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The Infamous "Tweety Bird Incident"


Randy Wilson

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Have you ever had a protected employee (PE) you couldn't get rid of?  I had several, beginning in '72 with Mickey, a lifeguard who drew a paycheck all winter, courtesy of our maintenance budget.  Mickey was such a great lifeguard that he earned 20 hours a week during the off-season, appearing only to collect his check.

 

Dad wanted Mickey to help with tree work during the winter, but the owners insisted Mickey was a PE because he taught Sunday School and also was excellent at car washing.  Eventually, Mickey was assigned tree work, although it consisted of his sitting in a heated truck cab giving himself a manicure and watching with deep concern on his face while I ran a saw.  Mickey declined all invitations to pull limbs, because the pool was due to open in three months.

 

The owners increased Mickey's PE status level after he claimed I chased him with a Homelite XL12 while cursing him in German.  It was a ridiculous accusation, as I only knew a few German obscenities.

 

Soon, I learned to extract PEs by using methods like "paranoia enhancement", where police officers would suddenly enter the shop and bellow, "Where's Cletus?" (I gave away a lot of golf to police officers.)

Failure To Report For Weekend Duty Will Result In The Tweety Bird

I picked up "The Tweety Bird" from the First Sergeant at SF "A" Company, Fort Bragg, where the offender was required to stand in front of the rest of the unit while shouting "I am a Tweety Bird", full volume, 25 times.  Within days, it was impossible to remember the offender's original name.

 

It was never my intention to employ this technique in golf, until I was forced to hire Toadie, a pouty, sulking 17 year old son of a loudmouth member.  I assigned him SBD (sling blade duty) along the creek and kept careful watch.  I knew if he was anything like me at age 17, the sling blade would mysteriously slip* from his grasp and vanish into the creek.  

*If you are the GCS at Woodland Hills in Jackson, Tennessee, this might explain the dozen or so sling blade artifacts on the bottom of the lake fronting the clubhouse.

 

Within an hour, Toadie's father "Warty", complained.  Soon our spineless stressed-out owner demanded Toadie be promoted and the little imbecile was awarded command of our precious new Hustler rough unit.  Just after lunch, Toadie penetrated a chain link fence with the Hustler deck  . . . and his torso.

 

Pinned beneath the fence, and very vocal--especially when I applied downward pressure--Toadie confessed to several beers at lunch, as well as inheriting a stupid gene from Warty.  I offered him a choice:  SBD all summer or The Tweety Bird.  Within minutes of completing The Tweety Bird and realizing his new moniker was, forever and ever amen, "Tweety Bird", he went AWOL.

 

Two years later, while entangled in a municipality where HR rules prevented employee termination unless said employee was attempting to outdo Charles Manson, I entered into a battle with the crew's tendency to ignore weekend duty.

 

This typically meant I had to change cups and wilt watch all summer, so I wrote, "Failing To Report For Weekend Duty Will Result In The Tweety Bird" on the chalkboard and waited for Saturday.  (I knew it would require at least one demonstration to have any sort of effect upon the crew.) 

 

As expected, the cup-changer was not there at roll-out time and I was reluctantly mounting the Cushman when I noticed a figure staggering across the practice range in the blue light of dawn.  As it was moaning and hobbling and waving its arms, I deduced it was either a zombie or a golf pro, so I fetched myself an appropriate weapon, a long-handled, round-tip shovel.

 

It turned out to be Rodney, our heavy equipment operator/cup changer and he was severely incapacitated. His wife had poisoned him--repeatedly--with some form of canned alcohol and he had negotiated, on foot, the two miles to work, out of fear of The Tweety Bird.  I know this because his moaning was actually him pleading, in slurred speech, "Boss, please don't Tweety Bird me!"

 

Rodney had avoided a DUI, although risking a WUI or just a general ass-whuppin' by daring to walk in that part of town, and I had to respect his determination and dedication, even when he passed out on a stack of seed bags.  Later, when I woke him up for wilt-watch, I asked Rodney if he knew what The Tweety Bird was or had he been afraid of what it might be?

 

I learned two things that Saturday:  First, the asst. supt., a Nam combat vet, (101st Airborne) had carefully and with great descriptive skills, explained to the crew the lasting effects of The Tweety Bird.  More importantly, I learned that I need merely mention Tweety, and I would never again change cups or wilt watch.

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