“Forget everything you know about golf,” Mitch told me at the beginning of the one-hour golf-with-a-pro golf lesson I won for free when I dropped my business card into a bowl of business cards at the Kia dealer a few months ago.
“What?” I had to ask the person on the other end of the phone when they called me up to let me know that my name had been chosen as the winner. I didn’t even wind up buying a Kia. And that was a real challenge, walking out of that showroom empty handed. Those guys were out for blood. One of the salesmen was actually walking down the street with me for a few blocks, still convinced that if he could only find that magical combination of words and discounted interior upgrades, that I’d reconsider, I’d turn around and sign my name on that dotted line that was in front of my face even before I’d selected which model would have made for a cool test drive.
“That’s right, you’re the lucky winner of the Kips Bay Kia Golf Giveaway!” And yeah, it’s nice to win something, especially something that you weren’t expecting. I was at work, my phone rang, and the last thing I could have imagined was that I’d win an hour of private golf lessons with Mitch … what was his last name? I can’t remember. He was definitely a pro though. He showed me his pro card before even shaking my hand.
And that was the first thing he said to me, “Forget everything you know about golf.” And I looked at him and said, “Done.” And then I closed my eyes and made an expression like there was something rattling around in my head, and then I opened my eyes and went, “Ding! Golf memories: erased.”
He didn’t laugh, which, I don’t know what to say. I thought that was pretty funny, considering it was totally on the spot. Like I had no idea he was going to tell me to forget everything I knew about golf. And I’m pretty good with jokes, you know, not like a professional comedian or anything, but whatever, mildly funny, that’s probably a fair description. And this was so beyond my regular mild humor, I tried to match his stone cold gaze, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little.
“You done?” he said after a really awkward twenty or thirty seconds.
“Yeah, I’m good, sorry Mitch.”
“All right, well, we’d better get started. Did you leave your clubs in the car?”
“No, I don’t have a car.”
“You didn’t bring clubs?”
“Clubs? I told you I won this, right? At the Kia dealership?”
“But I just thought you said that you don’t have a car.”
“Right, yeah, I just took the subway.”
“So then how did you win this lesson at a Kia dealership?”
“Well, I thought about buying a car, but I didn’t do any research, and you know how the salespeople get you, they sit you down at that desk and start writing numbers down, I knew I was way …”
“All right, OK. How about, I’ll just get one of the loaner clubs from the driving range and we’ll give you like three buckets of balls.”
“And then what?”
“What you mean and then what?”
“What are these balls you’re talking about? Driving range? None of these words make any sense.”
And he looked at me for a second, and then I started laughing again, which, I really wanted to see how long I could keep a straight face this time.
“Mitch, remember? You told me to forget everything I knew about golf?”
And I was smiling and, for a minute, I thought Mitch was going to break, like I’d gotten through to him, like he was going to start laughing any second. But he just looked at me and said, “You’ve got something wrong with you, asshole.”
So he walked away and I didn’t even get those three free buckets of balls. And now Kia won’t stop calling me either, they’re like, “How was the golf lesson? Any thoughts about buying a Kia? Do you want to come down to the showroom and talk about financing? Rob, come on, tell me what I’ve got to do to get you in this Kia. Rob, help me help you buy a Kia. Rob, you’ve got to buy this Kia.” Over and over again, I’m at the point where I’m thinking about getting a new cell phone. But the last time I went to the T-Mobile store I also never bought a phone, and weirdly enough, while I was there I also won a prize, a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to the Sports Authority. That was like four months ago, and those guys just finally stopped calling me. “Hey Rob, how was that gift card? You thinking about coming down and buying a Samsung Galaxy smartphone? We’ve got some great deals on refurbished models that I think you’ll be interested in. Come on down and talk it out. Tell me what I’ve got to do to get one of those smartphones in your hands.”