Just when I thought I could put up a short piece of romantic fiction, or a beautiful poem (as if ...), or a thunder-and-lighting-out-of-the-blue kind of thought provoking post, or a cracker on the secrets of life, or a laugh-until-stomach-hurts joke ... I looked up and saw the calender ...
Car crash, smashed windows, transgression, mistresses, infidelity - yes, this post is about Tiger Woods, as if you haven't reached the point of vomiting in disgust upon hearing about the greatest golf player of all time, and his self-inflicted mind-blowing-shattering of image. Although, this post has nothing to do with his car crash, smashed windows, transgression, mistresses (porn stars? pan cake restaurant waitresses?), infidelity, or even his recently announced "indefinite" hiatus. This post is about my two cents on why he was (depending on how he deals with the crisis, still is) the dominant golf player that he was.
We as human beings are here today roaming around the earth because of one reason - we survive. Survival is our most basic instinct. It's the first thing that we need to address every morning when we wake up, before anything else. But golf has nothing to do with survival ... unless you're trying to break the windows of a car to save the driver.
At the very top level, golf is a game of the mind - the player with the most intent of mental strength wins. When a whisper from a spectator standing twenty feet away can affect your game, the power to focus is the ultimate weapon. External noises are relatively easy to handle, internal disturbances are a different matter; while everyone can control their conscious thoughts with a varying degree of ease, it's those who can keep their subconscious voices in check that'll reach the purest level of mind power. And apparently, Tiger has been the best on the golf course for a long while. After the recent car crash and its ensuing jaw-dropping revelation, I think I might have just cracked the secret to Tiger's success in the game of golf.
Here's my two cents ...
Given the ease with which we can dispense of the external factors and the conscious thoughts, let's dive straight into the deepest of our mind - the valley of our subconsciousness. And I assume the basic instinct that would generate the loudest clamour for attention behind our subconscious mind is survival, the first and foremost issue to be addressed in order to achieve peace of mind.
Unlike common people like me, who has to constantly think of how the next cent will slip into my bank account every moment of my waking and sleeping hours, I doubt survival would be making any noises at the back of the mind of the professional golfers. What then lurks behind the mind after the assurance of survival is established? - The desire to procreate.
As a member of a species, and to ensure the continuous survival of the species, we reproduce. To ensure we never forget to reproduce, we are bestowed with hormones - hormones that will urge us into engaging in sexual activities - sexual activities that will drive us into the process of reproduction - reproduction that will ensure our species will continue to roam this earth.
However, longevity of survival hinges on a perfect equilibrium. If the hormones never cease to drive us into the activities of procreation, we will die of exhaustion. Therefore, once the hormones is discharged after our procreating activities, it will bother us no more, for a while. If the sexual hormones are not there jumping up and down for attention, our mind will have more power to focus on other matters, like putting in a perfect swing, or stroking a sweet putt.
With ten mistresses (and counting) who travel around the world to be near him at golf tournaments, I doubt Tiger's sexual hormones have any energy left to even bother him with the slightest of a yelp. Without the distraction from the urges of the two most basic instincts at the darkest and deepest corner of his mind, he was left in peace to do the job in hand - golf swings. And, perhaps, that's how Tiger has the stronger mental strength than anyone else in golf. Of course, I'm not presuming that other professional golfers don't have sex during a tournament, it's just that nobody did it like Tiger.
I was pretty smug about this theory of mine on Tiger's dominance on the golf course ... until the news that links him to performance enhancing drug surfaces ...
I've always thought that monotony is the bane of life, when life is supposed to be colourful. And there I was, observing a dripping bag trickling poison into life - a man holding onto the same job, at the same place, serving the same stuff to the same sets of customers for at least the last twelve years.
I cringed at the mere thought of me in his shoes.
Six jobs in the last eight years - that's how disgusted I am and deal with monotony. Alarm screaming, snooze, more screaming, getting up, traffic, familiar routines, lunch, more familiar routines, traffic, dinner, tv, boredom-induced sleeping, day break, alarm screaming, snooze ... - my heart aches just thinking about the cycle. It won't be so bad, if the routine need no constant pep talking, incessant pumping up and continuous patting on the back to keep it going. And the thing that's more wretched than monotony is - more forthcoming monotonies. The thoughts of going through the tunnel of monotony again the next day weighs heavier than going through the tunnel of monotony itself. The moment I started to feel such weigh and stranglehold, I started to look for another job, lest I would die of suffocation.
After my third job as a stationery salesman, I started to suspect that there must be something wrong. There must be something I'm not seeing that everybody else see, everybody else who stay in their jobs for more than two years, consecutively. Sure, I have after-work activities and weekends to oil those dreadful routines, but work taking up more than three quarters of my life? Surely, there must be more?
Marriage during my fourth job didn't change much of my mentality towards work. Still, life got sweeter - after work, and during weekends, and public holidays, and the annual vacation. But the arrival of my wife's pregnancy a few months ago did.
After the excitement of being a father for the first time subsided, for also the first time, I started to feel the hot breathes of the monster called life down my neck. As the birth of my first child approaches, I feel my grips on my fight against monotony loosening, escaping through another job suddenly seems an irresponsible option. It does seem I have to somehow stick it out with this job, which took me back to the area where I started with my first job.
Back then, I was working as an account clerk, and my favourite place was a coffee shop near the office. No delicious food and coffee that tastes so-so, I guess that's why it wasn't crowded most of the times. It was my favourite because it had enough fans and not many walls to make the place cooling, it's quiet, and I don't have to wait for a table to have an enjoyable time reading my newspaper. That's the highlight of my workday.
