Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

Growing up in the United States in the 1970s, one of the great moments of childhood was the Family Road Trip. Immortalized in the original Vacation movie, all people of my age will have fond memories of a cross-country trek with the family.  I have had several of these growing up.  California, Kentucky, and the infamous Washington DC trip in the summer of 1975.

Although we never stopped to see Clark Griswold’s Second Largest Ball of Twine, no family vacation would be complete with out visiting one of the many roadside attractions designed to lure in travelers to spend a little cash.  Paul Bunyan Statues, Sun Glass Wearing Elephants, and if you are in traveling outside Madison, Wisconsin, there is this way larger than life cow:

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I will have to hunt through my pictures and see if I can find any other great attractions we have stopped to see One the Way.

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For more great On the Way photos, please visit:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/on-the-way/

 

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Tom 365 – December

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Chicago Christkindlemart.

Daley Plaza, Chicago Illinois.

Tom 365 – July 5, 2014

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Took my son to the Japanese Steak House for his 18th Birthday tonight.

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And to thank me, he promptly tossed an egg at me.

Happy Birthday, Alex.

Tom 365 – January 20, 2014

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The cold and lonely Divvy Stand. Located at the corner of 35th and Wallace, these bikes look like they are in for a long winter and little use.

Just Another Day?

Much has been and will be written about the ten years since 9/11, and I really had no intention of writing anything myself.  Much has changed in my life over the past ten years, but I can honestly say that none of those changes has anything to do with the events of that dark day.  Sure I had a talk with Molly, like many other parents have done this week.  She was only two at the time, and 9/11 is really nothing more than a history lesson to her.  Much like the assignations of John F. Kennedy is to anyone who is around my age.  Although it would be wrong not to stop and reflect a little on this day, the most important thing to me was that life has gone on.  My next door neighbor is still setting up for his football tailgating party, Molly has another parade today, Maureen is off to her second job, Alex is still sleeping.

The day seems ready to proceed just like any other Sunday.  Then I opened the paper and read something that put it all in perspective for me.  Hidden on page 22A of the Sun-Time was a recollection by Carol Marin.  She is a local Chicago news woman who just happened to be in New York on the morning of 9/11, and she found herself reporting from the base of the Twin Towers ten years ago today.  Here is just a portion of her article:

The firefighter

First and foremost is the firefighter whose name I may never know who saved me in the crash of the second tower of the World Trade Center.

I was at the time a correspondent for CBS News and was in New York the morning of the attacks. When the planes hit the towers, I raced to the site to cover the story. I was on West Street, within a block or two of the north tower, when the ground rumbled and roared. And a firefighter screamed at me to “Run!”

A fireball of ignited jet fuel consumed the base of the north tower as the building melted and crashed into the ground. The firefighter threw me against a nearby building and shielded my body with his. I could feel the pounding of his heart against my backbone. 

In seconds the air was black and thick with debris.

If the building didn’t kill us, I thought, the air was going to.

My firefighter handed me off to a New York City cop before I could ask the firefighter his name. And that police officer, Brendan Duke, and I walked hand in hand, our other hands covering our faces in an effort not to breathe in the bits and pieces of everything and everyone housed within those buildings that once defined the New York skyline.

Step-by-step, street-by-street, we made it into clearer air until we could see daylight again. And breathe again.

It was a New York City bus driver, Bill McRay, who picked me up, all covered in ash, and drove me back to the CBS Broadcast Center where I walked onto the news set, sat down with Dan Rather and reported what I’d seen.

My great regret for the last 10 years is that I never got the name of the firefighter who saved me. But he was gone in an instant, turning back toward the site of the tower’s collapse.

I pray he is alive. And well. 

Doo, doo, doo. Looking Out My Back Door

I am starting to believe that there is really no such thing as aging gracefully.

