Jabberers on the links merit shot on the brow

May 06, 1994|By MIKE ROYKO

As an authority on etiquette and civilized behavior, I'm frequently asked for advice on how to handle difficult social situations.

Today's question came from a woman who asked that she be identified only as "Ms. Frazzled Nerves."

Here is how she described her problem:

"I recently joined a women's weekly golf league. I have been playing golf for several years, but always with my husband or close friends. This was my first experience in a league with strangers.

"The first round was a nightmare. Two of the women I was paired with never stopped talking. They talked when I teed up and addressed my ball and kept talking while I swung. They talked while I was lining up my putts and while I putted.

"Besides destroying my concentration, they made me furiously angry. It is impossible to play a decent round of golf without concentrating and while angry, so the entire day was a disaster."

Because they are lovable but physically weak, some female creatures view a round of golf as a social outing.

This is why you seldom see women shouting obscenities, smashing clubs, punching trees or slumping in the clubhouse bar to brood, wallow in self-pity and drink themselves into fatal liver disease because a ball hopped into a pond. They do not have a true love for the game.

However, because Ms. Frazzled Nerves' experience caused her emotional distress, she is obviously a serious player, committed to the misery and suffering that are part of the joy of golfing.

So to get to her question: What should she have done about her talkative companions?

Had this happened to a man, the solution would have been simple. A man would have turned and said in a friendly tone: "Hey, you two (bleeps), shut the (bleep) up, huh?" What could be more open and sharing than that?

But women, even in this enlightened era of liberation, are more restrained, so a more subtle approach would be recommended for Ms. Frazzled Nerves.

The first time her companions babbled, she might have just stepped away from the ball and stood there with a big smile on her face.

Eventually, one of them would have asked: "Aren't you going to hit?"

And she could have said: "No, I am so fascinated by your conversation on a remedy for stretch marks that I just can't get interested in hitting this ball. Please go on, I so desperately want to hear more."

If that didn't make the point, she might have gone on to something a little less subtle by turning the tables.

That means that when one of the two babblers was addressing the ball or about to putt, Ms. Frazzled Nerves could have suddenly burst into song and continued singing loudly -- maybe the national anthem or "God Bless America" -- every time they were about to make a shot. And if they object, you simply say: "What, aren't you patriotic?"

Then there is the old giggling trick. As they leaned over their shots, Ms. Frazzled Nerves could quietly giggle, then let the giggle grow louder and louder.

One of them would have surely demanded to know what was so funny. And the response would be: "The view from here . . . well, have you thought of big-time liposuction?"

All of these are appropriate responses to people -- male or female -- who jabber on the golf course, a vile offense that Congress is too cowardly to include in the crime bill.

But if they didn't work, there is the final solution.

That would mean that Ms. Frazzled Nerves would have teed up her ball, then addressed it so that she was aiming squarely in the direction of the nearby babblers, whose jaws would drop.

Then while smiling madly, she would swat the ball and send it streaking in their direction.

This would have one of two results: They would flee toward the clubhouse, permitting Ms. Frazzled Nerves to salvage the rest of her round in peace; or the ball would hit one of them flush on the brow, rendering her silent through the ages.

And with a good lawyer defending her, no jury of golfers in the world would convict her.

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