Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Admitting You're Wrong, In and Out of the Pool

It's summertime, and the hot and humid Georgia days are beating down upon you, and you fervently wish for the icy days of winter when it was easier to cuddle up in a blanket and watch football (or read a book, whatever is your pleasure). But there is, in summer season, a respite from such heat--the swimming pool.

So let's say a friend of yours lives in an apartment building, and the landlords have seen fit to install a pool, complete with slides and a deep end (a pool without a deep end is worthless, the fear of losing your footing on the ground is akin to flying, a point where up and down become possible. And besides, it's well worth it to dive to the bottom and pick up the quarters people have lost outside their suits.)

So, you jump in (which is not how I do it, but that's another story), and there is instant relief from the heat. Ahhh.... and the wind blows and cools your shoulders, and the warm water relaxes your muscles. All of your muscles. :)

And suddenly, as it happens with everyone who swims, you have this incredible urge to Pee. And there's no way you're going to get out of the pool (you just got in) and trot to the restroom. So, you just let nature take its course.

Now, reason why I said this (and come on, admit it, you've all Peed in a Pool in your lives.) is that now we have to deal with what's right, and what is wrong. Assuming it's wrong to pee in a pool (people and animals pee in lake water all the time, and there's no chemicals to get rid of it, but that's another matter), you've now done something wrong, and you have to hope that no one swims by and finds that place slightly warm and possibly yellow. If they do, then everyone starts accusing everyone else, and all you have to do is keep quiet, and it will soon be over.

Unless the owners of the apartment building have put in that dye that makes it quite clear who did it, as now your swim trunks are now covered in liquid blue dye, and it contrasts the red on your face.

Getting caught doing something wrong is a hard place to be in. And over the past couple of weeks, we have seen people react in every possible way when they are found out. But it's interesting to see what they do, and more importantly, how people react to the apology (or lack thereof). Sometimes not saying anything is the best thing, and sometimes apologizing is the best thing to do, but no one will accept it. It also depends on how the media decides to handle the apology, whether they want to smear you all over the pages, or let it drop. So lets take a look at three people who have "Screwed Up," and see how everything worked out.

Michael Phelps: Heroic Olympic swimmer who eats 5 tons of food a day, and won 8 gold medals in the Olympic games in Bejing. And then he became a normal 23 year old teenager (and lets face it, with all the working out he did and all the practicing, he didn't have much of a teenage life). Yes, he went to South Carolina and smoked Marijuana out of a bong, and someone took a picture of it. It was stupid of him to do that, but what other 23 year old guy hasn't done something stupid. Even I did something stupid in college. Sure, it was illegal, but nothing like drugs or anything. I walked across the railroad bridge over the river just south of the college. Dangerous and foolish, cause there wasn't much I could have done if a train had come through. But it didn't, and I was safe, and I wrote a poem about it. But I digress....
Phelps screwed up, and he got caught, and during sweeps month, no less. That is the main difference. Phelps peed in the pool during the hours when media vultures were looking for any blue ink anywhere in the pool. February is the time when the media goes looking for everything wrong in the world, and then they blow it up to the size of Mount Everest. The interesting thing, I think, is the reaction to Phelps' actions, and the picture (which the news continues to show at every given moment.). Most people don't care. It doesn't matter to them. Sure, the media and some people like to put sports legends on pedestals, and then laugh with a manicial glee when someone pushes them off. So if you look at someone like A-Rod, who, it was discovered in 2001 took Steroids while playing for the Rangers, was on a pedestal playing for the Yankees. And because it was the Yankees, people have taken perverse pleasure in destroying his whole career for things he did 7 years ago. With A-Rod, the problem is something that affected his playing, and is something that, presumably, everyone was doing. So again, what does it matter if A-Rod screwed up, because everyone else did. And if everyone got a question wrong on Jeopardy! they all lost the same amount of money. It's a level playing field. But I digress again. So:

Phelps screwed up... no one cared except the media, which thought it majorily important.

Tim Geitner: Sec. of Treasury currently under Obama. He forgot to pay self-employment taxes during the time he worked for an International agency in the past few years. And he's going to be running the IRS??? And he admitted that he screwed up, and paid back the taxes (although he said it was an accident, something the Tax software didn't catch. sure... right..) And the media, after some criticism, decided that it wasn't a big story and let it fall through the cracks. But if you polled the people, I bet you could find that most people thought he should have been kicked out and another more responsible person should be running the Treasury. Just nuts, if you ask me. So:

Geitner screwed up.. and everyone cared except the media, who let the story wash away with the tide.

And lastly, there's Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, who in his infinite wisdom, decided to sell Obama's Senate seat on Ebay. Well, sort of. Thing is, that's illegal, and immoral, since profitting off of a seat made to serve the people isn't what the founding fathers had in mind. To make things worse, the FBI and other agencies had ink detector in the pool, or in other words, they wire-tapped his phone, so they recorded all of his conversations. And they confronted him, and he denied it all. They impeached him, kicked him out of office for good. So:

Blagojevich screwed up... and everyone cared including the media, cause it was a big deal, but he denied it all, and he was punished and kicked out.

The point being is that, it all depends on what the problem is as to whether or not you need to apologize or deny it all, whether or not the media will think it a big deal, or not care (also, it depends on whether it's sweeps month, but that's another story). So the morals of whats right or wrong vary depending on the situation. This is not philosophically or relgiously accurate, and it makes for an interesting arguement. But of course, the easy answer is to make sure you don't pee in the pool in the first place. Go before you go.

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