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The Eye of the Liger

"Liger couple" by Hkandy - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-

The slow part of the golfing year has arrived, which means my attention sometimes wanders in directions other than the pursuit of my favorite sport. Recently, my attention took a hard turn at the intersection of Weirdness and Reality when I came across the “liger.”

I heard someone mention the liger in the context of the teen film Napoleon Dynamite. While I had heard of the movie, I knew nothing about it, and I certainly had never heard of the liger. The liger is, evidently, an animal that captured the fancy of the movie’s hero—a geeky young man who also was obsessed by space aliens, unicorns, and tater tots. (I am familiar with tater tots, and endorse them as a tasty, if not particularly healthy, way of consuming potatoes.)

My curiosity would not have been further engaged if the Napoleon Dynamite fan had not asserted that the liger is an actual animal. Surely not! I’d never heard of the liger, therefore it could not exist. (Never mind that I have heard of animals like the phoenix, sphinx, griffin, and a host of others that are, to the best of my knowledge, strictly mythical. They don’t count.) If an animal is outside the enclosure of my personal reality, it must be fictional.

But I’m an open-minded sort of person, so I decided to give the liger a chance in the court of Google Search. To my chagrined shock, I discovered that the liger is, indeed, a real thing! To wit: “Ligers are the world’s biggest cats, with the strength of a lion and speed of a tiger combined.” Ligers are the offspring of a lion father and a tiger mother, and should not be confused with the smaller tigon, which has a lion mom and a tiger dad. Who knew?

What, you might ask, does this have to do with golf? If I stretch a metaphor very, very far, my blindness to the reality of the liger may be compared to my occasional blindness to the reality of a golf shot. When agonizing over the correct club choice and shot shape, my eye may insist on visualizing a chance that is far from the reality of the situation. In choosing to see what I want to see instead of acknowledging reality, I refuse to utilize the Eye of the Liger.

All right, that comparison is pretty lame. But what would you expect from a guy who didn’t even know the liger is real?

Drop by the Cape and Islands Golf Shop in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and tell us if you’ve ever seen a liger (or a tigon, or unicorn, or Nessie, or tater tots)!




PHOTO CREDIT: “Liger couple” by Hkandy – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons