It’s unnatural, as I said before, to hear the word “yes” more than the word “no”, especially when you’re growing up. People like Ryan Braun, OJ Simpson, Alex Rodriguez, supernaturally gifted athletes who knew unlimited success and adoration from an early age when their gifts were recognized/exploited/harvested. When you hear these people apologize, they’re not apologizing for what they did. Tiger Woods didn’t apologize for his acts of primal self-fulfillment at any cost.
I don’t begrudge these folks their fame. Or their success. I climbed a flight of stairs the other day. I wonder if Walter Peyton ever did PEDs.
These people, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, etc. were simply never in a place in their lives where it was necessary or unavoidable to heed the lessons of humility, bravery, self-awareness, etc. that we are all force-fed (usually through hard life lessons like not having rent money, getting your heart broken with no sure way of knowing you’ll ever be loved again, looking in a newspaper for job prospects, etc.)
When you see them on TV, offering up cheap treacle to a waiting room of pasty-faced cyber-slaves in front of 5 or 6 foamed phalli, the stench of insincerity can waft into your soul. They’re not stupid people, but the part of their brains that was supposed to tell them, “Uh, you might want to not put that stuff on ya…you’re not going to get away with it…” has atrophied because we did it to them. We bought the tickets, we made them heroes. We put Ben Johnson on TV. We did that. And we always will. We love that shit.
They’re not assholes, though some are. They were, from the time they could stand up, put up against friends, peers, enemies, strangers in a never-ending race to a white light. Singularly focused on the prize, shooing away the pain, the doubts, the prejudices, the personal dalliances that would blow them off course, lest they become an also-ran. Nothing sadder. It never entered their minds that they’d fail. It couldn’t.
I feel bad for those boys and girls up there in Wisconsin wearing Ryan Braun’s jersey. He seemed so likable. I’m not a baseball fan, and he may or may not be nice, but his apology, like all sports apologies, should make you feel insulted. No one is apologizing for taking the stuff. Only for getting caught. And since their mental facilities are compromised by the constant positive strokes, unlike you and me, the responses seem strange and otherworldly. Almost like English translated into another language and back again.
Is it any wonder that they’re all narcissists? Yeah, it’s kinda like being a rock star, but PEDs are ENCOURAGED in that world. They won’t revoke your chart success if you get caught. And numbers don’t lie, unlike personal taste. They’re sold and unrelenting. Luck might get you there, but you better put up once you’re there.
Me? I’m the perfect combination of self-confidence without praise, self-aggrandizement couched in terms of faux-humility that make the unsuspecting cave in, but make anyone who’s well-read and warm to that kind of jive furious.