I had a little mishap this morning while trimming my beard. The trimmer I use is not really that good, and the adjustable head does not work very well. I have to be very careful not to press too hard or too quickly or else….
I took a big chunk of hair out of the middle of my left cheek. It did not strip it all the way to the bare skin, but it is quite noticable. As soon as I did it, I let out a few choice words. Maureen, who was already running late for work, quickly shouted back from the bedroom asking if I was ok. When I explained the situation to her, I got back one of the blankest stares I have ever seen in my life. Her sympathy for my situation was immeasurable. That is because there was none. Ok sure, give it a few days and it will grow back enough to blend in, but that is not the point. If she had some sort of disaster with her hair, certainly I would lend my support and reassure her that it was not that bad. But that was not the reaction I got. I suppose to be fair, I should say that this is not the first time this has happened to me. And in the past when an event like this occurred I was usually alone and had no one around to hear my over abundant swearing. So if it had not been for Maureen being there, I probably would have just done like I did every other time I had a mishap of this sort. I would have just shaved it all off. And I would have done that today. But then came the reaction. And the lack of sympathy. And the realization on my part that it really wasn’t all that bad. So thanks to Maureen, I quickly regained my composure and my beard was saved. At least for now.
There is a very old saying that is attributed to Lord John Acton, a distinguished bearded gentleman and scholar. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This quote has really nothing to do with the story of my beard, but it does serve as a nice transition into what I really intended to write about. Lord Acton’s full name was Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton. The subject of the quote was actually the Roman Catholic Church, or more accurately Pope Pius IX doctrine on papal infallibility. The next line in the quote is not as well-known, but actually clarifies Lord Acton’s intent. “Great men are almost always bad men.” Although written almost 150 years ago, the basic idea is still survives today. That same drive that brings a man to greatness, is very often the same flaw that will be their downfall. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am, of course, talking about Tiger Woods. But it is not just his particular situation, but one that seems to plague athletes, musicians, actors, politicians and all men of power. It this particular case, it does seem a lot of excess that was well hidden for many years, and in effect, that is the problem.
I work in a field where infidelity is very well-known, and extra measures are taken to make sure these indiscretions are kept away from those who need not know. Don’t hold your breath, I am not about to add names or give away some of those trade secretes. Maybe that makes me part of the problem. Or it could just make me someone who likes his job and would like to keep it. The point is this, there are a lot of people who knew a lot about Tiger’s social life long before that little accident brought this whole mess into the public eye. It is even very possible that Tiger’s wife knew much more about this than she told friends and family. Only she can make the decision about how she intends to proceed from here, but rest assured very soon we will be hearing confessions and apologies. Very public people looking to us for sympathy and forgiveness.
Tiger Woods is obviously not the first person to fall victim to his own success, and he will obviously not be the last. But what about the women who shared in his discretion? Should we feel sympathy for them? Don’t they play just as big a part in the problem? The fame game can be quite alluring, to both wife and mistress. I can’t speak for Tiger and his wife, but I have seen the women who chase around professional athletes. They all dress in a certain way to attract what they want, and they know what they are getting themselves into. They don’t seem to care if the athlete is married, and they seem to be content with just being with them. I can’t tell you what type of childhood drives a woman to flock after the rich and famous in this way, but should they happen to be successful in actually catching one, what do they really expect of these affairs? Do they really think that they will leave their wives for them? Because of the enviroment these famous people live in, they expect that they can have it all. There are no repercussions for their actions.
I am not even sure if I have any sympathy for Tiger’s wife, Elin. When it was reported that she had moved out of that house where the late night accident occurred, she really only relocated herself to one of the couple’s other homes. Another overly large abode still within the state of Florida, in another exclusive gated community. She will get herself a top-notch lawyer and probably top Michael Jordan and his wife to claim the largest divorce settlement ever. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying she is getting what she wanted. I would like to think that she really did love him, and the fame and money and houses were just an extra bonus. But either way, she is still going to be well off. Much better off than most of us, with or without her husband.
So where does all this bring us? Right back to my good bearded friend Lord Acton. He had another quote that perfectly sums up these matters. “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.” In a perfect world, people would always do the right thing. I am not being judgmental here. If you want to “date” many different people, then go ahead and do so. But getting married and having children should cut that lifestyle off. If you are not ready to give up that lifestyle, then don’t get married. At first it seemed strange to me that David Letterman escaped the bad press of his affairs, but the big difference was that at the time of his discretion he was not married and did not have a son yet with his then girlfriend. Is that the line in the sand? I don’t know. But I do know this. In the next few weeks or months, when the apologies and pleads for sympathy begin, I am going to listen with a blankest stare on my face. Because I have no sympathy. Not for this devil.