Pathological Fantasy

What would it take to become a professional golfer? What if I quit my job and dedicated myself to finding a golf coach, learning how to swing and practicing hour after hour, day after day hitting a golf ball how and where I wanted? Could it be done with, say, $50k? And suppose I made my goal to qualify for the Senior Tour (a.k.a. the Champions Tour) at age 50? That would give 13 years to learn the game. Possible or not possible? (note: I’m reading Open by John Feinstein, which is about the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage). Are these kinds of musings just fantasy? What makes something doable anyway? What percentage of our lives are spent simply doing the easier thing? How many of us are really doing what we want to do? We’re fortunate to have the luxury to even think of such a question, but that doesn’t make answering it any easier.

My quick answer would be that nothing is impossible. Which also reminds me of the lyrics to a song from The Wizard of Menlo Park, a musical about Thomas Edison that we did back in 4th grade at good old Shadyside Academy.

Nothing is impossible, if you try.

You’ll be sure to work it out by and by.

Never say quit. Never say die.

So why don’t you give it a try?

So my mind may be stuck in 4th grade, naive positivism . Thrilling. I had the only speaking part in the musical, that of a patent clerk. My lines were something like, “Patent #xxxxxx, thank you very much Mr. Edison!” In a more interesting and better musical called The Point, I played Oblio’s wise and faithful pooch named Arrow. I even got my own song to sing solo called “Life Line,” details of which are better kept in a locked vault for eternity.


Correction: The song “Nothing is Impossible” is from the play The Electric Sunshine Man



  1. I have to disagree with you.

    I think that golf is the ultimate anti-ecological sport of all times. How many trees have been cut around the world to build the perfect course, (curse?)

    I remember seeing in Belize a WHOLE island, shaved of all of its trees just to accomodate your fellow golfers… grrr, grr


  2. I think we can reasonably disagree on whether golf is an enjoyable sport. I don't think you can judge a sport by its ecological impact though, without calling into question most aspects of how we live, such as housing developments. There are a growing number of golf courses that actually take ecological concerns into account. Once, while playing a course in Hilton Head, SC, I hit a ball near a lake. As I got closer to it, I noticed a greenish gray log about 4 feet in length about 10 yards from my ball. It was an alligator. The alligator now has my ball.  My playing partners didn't give me a free drop.  I took an 8 on the hole.

    Haiti is a place without any trees. And only one golf course.


  3. Haiti also came to my mind.

    That will be a good place to build golf courses. Given that the french were nice enough to cut the trees, burn them in order to later sell them as coal. Unfortunately, a practice still in vogue…


  4. I have that “Nothing is impossible” song stuck in my mind. I learned it while I was in 3rd grade at Thomas A. Edison Elementary school in Skokie, IL (just north of Chicago). We put on a biography play about Edison. (I was born in 1975.) I could never remember what came after “never say die”, and I don’t remember: “So why don’t you give it a try?” I would just kinda mumble-repeat the “by and by” line. Thanks for posting the lyrics. I think you’re the only one to have done so in the whole Universe. You’re awesome.


      1. Hey. After watching the video (thanks for marking the beginning of the song [there’s nothing more painful than sitting through an elementary school production; especially true when you don’t know any of the performers!]), I’m now convinced that we just repeated, more emphatically, “You’ll be sure to work it out by and by” in place of “So why don’t you give it a try?” That’s how I’ll continue to sing it in my head anyway. 😉 Thanks for this most random interaction.

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