Doug Taylor and Rabbi Morton Moskowitz

"So do you think I'll be hearing from the PGA any day soon?"
My golfing companion, the King of Rational Thought, smiled and waited patiently as I racked up three more strokes just getting to the green. It was easy to see why my score was approximately double his. My last shot sliced so bad that I might as well have been aiming for the 7th hole at Everett Municipal. Except we were playing Harbour Pointe.
"Hmm," I said after sinking a tricky one-foot putt. "Eight strokes on a par three hole. Maybe I need to get more ambitious about this game."
"I'm not sure that your natural aptitudes are most efficiently optimized by this game," said the King of Rational Thought tactfully. "Besides, ambition is bondage."
"Ambition is what?" I asked, gathering my clubs.
"Ambition is bondage," he replied.
My curiosity antenna shot up. "What do you mean?"
"Well, first of all, let's define our terms," he said as we made our way across the freshly mowed grass. "What is ambition?"
"It's motivation," I replied. "It's the umph that makes you perform or go after a goal."
"Be more precise," he said. "If you stop there, ambition is the same as motivation. What makes it different?"
I laid my bag down as we arrived at the next tee. "Well, it seems like ambition goes beyond motivation. It's almost like an extra ego push to get you to achieve something."
"Very good," he said, pushing a biodegradable tee into the well-worn turf. "Let me summarize it this way. Ambition is when you go beyond what is practical."
He effortlessly directed his first shot straight down the fairway.
"How does that tie in with bondage? I asked, pulling out my favorite and only wood.
"Bondage is like slavery," he answered. "And when you are driven to do more than is practical and reasonable, the ambition is controlling you, not the other way around."
I teed off, caught the ball on the edge of the club, and sent it flying 40 feet onto the adjacent fairway. At this rate, my only hope of getting a ball to the 18th green before the weekend appeared to be Federal Express.
"Consider this," he said, as we gathered our bags. "Do you like scrambled eggs?"
Scrambled eggs?
"Uh, yeah," I said, wondering if he had shifted topics to lunch.
"And would you agree that it's normal for someone to like scrambled eggs and to even have some left over in the refrigerator?"
"What would you say about someone who has an entire basement filled with scrambled eggs?"
I looked at him. "I'd say they were nuts."
"And you'd be right," he said. "Having a modest supply of some commodity you need may be prudent. To continue to store up something beyond the quantity needed for the remainder of your life is, as you say, nuts. More precisely, we'd probably classify it as insane."
I stopped in the middle of the fairway as my brain scored a hole in one.
"Millionaires," I said quietly.
"Yes," he said. "Look at how many wealthy people, having clearly accumulated enough money to cover all their practical needs for the rest of their lives, continue to work to accumulate more. What's driving them? Not practicality. Some of those people, and maybe all of them, are unable to let go enough to relax and enjoy what they have. Ambition becomes their master."
He paused, then added, "I understand that one of the richest men in the world was once asked how much money is enough. His reply was, 'just a little bit more'."
I pondered the implications of this as I drove my ball back onto our fairway. "I see your point," I said. "Sounds like I'd be a lot better off giving up ambition about golf and just enjoying the game. Besides, it makes economic sense."
"How's that?" he asked.
"Well, we both paid the same green fee, right?"
"So with my score, I'm getting to play twice as much as you."