As I pass through my middle forties on my way to the big five 0, I have found that my body has begun to revolt against me.  There are pains in my back, in my knees, in my hips, and just about every joint that I have.  When I get up in the morning, my body is a virtual cacophony of cracks and snaps as I walk across the floor.  My hearing is going bad, there has been a constant ringing for about ten years now, and my eyes can’t seem to make up their mind as to whether I am near-sighted or far-sighted.  Then this past weekend, my body got tired of fighting on the front lines and swung around to attack from the rear.  I got a hemorrhoid.

You can pretty much set aside any hope of retaining even the slightest bit of dignity when you have to step up to the counter and explain just where the pain is, when the pain just happens to be where the sun don’t shine.  It gets even worse when it starts to set in that someone is actually going to have to take a look at what just happens to be ailing you.  Worst still when the first person who has to take a look is a young nurse half your age.  Now, I would never assume to know what someone may be thinking, but I have a suspicion that the last thing the young lady really wanted to do that night was to take an upclose and personal look at my back side.

There is really no way to ease into the examination.  Shorts needed to be dropped, and bending over needed to commence.  Then parts were poked and prodded that the nuns told us would make us blind if we touched them. All this only to find out that, yes indeed, I had a giant pain in my tookas.  Then there was a lot of talk, using big words that made me squeamish.  Words like insert were used in conjunction with some more medical terms, and a prescription was given for something that needed instruction about insertion into the said medical term.  Then things got worse as the doctor explained that if the treatment didn’t work, the area might then need to be lanced.  Suddenly the word suppository sounded much better.

An attempt was made to go to work this morning, but I only made it a few hours.  I hate to say it, but as I have aged, it seems that my threshold for pain has decreased.  I can’t stand, I can’t sit, and getting from one point the other is almost unbearable.  The mass itself seems to be getting bigger and more painful despite the promise that the little white bullet thing was going to relieve swelling, itching, and discomfort associated with the condition.  I made a futile attempt to pick up the blue recycling bins when I got home, but decided that it would be best to send my son out to retrieve them instead.  When sitting or standing is not an option, bending over to pick something up was a real bad idea.  And trust me, you don’t want to hear about what happened when I sneezed.

So here I am.  Lying on my stomach in bed attempting to type to keep my mind off of things.  Judging by my choice of topic, I would say I have failed miserably.  I have left the kids to their own devices downstairs while I grumble to myself.  Molly stops up to see me every now and then.  I have simply told her only that dad is not feeling well.  I have all the confidence that at 14 Alex is more than capable of making a frozen pizza without burning down the house, and that they have both done their homework.  Certainly my kids would never take advantage of poor old dad in his time of discomfort.

Certainly, every parent has had those times when they wanted, or actually uttered a certain phrase to describe their offspring at a time when maybe they were not behaving.  Or maybe the words have been used in reference to a spouse or perhaps an ex-spouse when things were not going that well.  Although I can’t promise that I will never use the phrase again, I will certainly be more careful when I do.  Because if there is anything I have learned over the past two days, I certainly have come to understand the real meaning behind the phrase:

Pain in the Ass.

Run Like Hell

As anyone who has been through one can tell you, divorce is hell.  Even the best of intentions can be misconstrued and formerly happy people are turned into miserable combatants.  I would imagine if that divorce was played out in the public eye with the press from two continents watching every move, that would make the situation so bad that it would leave scars that would take decades to heal.  And that is about the best way I could encapsulate the disbanding of the once super group formally known as Pink Floyd.  In 1985 when the band broke up, a long legal battle issued between Roger Waters and co-frontman David Gilmore.  The end result of that divorce was that Gilmore got to keep the band and the name, but Waters got The Wall.

And that brings me to the other night.  As I sat in my seat at The United Center here in Chicago looking at a semi-constructed white brick structure, I wondered if the soon to be theatrics were really going to be worth the lofty price tag that was attached to the event.  Not that I paid that price.  If I had not been invited and been taken care of by some friends and a certain lovely, blond librarian, Roger Waters presents The Wall Live would not have been on my agenda for a Thursday school night.  But by the looks of the sell out crowd, I would say a number of people thought the $75 to $225 price tag was worth the chance to see this rock spectacle, considering that the ticket price for the original 1980 tour was only $12.

