that line of thinking only works, ideally.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Maja said...

That kind of bitterness always comes from selfishness. I hope Byrone and his lover are really really really happy :)

1:36 AM  
Blogger honkeie2 said...

I am always tickled pink when parents are lost when their kids dont live out "Their" dreams and not their own.
And on the gay children topic, I just had this argument with someone and I had the best come back that shut the down cold.

Stupid human: Gay men should not be allowed to adopt, they will turn them gay!

Me: Yeah becasue we all know that straight parents raise only straight kids!

"What did the 5 fingers say to the face?"
SSLLAAPP!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

maja,
agreed,

Honk,
As usual, STRAIGHT to the point.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe,
you emailed me this one. I certainly understand the point, but there is not enough of (me) in it.
Marcus

8:36 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

marcus,
i will work harder to make my blog more about you.

9:56 PM  

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