Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: Golfing with Campbell

EoA: Golfing with Campbell

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 203-205 (Chapter Thirty-Five)

We break from the family chat (minus Cal) to move to golfing with Pastor Campbell.

Despite his misgivings about being a captive audience to a sermon lasting eighteen holes, Joshua was looking forward to playing golf. The Hanover Course was an excellent one, and he’d had the chance to play it only twice over the years.

Now, even remembering that Josh isn’t just a golfer, he’s a serious enthusiast verging on Gary Stu proportions, this sentence still kind of humanizes him a bit, because many people do play golf and those that enjoy the game have their preferred courses. The place called St. Andrews in Scotland is sought out by some golfers who want to be able to have played at the place where golf is said to have originated, as an example.

Now, I’ve gone and trashed LaHaye, Parshall and the adult Jordans for giving Cal short shrift in this book, as well as making Josh a real showboating jackass at times, but this paragraph kind of has to make me eat my words a little. ๐Ÿ™‚

Standing on the high plateau at the first hole, Joshua took a few seconds to gaze over the forest tree tops, out to the cityscape at the end of the horizon. He had forgotten what an impressive view there was of the New York City skyline from the first tee. What if the RTS hadn’t worked perfectly…just think. Abby and I would both be gone. Cal and Deb too. Manhattan out there would be nuked. So many dead. Come on, Josh, it wasn’t really you who saved the city. No way. You’ve always known that…

[ italics in the original text ]

Whoa. *falls over* Meta-Josh just came out again!

I won’t even tweak Parshall for abusing ellipses again.

Now, after staring and admiring the momentary appearance of meta-Josh who puts his son on equal footing, mentally, with his other family members, and realizes it was his team, working with the US military, who had saved New York, we return back to the usual Joshua Jordan, flanked by Paul Campbell and a couple of guys who don’t even rate last names: Bob and Carl. (Actually, I’m suddenly curious about whether Parshall might have been thinking about that Bob and Carl.)

Josh tees up and gets ready to roll, swinging that club in true Gary Stu fashion:

But when Joshua swung through, it was with the velocity of a pitching machine. There was that sound of the solid crack as his round, little white-coated Bridgestone B330 lifted up into the air and continued arching and then finally disappeared down onto the fairway past the two-hundred-yard marker. The laughing had stopped.

I’m just agog that Parshall described the freakin’ golf ball that Josh whacked with his golf club. There’s something marvellously weird about a book that goes to the extent of containing the details of a golf ball the main character strikes. Just out of curiosity, I googled the damn thing, and apparently Parshall picked, like, THE most perfect golf ball or something (the way you make a golf ball can influence how well it flies through the air, resists deformation, that kind of thing. Check out the physics of golf balls if you’re curious).

Incidentally, the book says the ball sailed out past 200 yards, which sounds like Josh used his #3 Wood (his #1 probably would just get to 300 yards, since he’s Mr. Great Golfer).

The pastor, of course, can’t possibly exceed Josh, oh no:

Joshua noticed that Paul Campbell had a strong athletic build and an easy swing. He didn’t tee off with the power that Joshua had. But he was controlled. He put his ball about sixty feet behind Joshua’s.

Well, talk about your backhanded complisults.

Of course, Josh being Josh, he’s on the green in two strokes. Woohoo. *twirls finger* And Campbell’s right up behind him in three strokes. Unfortunately for Josh, he surprisingly misses the hole on the first putt, but Campbell gets it in, so they tie at a par 4 because Josh has to take a second putt.

(Aside: you can tell I used to do this golf thing for a while when I was younger. I got bored of it, though, as 14 year olds are wont to do when the game seems to be mostly populated by much older men and women who’ve been doing this sort of thing for a long time.)

The other two guys with totally forgettable names barely get a mention as the book says by the seventh hole, Josh’s ahead of Campbell by two strokes and those other whatstheirnames are “lagging behind”.

However, Campbell hasn’t taken a moment to sermonize – yet. But at the tee-off, that’s when it begins, after Josh dunks his ball in the golf ball washer. (and please, the joke about washing his balls is transparently obvious. ๐Ÿ˜› )

Campbell went on to say, “Golf always reminds me of something.”

“What’s that?”

“It reminds me of life. Similar in some ways. But also dissimilar.”

That’s just the bait on the hook, but Josh decides to bite anyway:

“Let me guess,” Joshua said with a slight air of amusement. “Golf is like life because it’s full of unexpected hazards. Water hazard over here. Sand trap over there. Deep woods that will put your ball down onto a tree root. Am I close?”

“Right on target,” Campbell said with a chuckle. “You’ve landed on the green…”

“So, how is golf dissimilar then?”

Campbell didn’t respond. Instead he looked Joshua Jordan in the eye with a look that had nothing to do with swinging a club.

The pastor finally said, “I think I’m going to let you figure that one out on your own.” Then he added, pointing to the tee, “Okay, leader, swing away…”

Parshall, for the love of– *exasperated groan* NO MORE ELLIPSES!

In golf, being able to land on the green (the putting area) on the first shot is considered very good. So Josh, according to Campbell, is on the right track.

Finally, note that “leader” thing. I didn’t mention it before, but Parshall made him the leader of the golf foursome. Naturally, since he’s Josh freakin’ Jordan. Only peons and duffers get shoved to the last slot.

