On January 30, 2019

With great power

By Dom Cioffi

I know it’s a little early to be thinking about golf, but Tiger Woods was playing in his first tournament of 2019 this weekend and that got me watching.

Tiger had a so-so outing at the Farmers Insurance Open (tied for 20th; so-so for him). He looked to be in early season form, with moments of greatest coupled with rusty attempts. Nevertheless, he was playing golf and that’s all that matters, not only for fans like me, but also for the PGA who knows how important Tiger is for ratings.

It usually takes me about four or five weeks after Jan.1 before I start thinking about the upcoming season. That’s when the putter first comes out so I can practice my stroke with old golf balls on the living room rug.

This later progresses to short chips with my lob wedge as I hit foam balls into a small net across the room. This inevitably excites me enough to where I’ll head outside to do some full swings. That’s when the reality of the weather sends me back inside, knowing full well that the season is further away than I hoped.

On Saturday, after I watched the tournament for several hours, I decided to head to the sporting goods store to look at range finders. I have several friends who use these devices and they convinced me at the end of last season to get one.

Golf range finders are small handheld devices that allow golfers to accurately assess distances on the course. Golf courses are almost always marked with standard distances (100, 150, 200 yards), but to really figure out your exact distance, you will need a rangefinder.

I used to think rangefinders were useless for amateur golfers like myself, but after playing several rounds with a friend who had one, I changed my tune. On multiple occasions, my friend fed me a distance from his range finder that dramatically changed my club choice.

So, with the grand purpose of improving my game, I excitedly entered the sporting goods store and made my way to the golf section. I scanned the bevy of 2019 items being displayed for the new season, before making my way to a small display that featured several popular range finders.

I picked up a few different brands and held them to my eye, scanning the store and zeroing in on random objects to determine their distance from me. They all seemed competent in their range finding abilities, with the only differentiators being the various extras that seemed either unnecessary or gimmicky.

While I was accessing the range finders, I noticed a clerk standing behind the counter staring at his phone. Since no one else was around, I figured it was only a matter of time before he asked if I had any questions. That never happened.

As it was, I did have a few questions. Good range finders are not cheap so before I dropped a couple hundred bucks, I wanted to make sure I was buying the right model for my needs.

Since the clerk was ignoring me, I decided to approach him. “Excuse me,” I inquired. “I was curious about the differences between a few of these range finders.”

His reply to me was less than responsive. “Gimme a sec,” he said without lifting his head. And then he kept checking his phone.

I stood stunned for a moment then began looking at the range finders again. After a few more minutes, I inquired again. This time he begrudgingly stood up and walked over to me. He then proceeded to barely answer my questions and literally checked his phone again while we were talking.

At that point, I couldn’t help myself. “Seriously?” I said. “You’re really going to check your phone while I’m talking to you?”

The guy then shoved his phone in his pocket and in the nastiest tone said, “Fine, what else?”

I then calmly handed the range finder to him and walked away. But before leaving the store I walked up to a manager-ish looking gentleman and calmly said, “It’s too bad the guy up in the golf section is such an a**hole. I was just about to drop $200 in your store.”

I then went home and ordered it on Amazon. I guess the consumer really does have the power these days.

This week’s film, “Vice,” is also about power, but in this case it’s power at the highest levels of the government.

Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell, “Vice” follows the life story of Dick Cheney, the one-time No. 2 to George W. Bush and widely considered the most powerful vice president in U.S. history.

This film offers an interesting critique not only of the man and the influences that shaped him, but of the culture that existed in which Cheney attempted to shape the world.

Check this one out if you like political dramas. You may or may not agree with the individual featured, but you cannot deny the quality and artistry of the film that was made.

A stern “B” for “Vice.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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