This is the point where I need to be reminded that I am almost ten years older than Maureen.  I was just a freshman in high school when The Wall was first released.  That would have put Maureen in about the first grade.  It gets too uncomfortable if you think about it too long.  But the point is that her appreciation of the music of Pink Floyd is about on par with my appreciation of Beverly Hills 90210.  I didn’t see the movie version starring Bob Geldof until I was in college, and only because me and a few friends thought it would be a good idea to get stoned and head down to the student union and watch it on free movie night.  It wasn’t.  Obviously whatever we were smoking was just not strong enough.  As a movie, The Wall sucked.  So why did I then twenty-five years later without the benefit of any mind altering methods other than two Harps and an overpriced margarita, want to see this production?  Quite simply because of the music.

The show actually started before the lights even dimmed.  A homeless man wandering the audience with a shopping cart full of trash while audio clips from the past thirty years of music, movie, and news played over the speakers.  Waters had said in Rolling Stone that we wanted to make the music relevant to today, and not just be about his life as he originally wrote it, and for the most part that is what he did.  In one of the more touching moments, he showed videos of soldiers returning home from the Iraq conflict during the song Bring the Boys Back Home, and his anti-war philosophy is over obvious but fits in well with the Orwellian vision of the show.  Complete with flying pigs and forty-foot puppets of The Teacher and Mother.  But the true star of this show is The Wall. 

Throughout the first half of the performance, between explosions and the original animation by Gerald Scarfe, the wall is built brick by brick.  Each one coming to life as part of the projection show as they are snapped into place.  Slowly the giant structure cuts the audience off from the band that continues to play on behind the over powering monolith, and when the second half starts up with Hey You, the performers are still trapped behind The Wall.  For me, the highlight of the night was Comfortably Numb.  It is probably an easy choice given it is possibly one of Pink Floyd’s best recordings, but it was also staged well.  Waters in front of The Wall singing the main vocals, while Gilmour’s replacement, a young L.A. singer named Robbie Wyckoff, handled the chorus from the top of The Wall along with Dave Kilminster who finished the song with the guitar solo silhouetted from a back spotlight.

The end of the show, much like the movie, dragged a bit with too much of the same animation from  the movie being projected across giant bricks, including the infamous marching hammers that goose step like nazi guards, worms and other creatures that morph into various sexual creatures, and poor Pink, the blob of a humanoid figure who is the protagonist of the whole story, trapped behind his own wall in his mind.  But when the show ends with the wall tumbling down towards the audience, even Maureen managed to slip and admit that it was a bit cool.  Overall, I enjoyed the night.  Other than the fact that I seemed to blend in a little too well with the older hippy crowd.  It was nice to hear the old music being performed live, and the production was well done.  Roger Waters looked great, and for the most part performed great.  Although it really wasn’t a Roger Waters show, more of a Roger Waters production.  But I was glad I got a chance to see it and be a part of the experience.

Thanks, Babe.  I owe you one chick flick date.

A Day in the Life (The Winter Edition)

6:15  –  I get up without the benefit of any alarm other than my bladder.  It actually woke me up about 20 minutes ago, but the rest of me was just not as eager to get moving.  I can hear the talking heads on the news talking about the snow, so I finally think it must be time to make the big trip across the room to the master bath.  As my right foot hits the ground and attempts to support my weight, pain shoots all the way up my leg to the knee.  As far as I know, I have not done anything to my foot, it is just one of those morning pains that comes with aging gracefully.  It is almost like a lottery for me each morning.  Which part is going to hurt today?  This one actually scares me a little, and I almost take a nose dive into the carpeting, but cat-like reflexes honed by years of practice stumbling around in the dark keep me somewhat upright.  When I reach the bathroom, I peek out the window, and indeed there is a fresh blanket of white stuff covering everything I can see.  Judging by the amount on the roof of my car, I would guess about three or four inches.  The plow has not come to visit our corner of the world yet, so it is a little difficult to make out where the driveway ends and the street begins.  The next thing I notice about a half a minute too late is that there is no toilet paper.

