Simos McFarrell Tees Off In Scotland

At long last it seems that events have conspired to bring me out of Oxford. At first I thought that this would not occur, short of kidnapping. However, I, like most of my compatriots, am compelled by two basic necessities of world travel: take lots of pictures and buy lots of souvenirs. This, I quickly learned, is the only way of proving to others that you actually saw anything that you saw.

It came up at about three a.m. that my flatmates and I should go to Wales and Scotland. Not knowing precisely what, if anything, went on in these countries, I solicited further information from my friends. They indicated, by means of Wikipedia articles, helpful flyers and interpretive dance, that there would be only one appropriate activity to partake in while in Scotland: golf.

I do not believe I have ever engaged in a meaningful round of golf. My only golf-related memories involve insisting, after four swings, that I had made a hole-in-one. This was at six years of age. This kind of creative and flexible mindset would, of course, contribute to an excellent career as White House Press Secretary but was unlikely to help me in a golfing career.

However, my flatmate is apparently some kind of golfing champion. He vouchsafed (there is a word you will not see even in English 102) that anyone could learn to play golf effectively even with a variety of only about four clubs. Since it is difficult for me to differentiate between a golf club, a baseball bat and a whack-a-mole mallet, I will have to take his word for it.

Unfortunately, my friend has not counted upon the formidable British rail system. Britain’s rail service ostensibly connects all the major cities of the island, yet there are so many types of tickets, with so many restrictions and conditions, that one would sometimes be better served walking. In addition to trains, there are the traditional British stand-bys of buses, ferries and horses with servants walking alongside, banging coconuts together.

Nonetheless, I decided, it will be a thrilling project to go to Wales and become intimately acquainted with British trains on the way. I have had some encounters with such trains before, including a thrilling visit to Birmingham New Station, an underground train station where the security measures prohibit throwing trash away. It was clarified to me that throwing trash on the ground was acceptable, as long as one does not use a trash bin. Clearly, the British have learned a great deal from our own Department of Homeland Security. Under the circumstances, I cannot really discuss Scotland and Wales, since I will shortly be on my way there. However, those of you who know me realize that having me participate in any sport that involves club wielding is probably a bad idea. I am constantly flummoxed by the fact that baseball batters drop their large, heavy stick before running toward base. If it were me, I would set the thing ablaze before leaving home plate.

Those of you who are particularly nostalgic for ‘Seinfeld’ may notice that this is, in fact, an article about nothing. However, I beg to differ. I felt it was necessary to send this article out right away: it proves that I actually, at some point, for a brief period, managed to escape Britain. For at least half an hour, I traveled to a country that was not immediately part of the ‘Anglosphere.’ Granted, this does not quite match up to the accomplishments of my predecessor, Mr. Knauss, who went to Rome and Paris. Nor does it match amazing feats of some of my present comrades, who have, according to their own accounts, journeyed as far as the moon. However, I am satisfied by my accomplishments. After all, I would not wish to journey so far that a McDonalds was not in easy reach.

By the time you read this I will have successfully played 12 rounds (12 rounds? Eight? 14? I’m not sure) of golf in both Wales and Scotland. I have determined that this is the only way of satisfying my friends and stupefying my enemies. It is not what you did but how odd and outlandish it sounds that truly counts. ‘I played golf in Wales!’ ranks right up there with ‘I fell asleep in Churchill’s chair in the Cabinet War Room!’ and ‘I made a speech against the necessity of ‘working’ in Speaker’s Corner!’ – two astounding undertakings I can also claim credit for.

Perhaps I will also bronze the golf balls involved and keep them in my room, presuming I do not lose them in a water trap or accidentally hit them into Ireland, where they will be lost forever. Until next time …

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