(I was tasked with explaining Lanny’s absence. I thought an interview would be a fun way to do it. Fun is the key this week. Lanny’s website is dull and boring and negative. We are going to spice it up with lots of fun interactive features that involve you, the readers.)
Bruce: Before we get to the unpleasantness, let’s start with a more upbeat question. What makes you, as you tell it, the best golf writer in the world?
Lanny: Well, beyond guts and brains, it is probably because I think of myself as a composer. My articles are not standalone pieces. They are movements in a lengthy orchestral work. A lifelong orchestral work. I see myself myself as Golf’s Mozart.
Bruce: Mozart is considered a genius. Do you think of yourself as a genius?
Lanny: Well, that’s impossible for me to answer. Mozart only knew what it was like to be Mozart. Michelangelo only knew what it was like to be Michelangelo. Da Vinci only knew what it was like to be Da Vini. I only know what it is like to be Lanny H.
Bruce: Okay. Now comes the tough part of the interview. Would you like to describe the situation yourself?
Lanny: Sure. Many readers will remember two or three years ago, I made some bad sports investments —
Bruce: You mean bets.
Lanny: I made some bad sports investments. My website is art, so I was eligible for some government grants. I used some of that grant money —
Bruce: All of it.
Lanny: — to make sports investments that didn’t work out. As a result, I could not pay my employees. That’s when your boss bailed me out with a loan, which I long ago paid back in full, and with interest. And, for the record, I didn’t have to go to any kind of gambling rehab clinic or anything.
Bruce: So you learned your lesson. Right, Lanny?
Lanny: This year, I decided to hire more employees in order to make this website into a major player, to compete with the Golf Digests and ESPN’s. I approached your boss who agreed to put up the money. I hired several new employees who helped turn this website into the equal of anything on the Internet.
Bruce: But then you decided those employees didn’t need to be paid.
Lanny: Look. I told them I’d pay them after the Masters. I made several fantastic golf investments, the result being a minor cash flow problem that will end on Masters Sunday. If a certain unnamed golfer wins all four majors this year, they will not only get their promised pay, but also a rather tidy sum in the form of a Grand Slam bonus. Even if he wins only two, they’ll come out way ahead.
Bruce: So you say. What happens if he wins none? Anyway, from a legal standpoint, what you did amounts to embezzling. And then using that money to gamble. So tell everyone what is going to happen now.
Lanny: I’m going to a [makes air quotes] gambling addiction clinic. Your boss insisted on it as a condition of him paying my employees early.
Bruce: Not early. On time. Or perhaps paying them at all if you lose your bet, which will more than likely be the case.
Lanny: Look, I appreciate you and your boss helping out, but worse case, my guy wins only one major, and we all come out a little bit ahead. I don’t see the problem.
Bruce: You don’t see the problem. Very true. Which is why you’ll be spending the next week in a gambling addiction clinic.
Lanny: Okay. Fine. Are we through? Can I go?
Bruce: Almost. I just wanted to say that while you are gone, I have a few ideas of how to improve your website.
Lanny: (laughing) Whatever. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of deleting when I return.
Bruce: I wouldn’t do that, Lanny, not until you have paid off the loan.
Lanny: We’ll see.
Bruce: Oh, and the best news of all. We’re bringing back the 19th Hole Pillow Fight! And you will be participating.
Lanny: (again laughing) Not gonna happen.
Bruce: Did you miss the part about paying off the loan?