6:19 – I make the walk of shame down the hallway to the kid’s bathroom and finish what I started.  I grab an extra roll of paper on my way back to the bedroom.  Alex and Molly are both sound asleep and their lights are on.  They both also have the blankets pulled up over their heads to block out the light.  Alex also has the theme music from the My Name Is Earl DVD he watched playing way too loud.  I turn off the tv but leave the light on.  He wont bother getting out of bed to restart the DVD, but if I flip off the light he would have it back on before I even reached my room.

6:25 – I place the fresh roll of paper next to the empty roll without changing it.  Usually this is a giant pet peeve of mine, but I decide it is more important to gather a little warmth from the bed than to actually change the roll.  Maureen is still under the covers, so I slide up as close as possible, trying to steal a little of her warmth.  She rolls over and gives me a groggy good morning.

6:30 – Maureen’s alarm goes off.  We hear the traffic report tell us that the roads are bad all over.  The worst in I55, the Stevenson.  It is already up to an hour and a half into the city.  Of Course.

6:45 – We finally give in to the fact that we have to get going.  I dress for the weather and head downstairs to make coffee and clear the driveway.  I dig through the hall closet to find my boots, but my hat and gloves are not to be found.  I dig through the bin under the coat hooks in the hall and all I can find is a mismatch of Molly size gloves and snowpants.  Aggravated, I grab Maureen’s extra gloves from the top shelf in the closet.  I can’t find a hat, but I have on a hooded sweatshirt so I head out to shovel.  I forget to start the coffee.

7:18 – The driveway is clear except for the new snow that continues to fall.  I leave my boots in the garage and head inside.  Maureen, the wonderful woman that she is, has made the coffee and says absolutely nothing about the fact that I forgot.  I don’t have time for a cup yet, so I give Maureen a kiss as she busily kills a few people and head upstairs towards the shower.  I can hear Alex in the bathroom, but Molly is still lost somewhere under her covers.  I shake her bed and tell she needs to get going, then I head for the shower. 

7:35 – I dress as quickly as possible because I have just heard the TV people tell me that the travel time on the Stevenson is now two hours.  I have to be at work by 10.  I can not be late.  I put on my shoes and rush outside.  Maureen has already left, so I pull my car into the garage to warm up for a few minutes.  No time for coffee at home, but this really nice good-looking grey guy bought Maureen a couple of travel mugs for Christmas, and he is about break one in.  The green travel mug we got from Maureen’s mom  is also missing, so I assume it hit the road while I was in the shower.  The remaining coffee fills my mug up right to the top, and I head to the door.

7:39 – Maureen calls to confirm that traffic sucks.  Molly’s bus does not arrive until 8:38, but it has been late almost every day this week.  I tell her that it is very important that she let me know that she is on the bus, because I won’t be able to turn around to get her if something goes wrong.  She promises to call or text me as soon as she is on the bus.  The car is adequately warm, but still somewhat snow-covered.  I back out of the driveway and head on my merry way.

7:45 – The main road that goes by the entrance to our neighborhood is called Lilly Cashe.  It is usually about a two or three minute drive down that street to Route 53 and the entrance for the expressway.  I am still trying to turn out of my neighborhood.  As per Maureen’s advice, I am going to skip the Stevenson and try to take back roads as far as I can.  The radio has confirmed that the trip inbound will be more than two hours now.

7:53 – I can see from down on 53 that the traffic on the Stevenson is not moving at all.  I get lucky with the series of three lights, and make my illegal U-turn onto the frontage road.  I can only top out at 25 mph but it is still flying past the cars stopped on the expressway.  I make a right turn onto International Drive, and much to my surprise it is empty.  I luck out again, and catch the light at Joliet Road.  The traffic gods are with me, even if the weather gods have been angered.  The rest of the trip down International is pretty quick given it is still very snow-covered.  I have to pull a few slalom moves around some slow moving cars, but for the most part it stays clear.  That ends as soon as I get to the end of the line at Lemont Road.  The light takes a lot longer than I would like, and I have a hard time accelerating as I make my left turn. 

