The End of Lance Armstrong: Is Forgiveness Out of the Question?Serge Bielanko
Let’s get right to it, shall we.
What the hell do we do with this Lance Armstrong dude now?
I mean, he’s about to reveal himself as one of the biggest cheaters and liars in the history of sports during an era of 25-hour-a-day media madness, so we have to do something. Don’t we?
It’s our right.
It’s our duty.
Along comes a handsome hero who seemingly had it all and then pissed it away with a web of lies and deceit ( AND he got rich and famous doing it), you and I both know that the proverbial fruit is just too ripe not to be plucked and savored by even the coarsest living amongst us.
Hell yeah, Armstrong is a sitting duck. But, he’s OUR sitting duck. And we are Duck Commanders.
Now, I’ll admit it.
I have spent at least five minutes at a clip ignoring that rabidly annoying question on my Facebook wall, “How are you doing, Serge?” (How am I doing? I’m doing shitty, that’s how I’m doing! I’m staring at my Facebook wall for God’s sakes, so how awesome does that sound to you?!?! How do you think I’m friggin’ doing?!) in favor of trying to think up short bursts of original wit to write about the fallen cyclist to my “Friends” scattered all over the western hemisphere (I am not as popular in the Eastern parts of the world just yet), most of whom I have never met and am absolutely beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt-certain would not like me at all if we did in fact ever meet.
But why, you know?
What’s the point?
I ask myself this rhetorically for your benefit because, at this moment in time, if you and I have anything at all even remotely in common, it is probably the fact that we are both thinking that Lance Armstrong’s crumbling house of cards is about the most lame-o disappointing burning bag of dog dirt tossed up onto our front step in a long, long time. Or at least in the last week or so.
The thing is, me and you, we don’t have much time to beat around this 15-speed moron’s burning bush, now do we? When somebody more talented and better looking and probably cooler (Are you bongo drum friends with Matthew McConaughey? Didn’t think so!) and faster on a bike and better at helping cancer patients and better at getting like half the planet to wear a fashion item that no one in the history of the world would have ever dreamed would fly, when someone like that screws their own life up in a way that is so monumentally unbelievable that our Twitter fingers begin to quiver and shake with anticipation, us normal regular peons down here in the everyday mud deserve what’s coming to us, huh?
We are practically constitutionally-guaranteed the right to tenderize this guy’s ass with our keyboard mallets.
And, in a way, we have to do it. We have to shame him. We have to call for his downfall. We have to laugh at him and create clever memes of him and watch him squirm in the Oprah lights and shout things at him on our flat-screen while our pets look at us, sheepishly/disgusted, just like they have been looking at us for years now; millions of cats and dogs being all,”Dude, WTF is wrong with you?”
We will open a can of 100-Proof American Pullout Sofa Whoop Ass on one mister Lance Armstrong, because why?
Because we can, that’s why.
And that’s that.
He f%$#@d up and he is ours.
But then, in a moment of strange clarity/tenderness ( I am rarely clear or tender), I look at my own two kids, the center of my world come hell or highwater, and I think to myself, “Oh damn, what if it was them someday?”
What if they were the cheater? Or even more likely, what if they were old enough to judge someone now? What would I want them to think?
It’s all more of a pickle than it seems, I guess. But mostly we don’t stop to see stuff that way anymore. Mostly, we wanna pop off.
Anyway, he’s confessing. He did it. So now what?
Do we just throw him to the wolves?
Or worse, do we stick him on Dancing With The Stars?
Armstrong was a cancer killer, or as close to one as we’ve ever had in the Entertainment Tonight prime time eyeball. But that was then. Is he useless to us now?
Do we make him an example? Or do we start to notice that our examples really don’t add up to much? Pete Rose was an example. Don’t mess up in baseball, we said. Take that, Charlie Hustle. Guess what? You’re banned for life. Then a million more guys messed up baseball in much worse ways until banning them would have made everyone look like an ass.
If Armstrong has the carpet pulled out from under him, the way he pulled it out from all of us, and especially from his fellow cyclists who he repeatedly threw under the bus, will we feel better or not? Will we understand what went wrong? And will he?
I’m not questioning whether the guy needs to pay a price; he does. But what price? If he loses his big house and his kids are further shamed and his wife leaves him and his crow’s feet begin to eat away at his good looks and he has to pay fines until he is working at some Carvel in the Austin suburbs , will we be happy?
If he had a heart attack in the mall, would we sigh and say, “You get what you deserve”?
I don’t know the answers. Maybe he does deserve that stuff. Maybe he doesn’t.
What I’m asking is… are we the kind of people who could ever find a way to forgive a guy like Lance Armstrong or not?
Or do we admit that it’s just too much to even consider laying off another human being when they are standing right there, like a damn fool, in the crosshairs of our utter disappointment?
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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