By Ned Cantwell
There are any number of obscure words and phrases associated with the game of golf, a pastime that involves otherwise intelligent people forking over 50 or 60 bucks to a guy who lets them walk on his grass while swinging a stick, an activity you can do pretty much for free at the local park.
A golfer may “blade” a ball, or hit it onto the “dance floor,” or exhort it to “break, you sucker!” Another favorite is to “duff” it, meaning the ball squirts off to the left 30 yards or so.
It has been only recently that language historians have discovered the origins of the golf term, “duff.” Turns out this word, meaning “misplaced shot,” was named after one Colin Duff, a New Mexico Game and Fish officer.
Duff totally duffed it when he went into the office of an Alamogordo veterinarian, arrested and cuffed him. Why? This dangerous man, Dr. G. L. “Les” Wiley, had refused to divulge the name of an employee who brought in a fawn for treatment.
One of Doc Les’ workers found the weak, distressed deer in the middle of a gravel road near High Rolls and brought her in for treatment. State law says you cannot take or possess live wild animals and Officer Duff was having none of it.
When Dr. Les refused to give the worker’s name, Duff cuffed him.
The scary part of this story is they let the vet out of jail almost immediately. Apparently, they don’t see Wiley as a threat to society. I’m not buying that. There is no doubt in my mind this guy will soon be committing other nefarious deeds, like, maybe, treating sick raccoons.
Doc Wiley’s fate is up to the courts where a judge, if he doesn’t duff it, will dismiss the entire ridiculous affair. That seems to be the opinion of Scott Key, 12th Judicial District Attorney. Key said the arrest never should have happened.
“All of our regulations and laws are subject to common-sense analysis, and perhaps we didn’t use common sense — ‘we’ meaning the Game and Fish Department,” Key said.
Scott could have given the same advice some weeks back to the state cops who also duffed it big time when they arrested a young Roswell lady who also was trying to do a good deed and who also was busted.
Nicole Francis encountered a police roadblock near Carlsbad where they ticketed her for driving a car without proper insurance. Trouble is, it wasn’t Nicole’s car. She was the designated driver trying to get safely home her intoxicated friend, who owned the car.
Nicole faces a $375 fine, one that it can be assumed some judge, if he or she does not completely duff it, will dismiss.
We hate to think what could happen to some poor slob who is driving his inebriated friend’s uninsured pickup and stops to rescue a sick squirrel. Throw away the keys.
Law enforcement types are generally good folks doing a job most of us wouldn’t touch. But that doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally whiff.
Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. He calls a golf shot that squirts off to the left 30 yards or so a “good drive.” Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org