When Your Pants Are Too Tight in the Seat: Life Lessons Courtesy of “Caddyshack.”

By Davin Wilson

I am a life-long movie nut. A silver screen junkie. I can quote any scene from any movie almost word-for-word but have trouble remembering important pieces of information my girlfriend tells me. Trust when I say, the latter fact has gotten me into quite a few bits of well-deserved trouble and numerous eye rolls over the last two-and-a-half years.

However, there are few movies that mean as much to me as the 1980 classic “Caddyshack.” There are so many golden nuggets of wisdom in that movie it should be a requirement for any intro to philosophy or psychology collegiate class.

Please enjoy my mixtape of great quotes from this movie, three in number, that I sincerely hope will influence you like they have me – in a way that makes you want to examine your own wisdom and react accordingly or at the least, have a few laughs.

1.) Judge Smail: “It’s easy to grin when your ship comes in and you’ve got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.”

Anybody that has been on this planet long enough knows that life sucks most of the time. Not everybody’s special. Dreams don’t always come true and no, not everyone deserves a trophy. But it’s all good because it’s the failures and miserable things in life that make you a wiser, more appreciative person.

It’s like a wise philosopher once said, “He who always gets the gold won’t know what to do when his life hits the toilet bowl.” Okay, you got me, philosophy majors. It was me, not Plato, Kant or Nietzsche that said that, but it doesn’t make my words any less true.

If things were easy all the time, you wouldn’t get to drink that sweet glass of lemonade from the lemons life has thrown at you. And if the lemons are ever too sour to make a batch, then at least you’ve gained a valuable life lesson.

I have made more mistakes in my life than I care to think about and many of those of missteps have led me to where I am now – 34-years-old, broke and still living with my parents. A perpetual man-child, mama’s boy still looking for my dare to be great moment.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve listened to my high school friends talk about how great their lives are and how successful they are all while dreading the moment they ask me what I’m up to and I have to say, “Oh, you know. Broke. Still living my parents and absolutely no prospects.” Deep down inside, though, I know I’m more prepared for the curve and knuckle balls life throws at you.

It’s easy to sit back and smile when life is going your way, but the wiser man is the one who can find the beauty in things when a crap storm blows into your house and clogs up your toilet.

2.) Carl Spackler: “So we finish the 18th hole and he’s gonna’ stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

 I have been a server longer than I care to remember. Four presidential elections have come and gone since I first entered the wait staff profession. When I first started waiting tables, the money was excellent. I could go into work one weekend and make nearly $500 while only working five to seven hours a night.

However, that soon changed when the 2007 recession nearly crippled America. The money stopped coming in and before I knew it, I was lucky to make $100 over the course of a whole weekend while working 10 to 12 hours a night. One thing that didn’t change, however, was people’s attitudes. In fact, they got worse. I soon found myself dealing with customers I wanted to throw into a wood chipper – think the infamous scene from “Fargo.”

The fear of losing my job and going to prison prevented me from committing such crimes. After all, I’m 160 pounds soaking wet and not particularly tough. Making my situation worse was the fact the same people running me to death and treating me like dirt, were the same ones stiffing me on tips.

However, the patience needed to restrain from committing such violent acts taught me the importance of killing people with kindness.

Featured below is a semi-fictional conversation with a customer:

Rude customer: This drink is weak. It doesn’t have any alcohol in it.

Me: I’m sorry, sir. I’ll have the bartender make you another Bahama Mama.

Rude customer: I don’t want another one! I want this one taken off my bill!

Me: Well, sir. You drank it already. I can’t give you another one.

[Rude customer throws a roll at me]

Me: You have a great arm, sir.

 My experiences waiting tables taught me how to treat people with respect even when they aren’t giving me any. Even though I fail in this aspect more than not, I always strive to show people the same love and respect I want to be treated with. Because of this, I have been on the receiving end of several acts of random kindness over the course of the last several months.

Additionally, it has given me a new appreciation for those currently stuck working in the wait staff profession. Because of this, I’m a vigilant over-tipper, which burns my face into the minds of any man or woman waiting on me. Therefore, I receive excellent customer service wherever I go and on several occasions, I’ve actually received free meals or drinks.

Lastly, my time spent as a waiter has taught me an appreciation for my current job. Even though I work twice the hours for less pay, I’m extremely grateful I no longer have to wait on people I wish would take a long walk off a short pier.

Like Spackler, I too have been stiffed out of well-earned gratuities. However, these experiences have provided me with a sunnier and wiser disposition and have given me enough patience to last a lifetime, further putting me on the path to total consciousness. So, no matter what, “I got that goin’ for me which is nice.”

3.) Al Czervik: [Breaks wind at dinner] “Whoa, did somebody step on a duck?”

This one is real brief and simple. It’s a perfect line to cover up the expelling of bodily gas at inopportune times, especially if you are in the middle of a job interview for a position as an AFLAC insurance rep.



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