John McPhee Blazing New Frontiers in the Field of Boring Story Premises

Today in "The New Yorker Will Publish Anything John McPhee Writes, No Matter How Tedious," please allow us to present, per The New Yorker's own press release: "John McPhee writes about 'The Orange Trapper,' a device he uses to compulsively retrieve stray golf balls." Interesting.

In the Connecticut River above Northampton, Massachusetts, I’ve seen golf balls by the constellation—too deep to reach and too far from any upstream golf course for their presence to make sense unless people hit them off their lawns. Compulsions are easy to come by and hard to explain. Mine include watching for golf balls, which I do with acute attention, the fact notwithstanding that I quit golf cold when I was twenty-four. These days, my principal form of exercise is on a bicycle, which I ride a good bit upward of two thousand miles a year. I go past golf courses. How could I not? I live in New Jersey, which has a golf-course density of five per hundred square miles, or twice the G.C.D. of Florida, which has more golf courses than any other state. Moreover, the vast undeveloped forests of the southern part of New Jersey tend to shove the densities toward and beyond Princeton, in whose environs I ride my bike. The woods that lie between public roads and private fairways remind me of the dry terrain between a river levee and the river itself. In Louisiana along the Mississippi this isolated and often wooded space is known as the river batture. If you’re in Louisiana, you pronounce it “batcher.”

Oh... cool. Grandpa, I think I, uh, hear someone calling me, I better run. Great to see you though.

[The New Yorker. Photo: AP]