I remember a summer day ten years ago when my sports fanatic son declined going to the pool with his friends so he could watch the final stage of the Tour de France. He was fixated on his new idol, Lance Armstrong. So fixated, in fact, that immediately after Armstrong won, my son begged me to take him to the Discovery Channel Store so he could spend a hundred dollars of his lawn mowing money on a replica of the yellow jersey Armstrong wore during much of the Tour de France that year.
This was a very big deal because, not only has my son always been a sports nut, but he loves his money, too. So it took a lot for him to part with his hard earned cash. But his father and I let him do it because we believed at the time that Lance Armstrong was a pretty worthy role model for a twelve-year-old boy. Little did we know.
Now here’s the funny (or sad, depending upon your perspective) part: Armstrong’s fall from grace didn’t traumatize my son as much as I would have thought. By that time, my teenager had already been jaded to the duplicity of the world of professional sports. Everybody does it has become a catch phrase that really angers me. Too many Millennials and Gen-Xers (or Y’s or whatever they are) adopt the phrase as a mantra.
Sure, the list of role models who turn out to be more human than super hero is long: Alex Rodriquez, Ryan Braun, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, Shaun White and Hope Solo, to name a few. But there have to be some role models out there, right? Surely the Kardashians aren’t who we want our children looking up to? And I’m not even going to suggest they should look up to elected officials who refuse to lead.
And then there’s Brian Williams. I have to admit this one is a lot harder to swallow than some of the others. He’s a likeable guy in a business that I was once a part of. Because I still consider myself a journalist, the offense of “misrepresenting the facts” really sticks in my craw. I’m not saying we should hold journalists in esteem higher than others–hello Steve Kroft and Dan Rather, not to mention an entire cable news channel–but, hey, we just can’t go making things up. Well, unless you write fiction like I do, but that’s not the business Brian Williams was in. At least not yet, anyway.
This whole mess has left with me a sense of melancholy, especially as a parent. Who are kids supposed to look up to these days? My motives are purely selfish here. It’s a lot of pressure to be the only role-model for your child–especially since they think you’re dumber than dirt for a majority of their life. Of course, we could all go around adopting the philosophy of Dr. Greg House from TV’s House and submit to the tenet that “everybody lies”.
I don’t want to be a cynic, though. I want to believe in the good within people. That’s why I write romance, because I want to read a happily ever after. I want role models who are worthy. And not just for my kids.
But I also subscribe to the notion that we are all human. We all make mistakes. It’s how we move on after those mistakes that shows our character. So no, A-Rod, a hand written “I’m sorry” isn’t going to cut it with me. And Lance, having your girlfriend lie for you is just unmanly. It’s left to you, Brian. Please don’t let me down.
Life with dogs can be very challenging and very rewarding. As many of you know, we have two rescue mutts, Hershey and Snickers. They have been with us for five years and our lives are much better because we found each other.
We recently went on vacation without them for ten days. It was a very quiet and lonely ten days, even though our whole family was together. Every night, my husband and I would get into bed and wish our dogs were with us. What can I say…we love our dogs!
I was walking the dogs the other day and ran into a neighbor who has a new black lab puppy. He was telling me about the chewing their dog had done and I started to think about the way our dogs have made our home theirs in the last five years. The more I thought, the longer the list got.
The most obvious marking is from Hershey where she lays on our dining room chairs tucked beneath our table. It’s her cave and she can be found there during most daylight hours. See how she’s marked up the table with her claws? Thankfully, I discovered a fix (3/4 cup canola oil and ¼ cup vinegar) and I can hide the scratch marks as soon I can get her out.
The most recent and maddening is the back door screen. We recently (as in within the last week) had the screen replaced where they’d torn it to bits during another one of our out of town trips. During the ripped period, Snickers figured out to open the door by poking her paws inside the screen and pulling on the wood. When the new screen went up, she decided to take matters into her own paws and clawed another hole.
This, my friends, is the price we pay for having dogs. Dog lovers will understand. Non-dog lovers won’t believe we let our furry friends destroy our homes. To us, a house is not a home without a few dog marks. Let me know about your worst offenders when you get a chance.
My husband calls it my “spidey-sense”. You know, that feeling of intuition one gets proclaiming something just isn’t as it seems; or worse, that gloom and doom are on the way. My spidey-sense is fairly refined and pretty darn accurate. It’s what made me an effective congressional investigator for so many years. It’s also something my family knows not to mess with. My kids can’t outrun it. Believe me, they’ve tried. My BS detector is just too well honed for them to get past. They’ve learned to just fess up and live with the consequences. When it comes to the doom and gloom, let’s just say my track record is pretty accurate there, too; enough so that my husband doesn’t question my predictions. Actuality has made him–the wearer of rose-colored glasses—a firm believer in my intuition.
Does having such a strong intuitive nature make me a cynic? I don’t think so. I’m not Dr. Greg House from the television show, House, whose mantra is: Everybody lies. Basically, I’m just a “glass-half-full” kinda girl, who’s also a realist. There are very few things I take at face value. Perhaps it’s my inquisitive nature or just living through some hard knocks, but I like to know the facts. I’ve been known to Google statements made during a church sermon. I like to kick the tires and dig in the dirt to assure myself things are legit.
That’s why this whole Catfishing mess with Manti Te’o makes no sense to me. How does something like this go on for sooo long? Perhaps the better question is: why did it happen in the first place? What did the person perpetuating the hoax hope to gain? Sadly, Te’o is just one of thousands of people who get swept up in these types of scenarios every day. It’s kind of like that silly insurance commercial where the girl believes everything she reads on the Internet, including that her slovenly date is a French model. Are people just that gullible? I really don’t think you need an enhanced spidey-sense to fall for such nonsense, but maybe I’m wrong.
How about you? Do you have the gift of “spidey-sense”? Have you sniffed out a lie or a hoax?