Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Eye of the Tiger

"We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the three-iron.”

-Jesper Parnevik, who introduced Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods.

I’m not a big golf fan…I really do prefer watching paint dry, because at least you can inhale the fumes…so I’ll admit that I was not following the Tiger Woods story with any great enthusiasm until the tabloids got hold of it. Perhaps my lack of interest is because I’m not a golfer. I’ve played golf twice in my life, which equals the number of times I’ve actually gotten the ball off the ground. One of the shots was beautiful, right down the fairway, the kind of thing you see on the PGA tour. The second one hit a tree. My brother is fond of reminding me that if I had only learned to play golf, I could have done something with my career. This may be true, but I’ll never know. I do know that the former Governor of Kansas and current Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius used to run a few miles every morning down by the Kansas River. As much as I have always liked and respected the Governor (and still do), if waking up at 5 AM to run when it’s a billion degrees below zero on the Kelvin scale means I might get a bigger cubicle, than I’m happy to stay at my level, thank you very much. (Okay, that’s a lie. For the Governor, I’d do it. But only because she’s given me at least thirty free pens at proclamation signings, a gift –giving bonus which prompted Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh to note that if you collect ten, you also get a toaster.)

It was never really a mystery what happened to Tiger. Folks who work in trauma put a lot of stake in describing the mechanism of injury. In essence, based on the visible evidence when paramedics arrive on scene, we can predict how and where injuries are most likely to occur. It’s our own little version of CSI. So when a Cadillac Escalade hits a fireplug just outside the driveway in a residential neighborhood, you already know that it can’t have been going too fast, and that damage to such a heavy vehicle is going to be minimal. You also know that when someone comes upon an accident, they usually run into the house to call 911 and not to grab a golf club in a heroic attempt at rescue. (There is actually an animation from a Chinese news broadcast that outlines the scenario at

So I will make this one additional comment, and then I will leave Tiger alone, because I honestly do believe that he and his family deserve some privacy to work these issues out of the public view, and to determine exactly how much cash Elin will get to not walk out of the house. That being said:

You’re married to a former Captain of the Swedish Bikini Team. By all reports, she is sweet, kind, respectful, and devoted to you. She has borne you two lovely children. She has a twin sister (Ha!). Forgetting the ethical aspect for just a moment, you have no logical reason whatsoever to cheat.

(It may be an apocryphal story, but I’ve always liked what the actor Samuel L. Jackson was reported to think about carnal temptation. “I just ask myself if twenty minutes with this woman is worth half of all my stuff,” he said. “The answer is always no.”)

But if you’re going to cheat, shouldn’t you at least be trying to move on up in the process? (I call the The Jefferson Principle.) You’re the best in the world at what you do. You have a kazillion dollars. You can have any girl you want. But…and let’s be honest here…Rachel Uchitel looks like a caulk gun went nuts in her lips, and Jaimee Grubbs just looks, well, wrong (what in medical term we call an FLK, or “funny looking kid”, where you know something’s not right but you just can’t put your finger on it.) But if these visions are what you really want, you have other options. You can close your eyes, turn off the lights, or learn to start kissing a bulldog. They’ll do just about anything for peanut butter.

I think you can apply this same criticism to other famous miscreants. Rudy Giuliani dumped a perfectly attractive and accomplished Donna Hanover for the somewhat less glamorous Judith Nathan (“Not so much to look at, but she’s such a wonderful personality and good with children” says her mother.) Peter Cook (Christy Brinkley’s last husband), cheating on the Empress of Fishnet with the babysitter? Come on. Governor Elliot Spitzer? Downgrade. Senator John Ensign? Governor Mark Sanford? Senator David Vitter? Ditto, ditto, and ditto. Governor James McGreevy? Well, perhaps my own tastes in partners…namely, women…prevents me from seeing the charms of the latter, but even so he’s not Governor anymore.

(For the record, I believe this theory holds true for women as well. But I also think that women are actually smarter about following The Jefferson Principal then men. There’s a reason why silicon cupcakes bed and marry saggy older men, and why Jessica Hahn chose to sleep with Jim Bakker over the PTL mail carrier. And that’s’ why I’ve never quite understood these romances that pop up from time to time between female guards and male inmates. I understand that guys can portray themselves as something they’re not, maliciously luring good and trusting women into destructive relationships. But in these cases, the guy is in PRISON! I mean, what more of a sign do you want that something might go wrong?)

So if you’re going to have an affair, be sure to follow the model of George and Weezy as you do it. Because you’re going to need some kind of consolation when you lose half your stuff.

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