All this snow and chilly temperatures are getting to me. I wish I could hibernate for a couple of months then wake up and it would be spring. Since my boss and bill collectors would miss me terribly, there' no chance of that happening.
So I try to think warm thoughts, and what helps most is picking up a golf club and swinging it. I swing in my house; I swing outside and I swing in my office.
No matter where, swinging a club is my way of relaxing. Often, I swing the club when I'm thinking about work or writing this column. I recently stood in my office, talking with my assistant with a club in hand.
I've done this a million times. We talk about work issues and I swing. I actually have come up with some good ideas this way. It was just in the midst of a conversation that I took a mighty swing and the club flew out of my hand.
In all the years that I've swung a club either on the golf course or anywhere else, this had never happened. Like a greasy stick of pepperoni, the club sailed out of my hand right into a large plate glass storefront window. Badabing, Crash, Crackle.
My assistant gasped and threw up her hands. I held my breath as I cringed at the hole about the size of a softball that the club had punched in the glass. It was as if time had frozen in that startling moment. I work in a two-person office so there were no other colleagues to congregate and comment on the accident.
In addition, several cracks webbed the window, but thank goodness it didn't shatter into a million shards of glass and rain down on my assistant's head. The club clanged to the floor with both of us staring at it. Now what Batman?
Embarrassed, I considered pitching myself at the window and just completing the job. I delicately picked up the club as if it had a mind of its own.
Of course, cold air rushed in through the newly punched hole, making it unbearable for my assistant to work at her computer until something was done. I didn't need to swing the golf club again to come up with the idea to call a glass company -- immediately.
In about an hour, the glass guy wearing a blue work shirt identifying him as Ray showed up. I had never been so happy to see someone. Even though I never met Ray before, I wanted to hug him. This guy, this wonderfully trained glass specialist, was going to put my world back together again. I love you, man.
"A little accident, I see," Ray said.
We nodded at his obvious assessment of the problem (told you this guy was a trained professional).
"How did it happen?" he asked. It was embarrassing enough that I had accidentally flung a golf club into the window. Did I want to relive it? I opted for anonymity and described it as your run-of-the-mill office accident.
"Can you fix it -- quickly?" I said to throw him off the scent. Ray shook his head a few times, assessing the window. He whipped a tape measure from a small holster that looked as if he might be carrying a small weapon.
He measured vertically and jotted some numbers on a piece of paper. Then he measured horizontally and jotted more numbers. Then he remeasured all over again and stepped back.
"I don't have this size glass in stock," he announced. Of course not. The glass will probably have to be imported from Bangkok. He added that the glass had to be tempered because it stood next to a door, subjecting it to vibrations every time it swung open and shut.
Then, you guessed it; he would have to special order the glass. It would take about (at this point, he scratched his chin) three to four days. Since a snow storm was predicted for the next day, it would probably take longer.
I urged him to get it installed as quickly as possible. He wrote up an estimate for the job and handed it to me. I could have flown to Hilton Head, SC and played a round of golf for what he was charging, but what choice did I have?
He was about to leave when I stopped him. Could he temporarily patch the hole somehow, I asked? More scratching of the chin. All I had in the place was a box of band aids, which weren't going to do the trick, even though they were the extra sticky kind.
Since I broke the window, I was willing to whip off my sweater and scotch tape it to the window. I was desperate. He had an idea, get some cardboard and duct tape and just slap it over the hole. This was getting more complicated.
I told him we had nothing stronger than scotch tape and band aids and reams of computer paper. He laughed with a hint of derision, I thought, that I wasn't fully equipped with window patching material.
He had some cardboard and duct tape in his van and went to retrieve it. In a few moments, he returned and was cutting and taping. Voila. In no time, the window was temporarily patched. However, with a three-foot square of cardboard plugging the hole, it looked like a bombed out storefront, following a riot.
With a wave, he said he would return in a few days to install the glass. "Stay warm," he joked. I stifled an urge to swing the club at him. After he left, my assistant reminded me that I had to call the insurance company to report this.
The cost was too much to absorb myself. She was right; so I dialed the insurance company to file a claim. When I reached a claim adjuster, he asked how the accident happened.
Several explanations gushed into my mind -- burglary, terrorist attack or hurricane strength winds. "You're run-of-the-mill office accident," I mumbled.
"I must have a specific explanation," the adjuster said with a hint of annoyance. "It was an accident that involved a golf club," I said, shutting my eyes. "You said golf club?" the adjuster said. "Yep, golf, it's a long story," I said. "You were playing indoor golf? Did you slice the shot?" Everyone is a comedian. No, it looked more like a hook to me, but I wasn't going into that. I was just trying to think warm thoughts.
Frank Szivos is a free-lance writer who still swings his golf club indoors, facing away from windows. He can be reached at email@example.com.