After eight years during which I have changed six jobs, it's run by the same man, wearing seemingly the same T-shirt and apron, and with a slightly balder head. It's not that I was surprised to see him there taking my order of drink, but when I saw him bringing my cup of coffee to me, my mind was flashing like crazy, in black and white, with these words - monotony is the bane of life, monotony is the bane of life, monotony ... And this man had been there for at least twelve years - when I first frequented the place, he'd already been there for four years.
He's not the only person who has achieved the "feat". And I often wonder how do they dilute the tortures of such humdrums. Do they have no feelings? What are their secrets?
As he sat and rested behind the counter, I was beginning to suspect he wasn't actually better than me. His smile disappeared and his face started to show signs of weariness. Just as I sighed in the same weariness, I saw his tired face blossoming into a smile that only genuine happiness will bring. As I turned towards the direction of his smile, I saw a young boy in school uniform walking into the shop, humming a little tune, wearing the same kind of smile. I didn't immediately recognise the face, but slowly, an image of a father cooing a toddler from eight years ago surfaced ...
I still think that monotony is the bane of life, but maybe I was drilling at the wrong direction all these times. Perhaps survival being the most important part of our lives doesn't allow us to think twice about our livelihoods. Love it or hate it, all we can do is to grind our teeth, learn to live with it and get on with it. Perhaps we don't need an antidote to this bane in this significant part of our lives. Maybe what we need is a justification, especially when it relates to the happiness and well-being of our loved ones.
It rained today, the sort that reminds me of you - soft as feathers, cool as the mountain streams, and quiet as the night: the fall of the raindrops, the embrace of the air, and the rhythm of the rain. Sitting in the campus cafe, sipping my morning dose of caffeine, I kept waiting for a girl to emerge from the morning crowd of young adults walking to their classes.
Yes, I went back to the university today, had a walk around the campus and took a stroll down memory lanes. So much has changed.
When the rain started, I took shelter at the cafe - the cafe where I first saw you, and had my breath taken away in the drizzling rain. There I was, having my morning coffee before class. Just as I raised my eyes to check my watch, a girl dressed in white shirt and blue jean appeared amongst the umbrella-wielding crowds. What captivated me was not only your angelic face and the innocent smile it was wearing, but your drenched hair, your bare feet, and your joyous steps in the rain - such energy, such innocence, such carefree spirit! Such lunatic!! That's what I thought about you then.
I also thought that love had never come to me so fast. Not before. Not since. Perhaps it was the heavy cloud of solitude that accompanied me at that time - a lonely soul in a foreign environment stepping into a new life - there's no wall of resistance strong enough to defend against the attraction exuded by your free spirit. That's probably the heaviest and fastest crush I had.
Because of you, or the desire to see you again, I got to know the owner and the waiters of that cafe. I still frown upon the stinginess of the owner for not giving me discounts for my coffee, after the many cups I bought to wait for your appearances for many weeks after that. After so many years, the owner of the cafe has changed, perhaps many times over, so has the price of a cup of coffee. But I was still listening to "our song" on my iPod.
... there must be an angel playing with my heart ...
I'm quite sure that's your favourite. In one of the happiest day of my university life, this song was softly streaming out from the earbuds of your Walkman into my tender heart. The luckiest guy in the world - was my only thought that day, when you walked towards the back of the bus and picked the vacant seat beside me. As you took your seat, you smiled at me. Yes, you smiled. I'm very sure you did. Because my heartbeats picked up speed like a paratrooper who had jumped off a plane without a parachute. And the vigour of it! I thought the whole bus could hear my heartbeat.
As you tapped your finger lightly on your bag to the song, I was trembling slightly like a foolish teenage boy. I so wanted to talk to you then. But I couldn't bring myself to interrupt your song. To my delight then, we alighted at the same stop near the campus. I'm not sure you noticed, but I followed you all the way to your class that day, waiting for a chance and enough courage gleaned to tap your shoulder and say Hi! As you know, that never did materialise. The happiest day of my university life was to be followed by the saddest.
Like a puff of smoke, you disappeared into thin air after that day. I have never seen you since.
The agony of missed chances tortured me for a good few months after that. Concocted with the crashes of the diminishing hopes of you somehow reappearing in front of me was the worst feeling - sleepless nights, tasteless food, futile searches, disappointment after disappointment, and, in the end, giving up. Ahh ... the emotional youth and its inexplicable idiocies. Coming out of it, I made a promise to myself.
A promise I keep until today - to never be fearful of taking the first step towards what I want.
These fearless first steps have since led me to my first job, my first sales - now I own a medium size company, my first girlfriend, and subsequently my wife of twenty odd years - she was my fifth girlfriend (yes, the fearless first steps work for breaking up too) - and my three boys - the eldest graduated from our university today - that's what brought me back to the campus, and that's when I thought about you again.
In a way, everything I own today started with those fearless first steps which came into forces because of you. And thus, I owe what I own today to you. You made me who I am today.
I call you Jane, but I'm never sure whether it's actually Jenn or Jean. I overheard someone calling you "Jane" before you entered your class the last day I saw you, and I saw the initial "J" on your bag on the bus that day. Truthfully, I don't remember your face ... So ...
So, thank you, Jane.
Now, if you receive this e-mail today, please do not worry. I'm not a stalker. You have received this e-mail today because your info stated your attendance to the University of St James around the years of 1985 - according to Facebook, and your name is Jane.
I don't expect any reply to this mail. I don't need any reply to this mail. Please don't reply to this mail. I just want to somehow express my gratitude to you - Jane.
Whoever you are, here's wishing you a good life and happiness.