Sunday, 11 October 2009

More golf and back pain

I was in the rough with the girl I’d concussed (see"Don't let sleeping bags lie"8/10/09) when the golf ball in my trouser pocket started vibrating. All undergraduates have to carry a remote controlled golf ball during term-time - can be radio-balled back to the Club House at a moments notice.

The Dean was already over the ironing board. “You took your time, come and look at this,” he hissed. I was confronted by a freshly pressed spreadsheet. Sophisticated tables and figures charted the career paths of Golf Course Management graduates (the course has been running since 1971, the year the first and last golf ball was driven off the moon by Alan Sheppard, an astronaut with a handicap of 15). Several golf graduates had gone on to manage pubs; one (who’d attained a PHD) had become a chimney sweep; an alarming number had joined either the police or armed forces; another ran a chain of massage parlours; dry-cleaning shops seemed to be popular career choice; two had gone into partnership (a two-ball, in golfing lingo) and ran a vast tobacco plantation in Nicaragua; several were in prison; an alarming number had either lost a limb or died young. None (unless you count the transvestite who graduated with a tutu and now runs a crazy golf franchise by the sea in Essex), not even one Golf Course Management graduate, in thirty eight years, had gone on to successfully manage a golf course. The spreadsheets did however reveal another clear career trend; the majority of Golf Course Management graduates (over two thirds, in fact) had gone into photography, had become successful (exhibiting, regularly published) photographers.

“How do you explain that,” ejaculated the Dean, who was wielding an imaginary six iron (safer than the steam iron, but still worrying). I reasoned, “a university education is about the cultivation and development of an enquiring mind, not just training for one specific job. English Literature students don’t all become writers, History graduates don’t wear old fashioned clothes and live in the past, if you study German you don’t have to go and live in Germany, and everybody accepts that the vast majority of Fine Art graduates never make any art again after the experience of studying it.”

“Undress and lie on the ironing board. I can’t massage the figures so I’m going to massage you,” the Dean said. Then just as I was about to take my bra off, he ejaculated, “stop I’ll undo you.” I was allowed to keep my bra on (with the straps undone at the back of course), for this I was grateful, as my Eccles cakes cushioned the force of the Deans powerful touch. When he’d finished my arms and shoulders the Dean lit a long thick Juan Lopez cigar and moved onto my back. The massage itself was very sensitively performed, however every so often I felt a sharp prick followed by an excruciating burning sensation. I thought, perhaps our Dean's also an acupuncturist (on the side) and was just inserting a few needles. When the massage was over he said, “stand up and face the wall, I want to photograph your back.” By the time I got home I was in considerable pain. I took my shirt off and examined myself in the mirror.

 Around familiar moles the Dean had added eighteen new holes. He'd burned (with just the tip of his cigar, and from memory) a map of the ‘Old Course" at St Andrews, on my back. That our Dean is a golf course designer, through to the bone - now that much is known. But is he any good at photography?

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