8:12 – It is decision making time.  I can already see up ahead that the Stevenson is still backed up.  I make the turn onto Westgate, but then it is almost an immediate left onto the next frontage road.  I wonder for a second if Westgate goes all the way through to Cass, but with time not being on my side I decide this is not the day to find out.  I make the left a little too late and a lot too fast.  The back end of the old grey Chevy Malibu starts to slide.  I instantly flash back to the old driving simulators in Mr. Neuhaus’ Driver’s Ed class.  I don’t break even though I am traveling too fast, and I turn into the skid.  I have to do this a few times, but then the car is facing forward and is under control.  I’m as proud as Anthony Michael Hall at the end of The Breakfast Club.  The journey continues.

8:20 – I reach Cass Avenue and have to now commit to the Stevenson.  The frontage route from Cass to Kingery runs through a neighborhood, and is never an easy drive even on a clear day.  I flip around the radio stations to get a traffic update.  Someone has a sence of humor.  They are playing Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult.  I start making mental notes to myself.  I may have to do a follow-up to my Day In A Life blog from a few months ago.  I mean, I might as well do something with my time.  I could still be another hour and a half.

8:30 – I make it into traffic on the Stevenson and proceed at a whopping speed of 15 mph.  Molly calls to tell me that she is leaving the house.  I make sure she has a hat and gloves and remind her how important it is to call or text me as soon as she gets on the bus. 

8:33 – I pass a sign on the road that tells me it id still one hour and twenty minutes to the Dan Ryan.

8:38 – Maureen calls to check on my progress.  I cut our conversation short when I realize I still haven’t heard from Molly.

8:40 – I call Molly.  She tells me that she is on the bus but that she forgot to call me.  Of Course!

8:50 – Traffic pick up to an almost blazing speed of 40 mph.  The inside of my car is now getting quite hot, but I am fearful of turning down the defrost because ice is starting to form on the windshield wipers.  I just witnessed the car in front of me pull the ice scraper out the driver’s window trick, but I have been able to keep the ice off by running the wipers at full speed every now and then.  So far it’s been working.

8:58 – Traffic comes to a halt just before the exit at Central.  I am now stopped looking directly at a billboard for Bud Light Golden Wheat.  I am a Miller drinker.  Most Bud products do bad things to my insides.  But right now, it is looking real good.

9:00 – I am officially late.  I flip around the radio stations and stop on the Motley Crue cover of Smoking in the Boys Room.  I hate this version but for some reason I stop.  The original by Brownsville Station is much better.  I wish they had played that.

9:04 – The next song is the Aerosmith cover of Come Together.  It must be a theme.  I’m a little torn on this one, because I really do like both versions.  But when in doubt you have to go with The Beatles.  I finally reach Central.

9:08 – Traffic starts to pick up.  I probably should have gotten off and taken some side streets, but the road usually opens up around California.  I have never been able to figure this traffic pattern out, but it is always consistent.  It is not like a lot of cars exit at California, and the road doesn’t widen there. 

9:17 –  I reach California and the sign there tells me it is seven minutes to the Dan Ryan.  As predicted, traffic opens wide up.  I don’t get it.  I’m almost speeding as I switch lanes to make my exit.  Anyway You Want It by Journey takes me all the way to the south bound exit ramp.  Then things come to a dead stop as a semi-truck creeps up the ramp.  Is it just a coincidence that the next song is End of the World by REM?

9:32 –  I arrive in the parking lot.  There was an unusual amount of people exiting at 35th Street, but none of them seemed to be turning.  I would imagine most of them were just looking to get out of the traffic.  I park next to Ken’s Envoy and it has not been recovered with snow yet, so he must have just arrived too.  As I step out of the car I check my zipper.  I remember how the last one of these ended.  The barn door was shut.

