I hadn’t seen my dad in a long time, in fact, not since he finally bought a computer and took up golf. We didn’t have much in common any more, him being retired and me living almost 1,000 miles away. Still, I stopped off to see him on the way to Reno to meet some friends. When we met, he showed me his brand new computer. One of his friends at the Senior Center had installed a golf screen saver on it. He liked to turn on the computer, wait 10 minutes, and watch the screen saver.
I told him he could see the golf hints without waiting 10 minutes, and showed him how to load the program itself, but he wasn’t interested. He liked the idea of a screen saver. In fact, he liked it so much that he incorporated it in his daily life. Whenever he had a moment or two free, he would imagine his screen saver taking over in his mind, and he would go over the steps necessary for a perfect golf drive - the grip, the release, the follow through. As his screen saver took over, he would go through the same motions dozens of times every day.
And you know what? His golf game improved immeasurably. But, this was all just marginally interesting, since I didn’t play golf.
I played craps, but when I finally got to the tables in Reno, neither I nor my friends did very well. But we had fun, and that’s what friends are for.
On the way back home, I wished that there was some way I could practice craps on my own from the casino.
And then it finally hit me. Dad’s golf screen saver.
It never occurred to me before, but playing golf is a lot like shooting craps. You have to have the correct grip, the correct release, and the correct follow through. I imagined it all in my mind. I picked up the dice and set them for hard ways all around, eight on top.
“New Shooter. Shooter Coming Out,” I imagined the dealer saying.
I was shooting for an eight. I gripped the dice lightly on the top edges, so they would have a slight backspin to them when they left my fingers. And they would land in the same spot each time, and produce the same results - an eight. Or, at least a hard way.
For the next few weeks whenever I had a spare minute or two, I would turn on my screen saver. I would imagine myself shooting a perfect controlled throw, and a coming up with a hard eight. I turned on my screen saver dozens of times every day, just like my Dad did.
Two months later I was in New Orleans on business and I stopped off at one of the casinos there to try out my new screen saver. I shot three hard ways, two eights, two sixes, one four and five other numbers before I finally sevened out. I played craps again later with similar results.
On my way home, I flew up to see Dad again to tell him what happened. He didn’t seem surprised. He’s been teaching me lessons like that for the past 50 years or so. And now, he’s teaching me golf and I’m teaching him craps. We’re having fun again. And that’s what friends are for.