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. 🙂
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. 😛 )
Campbell went on to say, “Golf always reminds me of something.”
“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 a 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. 😉
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this chapter. Next chapter, we’ll meet back with Joooooohn GALLAGHER!