Michael Phelps smokes dope.
Holy Moly, the whole country is going to go to hell in a hand basket. Because clearly, that means he is not the demi-God we made him out to be.
I get that he is a role model. That's why Nike and Speedo and countless other corporations are willing to pay him big money to say he uses their product(s). And I get that because of his status as an Olympic champion and record breaking athlete, the eyes of the world are upon him.
But you know what?
This guy is TWENTY THREE years old.
Do you remember twenty three year old guys? They aren't much more mature than 16 year old guys.
I will go even further and say that men don't reach full emotional maturity until about 30. There are exceptions, of course.
But you know, my husband is exceptional. Ask anybody who knows him. People (women, mostly) are always telling me how lucky I am to have him, which can really be fucking annoying if you want to know the truth.
Because then he's all like..."But I'm superhusband!" when I bitch at him for leaving his dirty socks in front of the recliner every. single. night.
Uhh, what was I saying? I guess we can forget the "brief" part...
My husband is exceptional. We've established that. I wouldn't trade him for anything.
But when we married, he, at 26, was not fully mature. It took us a couple of very long years to get to the point where he thought of us as a unit, and himself in terms of one half of a partnership.
The self intruded.
Not because he's a bad guy. He wasn't. He was a great guy. Basically, he was a kind, considerate, hard working, honest and loyal person.
But he hadn't matured to the point that he thought like a grown up; at least not all the time. He still did some things that an adolescent would do; and thought like an adolescent would think.
Once, on an episode of Roseanne, someone complimented her on what a wonderful husband Dan was. Her retort was, "Well yeah, but do you think he came out of the box like that?"
Amen Sister. Even diamonds need cutting and buffing. Raw materials, regardless of their value, still need molding and shaping to shine their brightest.
The point is....
Twenty three year old guys are not the epitome of selflessness or good judgement, gold medals and million dollar endorsement deals notwithstanding. Being a champion does not automatically confer upon one the mantle of perfection.
Not to mention that this kid has been training HARD for years. How many things did he deprive himself of; things every normal young guy does without even thinking about it?
He sacrificed all those things to hone his body into a lean, mean record breaking machine. He pushed himself beyond his limits. He was disciplined, dedicated and focused.
He's done what he set out to do, he made us look good, AND he still has the rest of his life ahead of him.
So if the kid wants to cut loose a little bit, smoke a doobie or two, bang a poptart or three, and otherwise sow all the oats he didn't sow while he was busy being an Olympic Champion...
I have no problem with that.
He's not hurting me. He's not hurting you. He's just making the mistakes that we all have to make to learn and grow.
And I certainly don't think it's going to bring about the moral decay of our youth. I don't think the Dow will fall any further, I don't think the recession will recede any further, I don't think the fat cats on Wall Street will grow any richer or Joe Q. Public any poorer, I don't think Osama will decide to launch another attack and this time make it count...
In other words, nothing much is going to happen at all, EXCEPT that one poor disgraced little merman will be forced to apologize in a very public way for doing something just about every red blooded American kid does, at some point.
The difference being that most kids get a lecture, maybe lose their driving privileges, perhaps even do a little community service, while he will lose millions of dollars. He will be humiliated, humbled and possibly dethroned.
We will make him PAY for his evil deeds.
Because everyone knows that once a person becomes famous, they are no longer allowed any human frailties. They must be perfect! Beyond reproach! Flawless!
Because we won't tolerate anything less, and because, if they are not perfect, we will find and exploit any weakness or imperfection. We will try and punish them in the media and hound them into stoop shouldered submission. Then we will leave them to pick up the pieces of their broken lives and move onto the next celebrity who has the misfortune to publicly misstep.
I feel sorry for him, to tell the truth.
We Americans sure are fair weather friends when it comes to our heroes.