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Tiger Woods

December 3, 2009

I knew Tiger was in trouble. When the woman he was rumored to be seeing extramaritally came home from Australia just days after he won a golf tournament in Australia, I thought right away, “Hmm, guess she was Down Under for a couple of weeks.”

C’mon, admit it, you were figuring she was Down Under the same person I was figuring.

What is it with men? We get a handful of change and hear a few people clapping for us and suddenly we think our ass smells like perfume and we can do whatever we want. And whoever we want. I’m not throwing stones here, because Lord knows I’m in no position to be self-righteous. I’m just shaking my head like everybody else. Jeepers, Tiger, what were you thinking? When you are possibly the most famous person in the world, does it really make sense to pick up strippers and cocktail waitresses in public places and assume it’ll be a secret?

“Shh, don’t tell anyone, okay? I’m married.”

“You have my word, Tiger. By the way, lover, the hotel bellman wants your autograph and the room service waiter says he’s a big fan and twenty members of the Melbourne Tiger Woods Fan Club are camped out in the lobby hoping to see you walk by.”

The story about the golf club and the back window of the SUV? Every man who ever pissed off a woman—in other words, all of us—knew immediately what happened in that driveway. All over America, men were visualizing poor Tiger running for his life, clicking his electronic key fob frantically to unlock the doors, diving into the vehicle, starting it up, and driving off with a madwoman chasing him on foot swinging a golf club.

Apparently she caught him, too. She gets mad props for that.

According to the police, Tiger was down on the ground and dazed when they arrived. I’m thinking he’s lucky to be alive. Scorned wife, golf club in her hands, husband on the ground—add that up and what do you get? A man’s head sits on his neck very much like a golf ball sits on a tee, when you think about it, and it’s reasonable to suspect Mrs. Woods found the similarity alluring for a second or two.

It’s amazing how stupid and foolish we (“we” as in men) can be when it comes to women. It started with Eve and went downhill from there. My personal opinion is that a man might as well have comical foibles, like this one, because at the end of our lives we’re all going to be looking back at various dumbass foibles and it would be nice to get a chuckle out of them.

One or two good stories for the other guys in the nursing home, is that too much to ask?

I worked with somebody back in West Michigan who had a good story. Call him John—since that was his name and enough time has passed that his anonymity is probably safe.

John was an elected official and therefore a public figure interested in keeping his image respectable just like Tiger Woods, but John also liked to enjoy a few drinks and have some fun. You see the contradiction, I’m sure. Imagine a West Michigan municipal-level version of Ted Kennedy.

John owned a rather isolated house with a nice fenced-in backyard that butted up against a steep tree-covered hill, at the top of which was a condominium development. The hill was high and the trees were thick so it was like he didn’t have neighbors at all, which was handy because he owned big dogs who barked and pooped a lot. Close neighbors would have complained, especially since he scooped up all the dog doo and simply chucked it over the fence.

One night, for whatever reason, John was sitting in his family room naked with his naked wife, gazing out through the sliding screen door at his backyard and his big dogs, when, for whatever reason, he said something rude to his wife. He wouldn’t tell me what he said or why they were naked (no matter how many drinks I bought him) so we are reliant upon our imaginations, but whatever he said riled her enough that she got up, fetched a handgun, and re-entered the family room firing.

John went out the screen door without opening it and then stumbled off the wooden deck into the yard where he landed face first in a large freshly-created dog pile—which saved his life, he thinks, based on the nearness of the bullets zipping overhead.

He always had a knack for looking on the positive side of things.

When she finally stopped to reload, he jumped up and started running again. When he got to the back of the yard he vaulted the fence—still naked, mind you—but caught his foot in the wooden slats and tumbled head over heels into the landing area for three years worth of chucked dog poop. John isn’t that athletic you see, and a bit on the short and plump side, and he was well into a brand new bottle of whiskey when the shootout started, so you can see how this might happen.

Ever the positive thinker, he told me why the dog poop, which was now smeared all over his pasty white face and body, was a good thing: “The dog poop made me brown, J.P. So she couldn’t see me. I was back there in the trees at night with all that dog poop on me. It was perfect camouflage!”