In terms of literary analysis, I think LaHaye and Parshall (particularly LaHaye) must like golf, and are using this as a way to reach out to their intended audience, since typically older males with some money are the ones who can afford the so-called “green fees” to be members of golf clubs that are somewhat exclusive in their membership. It’s also been observed that for some reason the “Tea Party” has a fairly large cross-section of older people in its membership – again, the kind of politically conservative older people who’ve got some money they can afford to spend on things like golf, or travelling, or what-have-you.

Not a bad idea, I’d suggest; an author who wants to use his or her literature to relate aspects of political viewpoints that he or she believes the audience will share will try to create characters who look and act much like the audience does, or would like to do. To go back to Left Behind for a sec, Rayford Steele, the $100k aย  year airline pilot who can afford a nice house and car, is the primary point of view character in that series and is a fortysomething white male. All the trappings of success a Real True Christian would have.

Ditto Joshua Jordan. He’s the kind of successful (for certain values of success) fortysomething man with his trophy wife and two healthy kids that LaHaye puts forth as his template for what a Real True Christian (well, Josh hasn’t converted yet, but it’s probably not spoiling much to assume he will convert at some point) can gain as a reward for service to LaHaye’s idea of who (or what) God is.

Hell, if I was writing this kind of book and wanted to appeal to RTCs the last thing I’d do is put in a main character with hard leftist political ideals who swore every second word. There is such a thing as aiming for realism, since die-hard leftists rarely get the kind of jobs that let them make the kind of money Josh is making.

Even though I may be a pretty die-hard leftist m’self. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this chapter. Next chapter, we’ll meet back with Joooooohn GALLAGHER!

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13 thoughts on “EoA: Golfing with Campbell

  1. Campbell went on to say, โ€œGolf always reminds me of something.โ€

    โ€œWhatโ€™s that?โ€

    โ€œIt reminds me of life. Similar in some ways. But also dissimilar.โ€

    Well, hell, if that’s all it takes, what doesn’t remind the pastor of life?

    Football is like life. Similar in some ways, but also dissimilar.

    Pizza is like life. Similar in some ways, but also dissimilar.

    Raking leaves is like life. Similar in some ways, but also dissimilar.

    My dad plays golf with his friends every once in a while. And maybe he and his pals are outliers, but they don’t approach the game with one-tenth the stress and ultra-competitiveness that Josh and the pastor and Bob and Carl do. This ain’t the British Open–you’re trying to have some fun and improve your own game, not freaking out because you’re “lagging behind.”

    In a way, I feel sorry for LaHaye/Jenkins heroes. It’s like Michael Murphy, who turned the simple task of eating dinner into a spice-tolerance contest, in which there was a winner and a loser. (He was the loser.) I know people choose to be this way (for the most part), but it must be so tiring to be constantly competing with the world with every minor action you take in your life. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

    p.s. “Campbell didnโ€™t respond. Instead he looked Joshua Jordan in the eye with a look that had nothing to do with swinging a club.” That is just all kinds of dirty. ๐Ÿ˜€

    p.p.s. Soon/Left Behind Rapture timeline post is up! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • p.s. โ€œCampbell didnโ€™t respond. Instead he looked Joshua Jordan in the eye with a look that had nothing to do with swinging a club.โ€ That is just all kinds of dirty. ๐Ÿ˜€

      X-D HOW DID I NOT NOTICE THIS.

      ROFL! ๐Ÿ˜€

      If it turns out Cal really is gay or bi, then does this mean Josh came down so hard on him because he was worried about his own sexuality? ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Since golfers tend to be relatively rich, self-important and old, they’re particularly fertile ground for scammers. (See Carl Hiaasen’s The Downhill Lie.) I would be willing to bet serious money that this World’s Best Golf Ball wouldn’t do any better than a medium-quality one in a genuinely blind test.

    Which makes it particularly amusing, to me, that Jenkins chooses to use it as his bit of technothrilleresque gratuitous detail Contrast the “carbine-format Steiner-Optic laser with Fabrique Nationale sights” from Count Zero, or practically any detailfest from Tom Clancy.

    (Mind you, I have a jaundiced view of golf because as a pyrotechnician I’ve met the people who choose to play it. I don’t care how they treat each other; I’ve seen how they treat the help.)

      • Yes, fair enough; they probably don’t hang around the sort of golf club that pulls in enough money to hire me + crew for a show for four-digit numbers of pounds…

  3. I always look forward to new reports on this dreadful novel. I should finish reading it; easier than Left Behind at least.

    I only noticed while reading this entry that “Joshua Jordan” sounds like it came straight out of a DC Comics or Marvel Comics superhero story.

  4. Doesn’t he mean leader as in the guy who’s leading by 2 strokes? I have no idea if that would be a golf term. But I’m sure Josh got a hard one from being called that all the same.

    Leaving the way it’s dissimilar open sounds like an invitation for us to fill it in.

    “When we encounter a setback due to a golf hazard, we don’t cite it as evidence of Christian persecution?”

    “Most of the people doing it are poor.”

    Eh, I’m feeling a bit creatively dry here. Anyone got better ones?

    • From the book:

      “Okay, you’re the leader of the foursome.”

      Paul Campbell was taking a few swings with his driver as he approached. He was flanked by the other two golfers, Bob and Carl, businessmen from his church board.

      And then as noted in my review, Josh is the first to tee-up, which is what the leader of the foursome means. And yes, I totally can believe his ego was stroked handily.

  5. Golf born in Scotland? Poppycock! Everyone knows that it comes from Middle-Earth, dating back to when the great Bullroarer Took knocked the goblin king Golfimbul’s head into a rabbit hole.

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