MY Golf Summit with Mr. Speaker

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On Saturday, President Obama did something that I did 33 years ago: He spent an afternoon on a golf course with John Boehner. On July 22, 1978, I put in 4-5 hours as a personal assistant / pack mule (caddy) for the current Speaker of the House when he was just a 20-something.

I know this because I am a counter.  I’m not a Rainman-instantly-count-a-dropped-box-of-toothpicks counter.  But I count things.

I know that I have been on 56 TV shows;  seen major league baseball games in 41 parks;  and have performed 3,074 stand-up comedy shows on 475 stages, in 296 cities in 42 states – including all of the places named in The Steve Miller Band’s “Rock ‘n Me” and Sade’s “Smooth Operator” songs.

In my various “character building” careers, I made $510.72 as a paper boy, $439.89 slinging frozen yogurt, and $641.60 as a caddy.  The other day I came across my caddy records and noticed that Mr. Boehner paid me $5 for the 18-hole round – which included a 50 cent tip.  In his defense, that tip was fairly common.  I blame the Carter Malaise.  That or my inability to find lost balls.  Adjusted for inflation, that $5 is like getting $18 today.

Even though John Boehner was just a plastics salesman at the time and years away from politics, I always remembered I had caddied for him.  Probably because I was just out of 8th grade and with a little imagination, his name could be pronounced “Boner”.  Who knows, maybe I let that slip and that is why I got the fin.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to continue preparing my treatise on the lawns I cut from 1979-1984.

Here is a page of the actual ledger from which that above image was taken:

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13 COMMENTS

  1. The Speaker of the House should have been Mike Gilligan or Peggy Stroud! They care for the common man!

  2. Glad there are others like me! I don’t count like you, but I count things like miles to and from somewhere, and this weekend at my nephews h.s. graduation, i knew there 298 graduates, and they were giving out diplomas at 6 diplomas per minute. . i calculated the time we’d get out of there.

  3. Chip, My oldest daughter Tess is a caddy and makes (on average) $40/18-hole. My interest is in what kind of manners the speaker had. The speaker’s tip seems cheap nonetheless.

  4. He was a great guy! Really nice. And, he never cried. Not even once. I know you are connected, Sara. If you can get this to him, maybe he’ll weigh in!

  5. Hey Chip. I’m like you. I have a list of every single comedy show I’ve done since the first open mic in June of 1986. That’s 25 years for the rest of you counters out there. Some day I’m going to list all of them on my website. Some day. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that lists these kinds of things.

  6. Not surprisingly, I’m right there with you, Tom! July 1st will mark the 30th anniversary of my audition for my first open mic. Yes, I had to audition in front of comics to get to be on the open mic night. Look for a facebook post of my HILARIOUS set list.

  7. Wow,I think that’s really cool!

    Personally, I’ve always chosen to blot the insidious hell holes and torture chambers I’ve worked out of my mind, preferring instead to look ahead to a future of playing Caesars Palace in Vegas with a deli tray and a gaggle of sexy showgirls clamoring for my affections in the dressing room.

    That never came on a regular basis, even thought I did get to perform at the real Caesars Palace a scant ONE time. No cold cuts. No hot chicks. Back to the real world after one fun night on the strip.

    So now it’s like I never existed. I gave my all for decades for anonymous gatherings of 50-100 strangers who wouldn’t be able to positively identify me now if I was the lead story on America’s Most Wanted.

    Kudos to Chip and Tom Ryan. I should’ve chronicled my journey so I can find the reason I ended up where I did. Like Bugs Bunny said “I think I should have made a right turn at Albuquerque.”

  8. Wow,I think that’s really cool!

    Personally, I’ve always chosen to blot the insidious hell holes and torture chambers I’ve worked out of my mind, preferring instead to look ahead to a future of playing Caesars Palace in Vegas with a deli tray and a gaggle of sexy showgirls clamoring for my affections in the dressing room.

    That never came on a regular basis, even though I did get to perform at the real Caesars Palace a scant ONE time. No cold cuts. No hot chicks. Back to the real world after one fun night on the strip.

    So now it’s like I never existed. I gave my all for decades for anonymous gatherings of 50-100 strangers who wouldn’t be able to positively identify me now if I was the lead story on America’s Most Wanted.

    Kudos to Chip and Tom Ryan. I should’ve chronicled my journey so I can find the reason I ended up where I did. Like Bugs Bunny said “I think I should have made a right turn at Albuquerque.”

  9. Where did you caddy, Chip? I was at Coldstream fifth grade through college. The caddy pay rate sign from my first couple years is in my basement. Flat rate $4 for a C caddy, up to $7 for an A. Just starting out, six bucks was pretty standard, seven was big. While I didn’t write it down anywhere, I distinctly recall my first loop was a $6 round for Mr. Pete Kelly, whose son Pete Jr. wound up at St. X a few years behind me.

  10. I was a caddy at Hyde Park from 1978-1980. The 18 hole flat rate for beginning “B” caddies was $4.50 for one bag. After some experience, you became an “A” caddy and got $5 for a single bag. “AA” (two bags at a time) was still $5/bag, but that came to $10 for the round. And “Honor” caddies had a flat rate of $12 for two bags. Tip was usually a dollar a bag. The smartest man in the world was Mr. Drew Morgan. Regardless of how well you did or your caddy ranking, he gave you $10 for 18 holes. For paying what amounted to an extra dollar an hour over what most people paid, he was King. EVERYONE wanted to caddy for him.

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