Considering the News…
Supernatural athletic ability may launch one to the pinnacle of the sports world, however, it evidently can help one mature with no more haste than the virgin junior-varsity bench warmers of the world.
That a 23-year-old male engaged in a fuzzy little bong session at a frat party will alarm few. In fact, a 23-year-old male enjoying an occasional toke seems right in line with American tradition, post 1955.
Law students, nurses, veterinarians, trash collectors, political aides – choice of profession has no chemical effect on the innate connection between 20-somethings and the ganja. The synergy between the two is quite remarkable.
And yet once 14 or 15 Olympic gold medals enter the fog, stunned faces steal the majority like somebody just crapped on the president’s shoe. Bemused people all wondering how God’s holy world could ever allow for a sports icon to become the front runner for High Times Man of the Year.
Michael Phelps is without question a legend in the athletic sense, but his frequently impaired and hypocritical judgment reminds us he is no more a role model than a blazed, barely conscious, wannabe Rastafarian in Central Park.
His destiny has become quite predictable: Win a Volkswagen van full of gold medals and make an ass of himself for an encore.
Thus, American media is premature in proclaiming him a role model, for what parent wants his life for their children?
Who says, ‘I want my son to win 6 gold medals, follow it up with a DUI, mend his image by joining a World Anti-Doping Agency program, win another 8 gold medals, get a million dollars from Speedo, have everyone calling, then give my wife a bloody heart attack by getting photographed pulling bong tubes and feeling up a stripper – all in a few-year span.”
No one. That’s too damn much for even the sturdiest minds.
Thus, Michael Phelps may be a role model after all, and as important a role model as there ever was. I suspect now I will one day have the ‘Michael Phelps’ talk with my children, emphasizing that while gold medals and endorsements can do a great deal for one’s public image and self esteem, voyeuristic photographers will stop at nothing to leave their wonder world in a ruins of g-strings and bong water.
“So what will it be, son?” I shall ask. “Do you wish for a private life where you are free to smoke marijuana and grope strippers in your spare time, or do you want to be an Olympic champion getting paid millions to pose in a Speedo, never able to freely smoke some marijuana, or perhaps grope a stripper or two, without the whole world going ape shit?”
His initial response will reflect what kind of person he intends to be. My only wish is he passes on the Speedo.