Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Replacing Your Divots

My friend, golf partner, and attorney (pretty much in that order), Jerry Gilmore, said something once that has stuck with me. He was adding sand to the divot he'd created with his shot and remarked, "I read once that you can tell a lot about a man by whether he fills in his divots when no one is looking."

For those who aren't golfers, a divot is the hole that remains after the shot of a good golfer. It's customary on the pro tour for caddies to replace the piece of turf knocked loose, while duffers like Jerry and me use sand to fill in the holes. But the idea has stuck with me, and I saw an example just the other day.

Recently I saw a grocery cart in the middle of the parking lot in our neighborhood shopping center--either someone had just left it there or it had rolled away from the nearby row of carts stowed by other shoppers after loading their cars. I sat there for a minute and watched car after car swerve around the obstacle and go on their way. Finally, I parked, put the cart where it belonged, and looked around. No one saw me do it. No one rushed up to congratulate me or give me a commendation. No one would have known had I not written this post. It was a case of replacing a divot that I hadn't made, even though no one was looking.

If you're thinking, "He's blowing his own horn," you miss the point. It wasn't what I'd done--it's what others had failed to do. How about you? Do you replace your divots? Maybe even fill in some that others have left? If you haven't, I suggest you try it. It feels pretty good.

I look forward to your comments on this, maybe some examples (good and bad). Let me know.

NOTE: My guest post is up at the LitFuse blog today. Hope you'll drop by and check it out.

(photo via freedigitalphotos.net)


Steve Hooley said...


Good point. What do we do when we know no one else is looking?

Some days I feel like I'm replacing divots all day (fixing problems for patients who have been irresponsible with their lifestyle.) And when I return a shopping cart from the parking lot, it's probably more because of my OCD than because I'm a good citizen.

In my WIP, I have a mentor tipping off the protagonist that the antagonist has a light on in his basement every night at midnight. I have the mentor saying, "A light in a basement window every night, when all other lights are out is a window into the soul."

So I guess, even if no one else notices, God does. And that does feel good.

Good luck with your editing.


Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Steve. I hear you about undoing damage done by patients by their lifestyles. I suspect there are similar situations in other professions. We just have to fill in the divot and move on.
Appreciate your comments.