When I played a lot of golf, I would get sucked into anything that I thought would help my pitiful game.
I believed that as technology increased at an exponential rate, my scores would decrease in an inverse manner. All I would need to do is collect a number of $100 bills, pile them up and hand them to the man who most effectively could convince me that my golf game would improve if those very same $100 bills were in his pocket instead of mine.
Between learning about the wizardry of the drag coefficient, trampoline effect, carbon fiber composite weight relief, I found out they were actually correct, as my average drive ballooned from 183 yards to darn near 186 yards. How do I know this? Because of the $50,000 in equipment used to measure it (and if you can’t believe technology than what can you believe). Unfortunately, not long ago someone politely pulled me aside and said, “Um, maybe it’s the archer not the arrow.”
My son put it even more simply, “You are too fat to get a good turn and you have terrible hand-eye-coordination.”
Wow, for that I paid for his college?
Now, I also consider myself a decent guitarist, but there are plenty of rabbit holes there to travel down as well.
I get caught up in things like guitars made of mahogany that was harvested from the bottom of Lake Huron after 100 years under water. Hand-scalloped braces, vintage reliced parts (AKA parts left outside to rust before putting them on the guitar) and “vintage tone” (which means going back to the sound guitars made BEFORE they were improved with modern methods).
The guitar people were a lot like the golf people, as they were sure my playing would improve, if once again, similar stacks of $100 bills were in their pockets instead of mine.
Although I have been playing guitar about 40 years, I’m sure 17-year-old Todd would laugh at 55-year-old Todd if I asked to jam with him. He would probably say something like “You are too fat and you have terrible hand-eye-coordination.” In other words, it is the archer not the arrow.
However, not long ago, my wife was out of town and I thought this would be the perfect time to make a major purchase (which oddly enough, is the same time I would normally also make golf club or guitar purchases). So with this particular stack of $100 bills, it was time to buy a new grill.
I am a hobbyist pitmaster, so like everything else in my life, I thought that by burning sticks for many hours while drinking PBR and listening to Blind Willie McTell, my deep south barbeque would magically appear 14 hours later.
At first I thought that a 10-foot cinder block pit might do the trick, complete with firebrick and a rebar reinforced grilling surface. It would certainly be large enough for two whole hogs, and if I were to actually be dumb enough to bring home two whole hogs, it would be big enough also to serve as a nice studio apartment for me.
So I continued to search for Excalibur, finding grills that would talk to my cell phone, grills made of ceramic, grills with griddles, and griddles with grills, before I finally settled on a five-burner, infrared with an attached griddle, side burner and prep station.
It was like owning the Venus De Milo, except it would be the upgraded model, with arms and a fuel tank indicator.
So I bought it.
And a funny thing happened, the first set of chicken thighs I made were perfect, followed by turkey tenders that would make you want to slap your momma. I did steaks at 550 degrees and chicken breasts that stayed moist and delicious. Everything I have done on it has been a home run, and everyone knows when you are on a streak, don’t change anything. I believe it has to do with the infrared cooking system and that the fire never actually touches the meat.
Once again I am a hero in my home (except I’m also minus a stack of bills) but more importantly, I have learned an important lesson — it IS the arrow and not the archer.
The guys in the pro shop and guitar shop will be glad to hear that.
Todd Lancaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.