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Serious Stuff

Tiger Woods and Icarus

by Somebody Else
December 15, 2009

As the whole recent Tiger Woods fiasco began to unfold, the reaction from the press and general public has been almost totally predictable. Lame jokes emerged, such as the awful pun: "He's not a tiger, he's a cheetah." Ha, ha. There was a massive bimbo explosion, in which it was revealed that Tiger slept with a bunch of soulless, irritating, high-maintenance women with bad taste in clothing and makeup, and extremely limited intellectual capacity. On one website I read, somebody wrote: "Stick a fork in Tiger, he's done," in this case referring to the famed golfer's probable upcoming loss of his many highly lucrative sponsorship contracts with well-known brand names such as Accenture and Gatorade. There were the pictures of his innocent little children that love their daddy, and those in particular made me cringe, because a two-year-old little girl can have no idea why her whole house has been turned upside down recently. If there was ever a good reason for the press to leave the man and his family alone, that is a good one. But of course, nothing will stop the press from descending vulture-like upon the carcass of a former god.

Now, allow me to make a few things clear before I continue. First thing, I don't give a rat's slimy tail about the game of golf. As far as I'm concerned, it is a waste of good land. You could be using that land to grow food or provide decent homes for the poor, that is, for people in my income bracket. Instead, they put a bunch of exploitative, wealthy, and pretentious men and women in ugly pants and skirts out there. You need a lot of water to keep those greens and fairways verdant, and this water usually comes from precious underground aquifers that end up being severely depleted as a result. Golf is generally for snobs, people that have good money-translation, not me. So, it is not a democratic kind of sport, but rather for elitists. Connected to the game of golf is the country club, an entity known to the upper crust as an enclave of pleasant diversion, and to the working classes as a place of degrading employment. The game is hard and frustrating beyond belief, even for people who play it professionally. The last time I played a round, I was ready to throw all of my clubs into a duck pond after the second hole. In my view, putt-putt golf is a much better sport than golf, much more affordable too, and you get interesting things like miniature windmills to putt through. Imagine what Tiger Woods could do for the nation's struggling putt-putt courses. I don't see it happening, though.

Getting back to Tiger himself, allow me also to make clear that I care more about a mosquito bite on my butt than about the loss of Tiger Wood's product endorsements. Okay, so the guy is out several million dollars. So what? Do I feel his pain? Maybe he loses a couple of multi-million dollar properties he has scattered around here and there. What does that mean to me? Maybe he has to sell a luxury yacht or two. How the hell does that affect me? Look, the guy will always have something nice to eat, a decent place to stay, enough money to support himself and his family so that they can live in material comfort, and a squad of idiotic bimbos trying to get in his pants. He'll always have a way to make a whole truckload of money fairly easy, one way or another. Fallen god or not, he is still Tiger Woods. And I am still some unknown slob who better be careful and follow society's rules to the letter or I'll fall through the cracks and end up on the street begging for change. Or then again, I might fall through the cracks anyway despite my best efforts. After all, I'm no Tiger Woods. That's the real story, right there, but the media isn't interested at all.

So, Tiger Woods ran around on his wife. This is supposed to be news? Folks, this is everyday life in the United States. As objectionable as it is to commit adultery, it is not a crime per se to cheat on your spouse in this country. Now, if it happened in some Middle-Eastern country like Oman or Qatar, for example, maybe they would have cut off one of Tiger's hands. Now, that would have been real news, because in that case there could have been no doubt whatsoever that the scandal had ruined his game. But it didn't happen, people, it didn't happen.

Here is the bigger question. Why all the excitement and hoopla about Tiger Woods in the first place, before the big fiasco? Sure, he is still presently regarded as the best golfer in the world, and up until recently was on his way to shattering a number of long-standing golf records. That of course explains a lot, but not everything. The other reason for all the public's fixation on this man is his improbable rise from the ranks of non-country-club people to the status of golden idol shining down upon the most upper of the upper-crust elite.

Tiger's dad was a caddy at a country club, in other words, one of those working class people that saw the country club as a place of degrading employment rather than as an enclave of pleasant diversion. Owing to this connection, Wood's father arranged for his young son to practice, free of charge, upon the hallowed fairways and greens where he worked. Perfecting his game with fanatically religious dedication, young Tiger quickly became an astonishing prodigy.

Also, apart from his overwhelming success on the golf course, Tiger captured the public's imagination by being partly African-American and partly Asian. Here was a young man in whose enigmatic face one could indistinctly perceive vague hints of different peoples, cultures, and climes. This made him a kind of superman and global everyman all at once. Thus, the implicit understanding of golf as pretty much exclusively a rich white man's game was forever ended by the undisputed dominance of Tiger Woods. And this was like manna from heaven for the golf industry and for everything else connected to it. Tiger Woods gave an expensive and elitist game a kind of widespread popular appeal that it had hardly even dared to dream to aspire to, nor, in all fairness, any right to aspire to. People who really didn't have adequate resources to play the game went out and ruined themselves financially in order to realize the dream of being like their everyman golf hero.

So, in summary, Tiger was flying high and was on his way to the uppermost regions of fame and fortune, to places the most super of superstars had never even glimpsed from afar. He was zealously guarding his public image. His secrecy and privacy were legendary. Then, his true reasons for being so private became all too apparent. It turned out that he had, in fact, plenty to hide. Like the famed Icarus of Greek mythology, he flew so close to the sun that the heat melted the wax holding his wings together, and he fell to his death. In short, he turned out to be a mere mortal, and we, silly and easily disappointed Americans that we are, were absolutely crestfallen.

In the long run, the whole thing won't mean much of anything for anybody except for the man and his poor family. And yes, despite the fame and fortune, each one deserves some sympathy and compassion, even the big man himself. In the end, it's all about his little girls and what's best for them. To his credit, and not to make light of his indiscretions, he appears to realize this. And in any case, as I have stated before, his indiscretions are in the end his business, not mine. I only know about them because the national media shoved the whole damn thing in my face.

If he never plays golf professionally again, I really don't care. The best thing that he can do right now is make an honest effort to save his marriage and give his little girls a happy life, which, in case you didn't know, is not defined by how many millions of dollars he can provide for them. But once again, why is this even any of my business? What does any of this have to do with my life? It has nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing. I wish you and your family the best, Tiger. Welcome back to earth.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...