It's not golf; it's life science

Friday, June 25, 2004

I've been doing some important and highly scientific research.

And I've learned an awful lot about visitors to our fair River City of Roses by the Bridge who arrive by steamboats. I've listened to some of the passengers after they disembark in their shorts and comfy sandals all set to explore the wonders of Cape Girardeau.

Him: Where's the town?

Her: That way (pointing in a generally westerly direction).

Him: Why can't I see it?

Her: You have to walk past this big wall.

Him: How far?

Her: As far as we want to go.

Him: Let's go down this street.

Her: Look at that big building up on the hill.

Him: It looks interesting. Want to go look?

Her: That's a lot of steps.

Him: You're right. Ready for a drink?

(They head for the bar on the steamboat.)

I know what they were thinking. Where's the World Famous Downtown Golf Course (and All-You-Can-Eat Catfish Buffet)?

Obviously, it pains me to know that so many steamboat passengers are going away disappointed. But I want them (and you, dear readers) to know that building a golf course anywhere, much less downtown, is harder than you think.

One of the drawbacks is the time and effort it takes to apply for government grants. The government has seen fit to send money for murals on the floodwall and to build a house that looks something like the one Louis Lorimier lived in when Lewis and Clark stopped by before they were famous.

I'm sure any delays in mailing a check for the World Famous Downtown Golf Course is simply a bureaucratic slip-up.

In order to get a grant, I'm calling the golf course a Life Sciences Experiment and Research Project. That's all the rage now. I haven't found anyone yet who can tell me exactly what a life science is or what makes it so special. All I know is everyone in Missouri wants to be a part of the life sciences boom. I don't see why a golf course won't fit right in.

Among other things, the golf course, as I envision it, will be seeded with grass developed in the lab to stay lush and green year around. And never need watering. Or mowing. The only thing a good rain would do for the grass I have in mind is make a poorly hit golf ball slide farther down the fairway, a technological advancement that will be hailed as significant, to say the least.

And the golf carts will be fueled by common kitchen garbage. Instead of taking out the trash to be hauled away to a landfill, you will put it in a bin on your golf cart to be converted into a no-emissions fuel.

Golf balls will be made from any plastic collected at the city's recycling center.

Golf tees will actually be grown on the tee boxes of the World Famous Downtown Golf Course. Every time a golfer's shadow appears, a fully biodegradable mushroom tee will sprout just long enough to hit a fine shot down the fairway.

I could go on and on. But you see how important the golf course is to the future of life sciences in Missouri.

Yessir, I believe once the golf course is in place, those steamboaters will change their tune.

Her: Honey, the boat's ready to leave. We better hurry.

Him: To heck with the boat. I'm going to finish this fine catfish buffet and play another round of life sciences golf.

Don't you just love technology?

R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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