Monday, March 3, 2014

Failure Coach XXXI

Creve Coeur Golf Course

“Hey Bob-O, can you break away for nine at Creve Coeur around 2:15?” Alan was hoping for some quality time from his friend, the good attorney Bob Caster. The call was worth a shot he thought. Since Bob joined the downtown firm he’d been harder to schedule. Alan missed the camaraderie of regular rounds with Bob which in hindsight he didn’t appreciate quite enough. Now that they happened with less frequency they were harder to schedule. Bob had to play the lawyer game with client meetings and mentoring para-legals and young lawyers. He also had a bigger business development nut to crack if he was going to secure his place in the firm. Alan knew this call was a long shot but he also figured there were not many decent golf days left weather-wise this season.

“I’m in.” The response was a surprise to Alan but he was thrilled.

“Great. You know the drill. I’ll see you at the club. I’ve got lot’s to talk to you about, not the least of which is that nasty slice of yours. Ha.”

“Let me wrap up a few things here and I will meet you there.”
The round was indeed overdue. Alan rented a cart so they could ride together. It occurred to Alan that this was one of those times when guys were able to talk about anything or nothing. In the scheme of things, everyone knows that women are more comfortable getting together over lunch or coffee for social time. Men are from Mars. Men seem to like the options of playful and meaningless banter or friendly competition. On this day, Bob was just happy to be making a get-away.

Nine holes at the Creve Coeur Golf Course should only take about an hour and a half but if ill-timed behind a slow group or a league night the round could take 3 and a half hours. Either way he was looking forward to the time on the links with his long time friend.

When Bob arrived, Alan was ready with a cart. “You’re good. You are already paid. Let’s go.”

“Geez, no time to warm up or make a few practice putts?”

“You know how this place can get in the afternoon. We’re wide open with no-one in front of us.”

“You’re right. Tee-it up hot shot.”

Alan was keeping score and driving the cart when he noticed Bob taking a few practice swings on the tee box on number four. He joined him on the elevated landscaped platform. They watched some high school kids walking up to their balls which were well placed in the fairway just about 250 yards out. “Probably kids from the DeSmet High School golf team. I bet you wish you could hit it long and straight like that.” Bob was talking trash to Alan but they both knew the boys from the neighborhood Jesuit run Catholic High School were putting on a clinic. Bob and Alan both wished they had taken the game more seriously when they were teens. Instead they tried to dial it in their forties when business outings a charity events forced them to figure it out as adults. In spite of the frustration, both accepted erratic and inconsistent play and never let stupid lapses in mechanics ruin a round for them. It was clear that the score didn’t matter much to them anyway. “A good walk spoiled,” Alan reminded Bob of Mark Twain’s assessment of the game of golf.

“Hey Bob, what do you know about fine art?”

“I know enough to know you shouldn’t invest in art unless you love it and want to treasure it. Put it this way. It isn’t a liquid asset. I’ve had some cases where families go to war over a piece of art work like it’s a family heirloom and yet at the first opportunity they want to sell it to the highest bidder.”

“I’m going to a private viewing of a private collection in Cleveland that’s valued at like $80 Million. I’m not even sure why. It turns our a capella scholar may be in line to inherit this collection.”

“I hope the kid has a tax attorney. The transfer of assets like that can be challenging, especially if there isn’t a pretty specific will spelling things out. ”      

As with most golf course conversations, the subject was dropped for the time being. While putting on hole number 6, Alan decided to irritate his friend with a lawyer joke: A guy asks a lawyer what his fee is. "I charge $50 for three questions," the lawyer says. "That’s awfully steep, isn’t it?" the guy asks. "Yes," the lawyer replies, "Now what’s your final question?"

“Very funny Alan.”

On number 8, cruising the fairway after two respectable drives Bob asked Alan how things were going with Abbeshire & Bluestone. “How in the world did they keep Coach Siena from talking about Johnny Appleseed and his arrest in Miami? And where in the world did he find that Andrew Valentine kid? He sings a cappella in front of hundreds of people and thanks his rich Nana. That was some show. Even I thought about writing a check to the Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholarship fund that night.”

“That was pretty remarkable, wasn’t it? And it’s his Nana who is going to make our boy Andy Valentine the owner of a pretty unique and priceless collection of art.”

No comments: