Do You Need a Willing Listener?

An absurdist golf romp with legendary sports writer Grantland Rice.
No. 26 Do You Need a Willing Listener

The Annual Report of the Willing Ears Co. Ltd. is in full adjustment with prosperity in other lines.

You may recall the fact that the Willing Ears Co. Ltd. was formed at Belleair, Fla., several years ago by Sewell Ford and George Ade to provide Willing Listeners to golfers at normal fees or rates.

The company was formed not only to accommodate golfers in their unfettered desires to describe every shot made on any round, but also to alleviate some of the anguish and suffering that was wrecking the home, the club, the office, and any other spot where a victim might be impaled by a golf nut.

Wives were beginning to break down under the strain and the help was leaving in flocks and droves.

Under the new arrangement a golfer completing a round, with a tale of terrible suffering or magnificent triumph to relate, could send for a Willing Listener and hire him by the hour. It is said that over a million wives broke into three rousing cheers when the company was formed.

In their report to the stockholders, Messrs. Ford and Ade, the leading directors, announce the largest amount of unfilled orders in the company’s history.

It was something like 440,000 tons, ingots or spigots.

It has been discovered that there are now at least ten golfers to every willing listener available and this has forced an increase from the old rate of $2 an hour to $10 an hour.

It was thought at first this increase might force many golfers to skip certain unimportant details in describing their rounds, but nothing of the sort took place.

Each golfer still insisted on describing every tough break, every worm cast that wrecked a putt, every unplayable lie in heel print, every lucky putt his opponent holed and every brilliant putt he tapped in from four to forty feet away.

They are willing to pay almost any price for a pair of willing ears not hitched to another golfer waiting impatiently to spin his own story.

There was a heavy casualty list among the Willing Listeners, many of whom are reported to have jumped off tall buildings about the time some golfer got to a description of a bunker trouble at the 13th or 14th holes.

But these ranks were easily filled at the increased rate of $10 an hour. There is a growing demand on the part of golfers for bigger and better ears, but this will cause another rate increase by the hour.

While new gushers among the golfers are being struck every day, the Company may have to grow a supply of Willing Listeners in the Philippines or South America, where large tracts have been secured.

Featured image: Perhaps golf’s most relatable postcard. From George Shepheard, circa the 1920s