the bistro off broadway

From County News Online
The Golf Balls of Life
By Bob Robinson

In 2005 I wrote as part of the introduction to my book, “God Don’t Make Junk, from Ramblings of an Old Man,” an adaptation to something that was floating around the Internet.

It was about golf balls and pebbles and sand and stuff. The message was powerful; the delivery… well… so, so. I love stealing great ideas that are presented in a boring manner and trying to liven them up a bit.

Which is exactly what I did. I published my version in my weekly column in February of 2003, then again on County News Online in April 2013. It went like this…
I am not a golfer. Personally, I can't think of a more useless recreational sport than golf.

It's great for junior high and high school where our kids learn attitudes such as perseverance, practice, competition… they get a lot of exercise, and they don't have to worry about broken bones and crushed knee-caps. I golfed when I was that age. That's a good thing.

But as adults? You can't even call it exercise… come on, be honest. How many of you actually do 18 holes without a golf cart and a six-pack?

Then there's the golf channel. I can remember one of Bill Cosby's routines when I was a kid. Everyone was quiet while he addressed the ball.

Hello, ball, he said.

He brings his arms back. The crowd stops breathing. Hush, hush. The suspense is killing us. Then whap! The camera pans… to what? A blue sky.


But then I discovered a use for golf balls. Rather, one of our readers did. I loved what he sent me, so I'm going to share it with you… after taking some creative license with it, of course.

A philosophy professor puts a large jar on his desk and fills it with golf balls.

"Is it full?" he asks his class. "Yes," the students answer.

Then he takes a bag of pebbles and pours the contents into the jar. He shakes it a little until all the pebbles settle into the spaces between the golf balls.

"Is it full?" he asks. "Yes," they answer. A couple snickers could be heard.

Then he takes a box of sand and empties it into the jar. The grains fill the remaining space.

"Is it full?" he asks. "Yes," they answer. Most are laughing now.

Finally, he cracks open two cans of beer and empties them into the jar. He waits until the laughter subsides.

"So, what happens if you pour the sand in first, then the pebbles, then the golf balls?"

His class agreed that there'd be little room for the golf balls, possibly even the pebbles.

Is there a point to all this? You bet.

It's a philosophy class, remember?

The golf balls are the important things in your life… God, your spouse, your country, your health, your children and grandchildren, your passions, your community… things that if everything else in your life was lost – and only these remained – your life would still be full.

The pebbles represent other things that matter. Your job, your house, your car. Watching football on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Even watching blue sky on the golf channel if you so choose. Loss of these things, while annoying, maybe even stressful, can be overcome. They can be replaced.

The sand?

That's the garbage. The small stuff. The "who cares" stuff. The type of stuff that gets passed around in rumors or can be found in the middle of bar fights. The nit-picking. The back-biting. It is pretty much everything that is left over once you catalog what's important, and add in the other things that matter.

Most of us get bombarded with sand, and it has a tendency to fill the jar, leaving little room for pebbles or golf balls. Our time. Our energy. All can be completely drained by the garbage if we let it.

So don't. Make sure the golf balls are "addressed" first. Always.

Heard this before? Good. It's time to remind yourself of what's important. A new concept? It's never too late to learn. I know it made me stop and think.

Especially about the golf balls. I finally found a use for them.

The golf balls of life.

By the way, remember the beer? Our wise professor of philosophy told the class:

"It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."

My kind of guy…

I don’t know how long that version had been floating around the Internet when I got it in 2003, but I’m guessing it’s been at least a decade.

“God Don’t Make Junk, From Ramblings of an Old Man,” is no longer available in print except at, and the few copies there can run $30 to $45. If I can dredge up a few more copies, I’ve promised one to someone but I’ll make the others available to any CNO Reader who is interested.

I can now offer a pdf or docx version of the book. It is available for a donation of $10, which will be used to help me make tutoring available to at-risk kids. Make your donation by check or money order to County News Online, P.O. Box 1113, Greenville, Ohio 45331. You will need to include your email address or send it to in order to receive the file. Be sure to specify pdf or docx.

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