From Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul The Second Round

You May Be a Winner

My friend Tony gave a golf trip to his son one Christmas. And Tony’s son gave a golf trip to his uncle. And the uncle gave a golf trip to Tony. As these gifts were revealed, one by one, over the course of Christmas morning, Tony’s mother-in-law’s astonishment grew. “I can’t believe you all gave each other a vacation to the same place! And on the same weekend!”

Not all non-golfers are as easy to fool as Tony’s mother-in-law was. A gambit like that would never work with my wife, for example, because she knows (and is appalled) that my brother and I long ago agreed to simplify our lives by never giving each other anything for any reason. Tony’s wife wasn’t fooled, either, but she said nothing, because the men of the family had (astutely) expressed their selfishness in a form that seemed to endorse a deeply cherished belief held by the women of the family: that major holidays are important occasions for loving, commitment and renewal, and so forth. The men got what they wanted by pretending to play the game by the women’s rules.

Anyway, Tony’s success at Christmas got me to thinking, and I’m pretty sure I’ve come up with an even better idea. My idea is so good, in fact, that I’m going to share it with you.

Here’s what I’ve done. I’ve started a company called the International Golf Sweepstakes Foundation, Inc., of which I am the sole employee. Let’s say that you and three buddies want to take a ten-day golf trip to Ireland, but you know that your wives would never in a million years let you go. You contact me by e-mail, and I send you an entry form for a contest in which the grand prize happens to be an all-expenses-paid ten-day golf trip to Ireland for four. You fill out the form and ask your wife to sign her name on the line marked “witness.”

“What’s this?” she asks.

“Oh, just some dumb animal-rights thing they made us contribute to at work.”

Your wife happily signs, you send the form back to me with a check for five hundred dollars (my fee), and you never again mention the contest to your wife. Three or four months later, a fat, official-looking FedEx package arrives at your house. You open it in the presence of your wife, appear puzzled for a moment, then begin hooting, “Remember that dumb contest? I actually won!” you shout.

Non-playing wives view all golf trips as wasteful extravagances, but they can’t help thinking of contest winnings as money in the bank. To fail to cash in a prize already won would be like throwing jewelry out in the trash, so of course you’ll get to go—especially if you promptly offer to give your wife some sort of compensating goodie, like a new kitchen. You’ll have to make all your travel arrangements yourself—and conceal your credit card charges as you do—because that’s not part of what my foundation does, at least for the time being. All I do is get you out the door. The rest is up to you.

David Owen

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