My Spiritual Caddy

“The hands are far wiser than the head,” he says, smirking into the amber dusklight.  He removes his dustbowl flapcap and wipes his southern brow, nodding to a non-evident counterpoint.  “Bagger Vance ‘s the name.  You’ve lost your swing.  We’re going to go and find it.”

Robert Redford’s epic Legend of Bagger Vance, starring Matt Damon as a troubled former golf prodigy, Charlize Theron as the irrepressible Georgia genteel flame from Damon’s past, and Will Smith, as a black man, is predominately a story about golf.  Even more than that, however, it is a story about humanity, about the soul and all of its fringe benefits.  Can we recover what was lost?  Are we what we were if not what we have forgotten?  Is it possible to swing properly without a proper grip?  Is golf not but a metaphor for the soul, grip but a metaphor for present life, sunset but a metaphor for the dawn, love but a preface for the future?  Isn’t Will Smith such a likeable guy?

The parallels between Bagger Vance and Siddhartha, or “Buddha”, to those unacquainted with the life of the lotus, are astounding.  Throughout the film (and far beyond, to this very day, as Redford would lead us to believe), Vance is constantly crooning to Matt Damon about how golf is a game not to be won, but to be played.  Furthermore, he says that we all have our one true swing inside of us, but we must let that swing find us; it is impossible to try and find it ourselves.  He reminds Matt Damon that we must stop thinking and just swing – I think this is a metaphor for life, to stop thinking and just “live” – and he leads Matt Damon back down the path to Charlize Theron, of whom I’m sure Buddha’d approve.  So you see, the parallels between the two figures, the cornerstones of both ancient and contemporary history, respectively, are astounding and undeniable.  Were one to have seen said film prior to departure for Asia, said departure would be surely unnecessary.  Any and all lessons I have, and will have, learned, and packed to the gills on The Modern Moby Dick that is The Legend of Bagger Vance.  Do whales have gills?  In any and all cases, this viewing experience was profound to the Vance Degree, and I recommend it to you all.  My problem: I think too nuch, I seek out things to make life challeging, and if something is going well, I look for ways to ruin it.  Bagger Says:  “Close your eyes.  Imagine the field, and just swing.”  Perfect!

~                                                                       ~

I haven’t eaten much of anything in two days.  Everything I eat, I poop immediately.  I had a corn on the cob, as I tend to – 10 baht for a deliciously sweet cob roasted over coals before your hungry eyes – and got home just in time to see it in my stool.  Yes!  I went to the hospital this morning, waiting to be admitted to room 23, next to the wing known as “Dengue Conner” (rife with men and women, contagiously immobile on gurneys, looking near death, which was probably an accurate perception, anyway).  Two-and-a-half hours in that place, where Beezlebub fills his prescription, where Dick Cheney has his appendix removed, where thankfully I met with a very kind doctor fluent in English (the first person in the entire place to speak more than a few words, in fact), who told me that my intestines were all knotted up and infected.  Yes, again!  So here I’ve sat since class yesterday – my third class I was pretty sure I would pass out in the middle of my lecture – and here I shall remain.  On the bright side, I do not have herpes, and on another bright side, I have plenty of time to do nothing, which is a change from the norm.  I’m not allowed to go out – doctor’s orders – so I might just sit back and enjoy my immobility.  I can hardly move, anyway, so I’ll try to be positive.

Thailand is still pretty weird.  No, it’s not that it appears weird to someone raised in a completely disparate culture, rather that what I know is normal, what they know is strange.  Oh, and whenever I meet a person that struggles through their English, I can only think of one word: cretin.  I’m tired, and I’m going to go to bed, now, so maybe I’ll have enough energy tomorrow to walk around my room beyond the bathroom.


~ by nearhelsinki on December 4, 2008.

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