Tiger Woods has been on my mind lately.
Not because he's back to work or whatever it was that went on in his personal life (I really don't know what happened - I stopped following the story when the news about his car 'accident' broke).
Anyway, when I heard he was back to playing golf, it reminded me of when my uncle Frank came to visit here in France about 10 years ago. We were vacationing in Brittany, on the north-western coast, and one sunny day the two of us went to the golf course up the road to hit a few balls.
At the other end of the driving range that day was a group of guys whacking away from under a little red sun tent. They were hitting with some brand new Taylor Made clubs and inviting other golfers over to try them out. (I realized later it was a publicity stunt.) They were probably the local pros because their balls sailed high and hung forever before hitting ground, about 250 yards away.
As I was preparing my swing I heard a loud crack from behind. One of the pros sent another ball into the stratosphere. I turned to uncle Frank and asked him, "Do you think if I tried one of those shiny new clubs I could hit the ball better, just like those guys?"
As quick as the words left my lips he responded by saying, "Tiger Woods could take that piece of crap club you have (his exact words) and hit the ball farther and with more precision than any of those guys over there."
Talk about a stunner. But he wasn't finished.
"It's not the equipment that counts," he said. "It's what you can do with it that matters."
You know, when you hear stuff like this, you think to yourself, "Yeah, "I've heard that before," or "that makes sense."
But there's a big difference between knowing about something, and actually experiencing it. Think of your favorite extreme sport. Or French kissing. Or sex.
I think I could use a new dose of uncle Frank right about now. He'd probably tell me I don't really need that new computer. And as for those two lenses I think I have to get so I can take great photos..."Fugget about it," he'd say. This story from Ken Rockwell's site has helped me get over the desire for new camera equipment...nearly.
So how do I get over thinking I need new, better, higher quality stuff? In all honesty, I'm not really sure.
Sometimes I think back on what I've done with not much more than healthy determination to get me there, like climbing my first 6A (equivalent to 5.10a in the U.S.) with inexpensive climbing shoes, or selling that article to glossy France magazine, the one I wrote on scrap paper from the kitchen table, or learning to speak French simply by living in the country (that fancy, newfangled computer method never worked).
So maybe there's a bit more Tiger in me than I give myself credit for. Except when it comes to golf.
I can live with that.
As the mouse in The Wizard of Wallaby Wallow would have said, "I'm happy being me."