Liar Liar, Pants on Fire

I met him after I set his pant leg on fire. All caddies (in theory) assembled early in the a.m. on the first tee, awaiting assignment by the caddy master. We would engage in playful bantering while sitting upon the logs that engulfed the driving area till the paying patrons appeared. Practical jokes abounded. It was a teenage bonding session. We joked, complained, smoked, argued, agreed, told stories and one upped each other until the powers that be told us to shut up.

I found myself one day about a week into the season parked next to Steve during our daily morning ritual. He was expounding about something as only he can when I noticed that his left pant leg had several long threads dangling to the ground. I just couldn’t resist. I removed my lighter from its resting place and while Steve was orating, lit those wayward strands. The fire quickly ran up to the pant leg itself which also started to burn.

Now, understand, the entire group, except for Steve, watched this display as it unfolded. Presumable, he took their expressions of awe as reactions to his monologue. While making a humorous point, he suddenly leapt from the log swatting at imaginary hornets while seemingly dancing an Irish Jig. However, instead of quashing stingers he killed pant ash. The assemblage exploded into laughter. Steve’s face turned crimson in hue as he looked at me with a glare that I interpreted as follows:

“It’s that Young guy from Vermont. What do I do? Should I challenge him right now and save face? What if I lose? That’s not saving any face. Maybe I should go with the flow, laugh it off, and demonstrate what a good sport I am. But, will that forever imprint in their minds I’m a chicken shit? I gotta do something. They’re all watching me. It’s all of sudden very quiet. He’s not that big, but he sure is a cocky bastard. What a fucking weird kid.”
Meanwhile I was thinking:

‘Gee, he’s kinda tall. Must go over six feet. What if he slugs me? I can’t lose face in front of this group. Do you think I can take him Mr. Ego? Maybe I’ll dive for his legs and knock him off balance. What’ll I do? What’ll I do? Can I take him, Alter?”

There was no response from the Brothers Ego. None. They were as speechless and astonished as the rest of the caddies had become. Finally, I came up with a plan. Why not extend a hand? What’s the worst that can happen? He refuses and looks bad or he accepts and makes both of us look good. That strategy got the attention of the Ego Brothers who in unison said ‘Here! Here!”

I slowly raised my arm with my palm outstretched. Thankfully, Steve accepted it. From that point forward, we became and have remained very close friends.

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