John hunkered down, scooted off on hands and knees through the bushes and the trees and the dog poop—naked—and started climbing that big hill behind his house in the dark while his wife stood on the deck—naked—and fired & reloaded, fired & reloaded, fired & reloaded, emptying clips blindly into the hillside as fast as she could, so that it seemed to him very much like he was in a war. When he finally reached the condominiums he nonchalantly knocked on a door—still naked, also scratched, bleeding, and smeared with dog poop from head to toe—and asked the woman who answered if she would call the sheriff's office and lend him a towel.

I’m thinking John could teach the French a thing or two about savoir-faire.

He ended up divorced and he lost his next election because of the publicity, but he made some good friends at the sheriff’s department, where they found his escape wildly entertaining, and he has a great story for the nursing home… if he lives long enough to enter a nursing home. I hear he’s married again.

Tiger Woods has a pretty good story, too. After all, he’s a golfer and his wife chased him with a golf club. It doesn’t get any better than that. Golfers love hearing a good story—they’re like fishermen that way—and he’ll be a star storyteller in clubhouses and nursing homes for the rest of his life.

That’s the silver lining.

He’s made a damn fool of himself, sure, but most of us do at some point. It’s how we handle our redemption that matters more than how we appeared to the world at our low point. If he remembers that his wife is the offended party, reacts with honesty and humility to all that transpires, and endeavors to reconcile with God so that he can reconcile with his wife, he and his wife and their marriage will be fine. I hope that’s how it happens for them.

When he released a statement yesterday confessing “transgressions,” a woman at work started fuming about men in general. “That’s why I won’t get married!” she said. “Men can’t be trusted, and the only way to handle them is tell them to go ahead, do whatever they want—but if they do something, you’ll go out and find someone and do something, too. Tit for tat!”

“Does that work?” I asked.

“Damn right it works! Men love the tit, but they can’t stand even thinking about the tat!”

Hard to sum it up better than that.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

December 13, 2009 - The whole situation is a bummer. I feel for the whole family. What you discussed about men and money is true, and has been studied. Women are completely different when it comes to money and ego. I just think about some of these atheletes who are away from their wives for months at a time. For a married man (or woman) to not have "relations" at all, for months at a time....sorry, but it's not natural. I don't like what he did, but until you've been in someone else's shoes... - Samantha, Michigan
J.P. replies: It's awfully nice of you to wax forgiving, but here's what you say to your husband. You say, "Honey, I've been thinking about this Tiger Woods incident and I really like that golf club idea." Trust me, you want that image dwelling in the back of his mind.

December 3, 2009 - That's a funny story about the politician! Best wishes, - Steve, Virginia
J.P. replies: And the whole thing is true. Every bit of it. He made a half-hearted attempt to keep the incident private, but it didn't work. By the way, usually policemen are less than thrilled about having to approach angry drunks carrying guns, but when the call went out over the radio that John's wife was naked on the back deck shooting into the trees, every deputy in the county rushed over there. Even a couple paid-on-call firefighters showed up to "help."

December 3, 2009 - What bothers me the most is not the affair, but the affairs and the fact that it went on for 31 months...? That's more then a "Transgression" that's being greedy and wanting all the fat kids cake and yours for yourself... Not to mention his wife was pregnant when it started...that's just wrong on too many levels. Great post, I'm also a fellow MI (Dearborn) refugee living in Nevada (Vegas) :) - Erika. Las Vegas
J.P. replies: Something tells me this issue has struck a nerve with women. I wonder why.

December 3, 2009 - I always thought Tiger was one of the good guys, faithful family man...blah, blah. You're right... if he keeps in mind that the offended party is his wife, he may be able to resolve things. I think you nailed it for anybody in a conflict... It's important to remember who is the offended party in a dispute and be willing to admit our faults and not cry victim ourselves. - Boomer Pie, Grand Rapids, Michigan
J.P. replies: Maybe Tiger was one of the good guys but hung around with people who were a bad influence. (Yes, that's a dig at his best friend, Michael Jordan. As a lifelong Pistons fan and Isiah Thomas admirer, I can't resist a chance to throw a shot at His Airness.)

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