The rest of the day was busy but uneventful.  It was just your average day at work,and soon the traffic hell was a distant memory.  That is until the end of the day when we all realized we had to do it all again on the way home.  And the really good news is that more snow is predicted for over night.  I guess I better get some rest.  I’ve got another long drive tomorrow.

Happy New You

I’m Back.

Did you miss me?  Probably not, but I will use the false assertion that you did to come up with a few more of these ramblings of mine.  I actually had started quite a few entries over the past few weeks, but the busy holiday schedule kept me from finishing them.  But don’t worry, the ideas are still there, and they will resurface in the near future.  Possibly even bits and pieces of them here today.  In the New Year.  A time of fresh starts and resolutions.  You know, those little promises we make to ourselves each year.  The ones we eventually break by Valentines Day.  Just in time to rework them into Lenten Promises.  It is pretty well documented that gym memberships rise right after the New Year, and many of these places offer New Year Deals to take advantage of those resolutions.  And then those memberships go unused for the last ten months of the year.

I have never been much for New Years celebrations.  Being of Irish/German decent, I have never found I really need an excuse to partake in the consumption of libations, and those who save up their drinking for one night only get in the way of those of us who have raised drinking to a professional level.  Don’t take this the wrong way, I would not consider myself a heavy drinker, although I am quite sure several publication would disagree with me on that fact, but these are also the same publications that consider me morbidly obese because I don’t conform to their idea of what my ideal weight should be for my height.  For the sake of argument, I am 5′ 10″ and 225 pounds.  If you consider this to be morbidly obese, then I am indeed a heavy drinker.  Also for the sake of argument, the CDC considers a heavy drinker as any adult male who consumes on average more than two drinks per day, and any adult female who drinks on average just one drink a day.  I have a feeling that by these standards, I am not the only heavy drinker in the crowd.

This year, I celebrated the New Year by staying home and drinking one Miller Lite before midnight, and then promptly falling asleep about ten minutes after midnight.  I believe Maureen only made it to about 12:03 before she succumbed to the half bottle of the same said Miller Lite that she had opened.  She had worked earlier that night, and was kind enough to bring home Chinese Food.  Moo Shu Pork and a Miller Lite.  With excitement like this is it any surprise I’m a heavy drinker?  The kids were over at friend’s house, so it was just the two of us.  Our New Year’s kiss came while already in bed watching House Hunters.  And we both disagreed with the choice the couple from Detoit made.  Maureen is out tonight seeing friends, and I have enjoyed a quiet night of playing Wii with Alex and Molly, and once they nodded off, I turned on BBC America to catch some of the 24 hours of Doctor Who.  Twenty years ago,I enjoyed the old Doctor Who that was shown late night on PBS, but this newer version has really done well by the Doctor.  It has lost the cheesy sets and bad production, but kept the humor and cultural statements. 

But there I go again, babbling on about things that have very little to do with my original idea.   Maybe my resolution should be to stick to the topic when I am writing.  But I would only break it the way so many others break their resolutions each year.  We all start with the purest of intentions, but like all of the fables associated with the holidays, a resolution is just a myth.  We don’t need the New Year to help us become better people, we are better people if we choose to be better people.  Nobody is perfect, trust me, I have learned this about myself in more ways than one.  I was reminded once again tonight of my faults, and odds are I will figure it out again tomorrow.  But I honestly believe that most people are at their core good and honest.  We live each day with the intention of doing what is right, and for the most part we try our best to be the best people we can be.  So for my New Year’s resolution I intend to not change a thing.  I like my life as it is.  I wouldn’t change my quiet boring New Year’s Eve for anything.  I don’t need a big party or celebration in Time Square.  A quiet night at home, with someone I love and care deeply for is more than I could ever hope for.  Add in Chinese Food and a Miller Lite and it is down right perfect.

So, it’s a new year.  Twenty Ten as I am told is the correct term.  I wish everyone the best in the coming twelve months.  But don’t feel like you have to make any great changes in your life.  Because if it is not obvious yet, your stuck with the same old me.

Sympathy for the Devils

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….

ZZZZZIIIIIPPPPP!

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.