Thursday, February 5, 2009

Last Dance for Mary Jane

I, like everyone else apparently, am greatly ashamed and horrified by the actions of our Olympic Golden Boy, Michael Phelps. Unlike everyone else apparently, I’m greatly ashamed and horrified by the way he put his tail between his legs and whimpered about how sorry he was for his inappropriate behavior after a picture of him smoking marijuana from a bong was printed in a British tabloid.

If you’ve seen the picture, you’ll infer from it I’m sure, as I certainly did, that this isn’t the first time or the 420th time even that the golden boy has taken old Mary Jane out for a date. With the evidence quickly plastered on every website and blog around the world though, Phelps became a meek, apologetic, cowering fool.

So much for the Superman image he had after his Olympic glory.

It seems the many corporate sponsorships he had took precedence over everything else and he hasn’t stopped apologizing since. I have to wonder though, if he and I were sitting alone in a room and off the record I asked him if he really thought he did something wrong, whether or not he’d still be apologizing so effusively.

He’s been citing his age, immaturity and poor judgment as the identifiable fatal flaws that led him down this lowly path. He has raised his hand, shown the Boy Scout salute and promised to be better in the future, and meanwhile, his generation groans.

Cojones shouldn’t be difficult to find for a man who wears a speedo to work. And had Michael Phelps given the world his honest, real answer to all of this, if he had decided to not kowtow to the almighty dollar and the national sense of honor, he just might have found out that by being bold, might powers may have indeed come to his aid.

We’re left to believe that Michael Phelps, shown in that photo sucking on a bong like it was air and he was under water, was a one-time offender. We’re asked to collectively pretend that this was an isolated case of poor judgment. And when he says the words to assure us of just that, we sigh, shake our fingers at the silly rascal and head comfortably back to our delusions or heroism.

What’s so wrong with admitting that yes, Michael, you do occasionally like to smoke pot? What’s wrong with saying that the mellow of smoking a little chronic to the A.D.D. generation—and Phelps does have A.D.D.--is no different than the buzz of a few beers was to the one before? If it had been pictures of him shotgunning a beer, the news story wouldn’t have gotten much more than a passing mention. There would be no controversy. It’s the cannsbis we’re all so worked up over.

And regardless of what your feelings may be on the subject, the time for a serious discussion about it’s legalization is long overdue. Just because you choose to believe it isn’t around every corner, at every party your children attend, in every school, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. It’s use, like a weed, has grown and thrived.

Phelps could have stood up, looked us all in the eyes and told us that he is the greatest Olympian of all time and that he is also a marijuana user. He could have said that he uses this non-addictive method to help chill out after intense workouts, after pressure-filled competitions, as a means of coping with attention deficit and that he isn’t ashamed of it. He could have stood up and told the world that he was still the same boy next door they had all been so proud of a few months before. Nothing had changed—in fact, he was simply being like the real boy next door now.

He could have stood tall and refused to think of what he was doing as shameful or wrong. He could have stood up to those who felt it was and asked them if his hard work, his dedication or his spirit had been effected? He had the image that coupled with a real message could have affected change for his generation.

Me? After reading this you may be surprised to find out that I’m not a fan of marijuana. It just holds no interest for me. That said, it doesn’t stop me from having my eyes open as I walk through this world. It’s here. It’s here to stay. People Phelps age use it like other generations have used beer or cigarettes. It’s everywhere. Superman, the golden boy Olympic swimmer could have brought about a serious discussion about its place in our society. Instead, he bowed and scraped. Heroes: Just another thing you can add to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.
It’s sad. We could have used a good kick in the ass about the subject.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You read my mind! I'm not a pot smoker either, but I would be if it didn't make me puke, pass-out, or get paranoid! Standby, I'm about to send a link to my entire mailing list.