A newly-wedded friend recently traveled to his bride’s out-of-town family christening, a conclave that he couldn’t have been dragged to in any of his pre-wedded years had the combination of free money and easy nubility been offered.  In other words, the guy had proven himself capable of compromise and emotional growth.

Another friend, on the other hand, remained stunted beneath a thick layer of emotional silt.  So when his girlfriend asked him to join her at a family wedding, he parried, “you don’t want me to go, you want who you want me to be to go.”

See, that’s how it works.  So there’s a lot to dredge up from that fetid moat of childhood angst when searching for the cause of our myriad maledictions, malfeasances, and misalignments.  Of course, speaking for myself, I’m now wearing orthotics, so I’ve got that alignment thing on the right track.

But it has become vogue, this cathartic hip-wade through the fetid pools of formative experience in search of any and all trauma – real and imagined – with which to absolve our adult transgressions and their teared-stained consequences.  Yeah, it can’t possibly be me, could it?  Had to be someone else who caused my gibbery-assed condition.  Why be master of my own domain – in the non-Seinfeldian sense – when I can put the blame on somebody else?

(“Cough, cough.  Mommy?  Daddy?  I can’t see you.  Are you there?  It’s dark.”)

This superego search for release has not only stirred up the indelicacies once interred beneath the open-air temple of free will but also caused a brackish light to be cast through our rectory of subsequent responsibility.

Maybe because it’s the anniversary of D-Day that got me thinking about the deep sense of responsibility and selflessness which that great undertaking instilled in the thousands of young American men facing withering fire along the beaches of Normandy.  Or maybe something closer to home and time, the story of 30-year U.C. Santa Barbara track and cross country coach Pete Dolan being dismissed for “allegations of misconduct”, which the coach described as “typical of that natural friction between a coach and competitive athlete”.  It seems he made some of his charges feel “uncomfortable”.

So it seems that today, after churning through the white water rapids of emotional conflict and growth, we have floated into the overly limpid pool of extreme empathy. In the process, we have absolved ourselves of all oversight that might necessitate a stiffening of our children’s increasingly fragile sense of self.

If you cannot be on par with the best and the brightest, then we shall diminish what it means to be the best and the brightest.  All must shine, or none.  And you know where that leads, to the aisle of refrigerator-light bulbage and a society of…


Winner, winner, winner,

Winner, winner, winner,

Winner, winner, winner,

Nothing but winners,

Everyone is a winner, everything,

Is a winner. Everywhere there

Are winners.

Every entrant, every starter,

Every finisher, every onlooker.

Winner, winner, winner.

Winner, winner, winner,

Each as much as the next.

No, no distinction. You stand,

You win.  You start, you win.

You drop, you win. We only

Sign winners.  A sport of winners,

In a race of winners,

In a country of winners.

Here, here’s your medal,

To prove you’re a winner,

Winner, winner, winner,

Winner, winner, winner,

Winner, winner, winner,

Are we ever,

Gonna learn?


9 thoughts on “WINNERS

  1. Toni, you and I have spoken about this many times. I couldn’t agree more. It makes me nauseous.

  2. I still wear my Tecate to Ensenada “I Finished” tee shirt from 1981 as a confidence booster when I run out of Abilify.

      1. Si senor Mobil, soy yo. Over 40 years right? I was reading an article online addressing legalized gambling and its’ affect on various sports… golf, track & field, darts, you name it.
        There were dozens of related articles, blogs & postings and I stumbled onto your thoughts
        with respect to the running sports. Very enjoyable. I liked the way you laid out the pros & cons without a definitive conclusion. Presently it’s a hypothetical. However, in my self appointed position of Arbiter I am not so constrained. The answer is yes. Gambling wil increase interest. I’ve been in enough sports books, casinos, otb’s to know that you can bet on anything. (especially in the UK) If it’s not on the board make your proposition and you’ll get the odds. Gamblers are dreamers without a conscience (they will bet the rent) and they are legions. Will this corrupt the sport? Yes. Most certainly. Humans + money = corruption. Will anyone care? No. Now that the Amercan culture is in full decline ( the environment, morality, religion, government, politics etc.) it won’t matter. It seems the key to survival is eyeballs & ears (ratings). I rarely bet on anything. Despite that I’m a fan of many sports. Right now I’m watching my Red Sox crush the Yankees 11-0 in the 9th. Are any of these guys juicin’? Who knows? Yankee Stadium is packed as Fenway will be next week. The game survives! Creating interest is the key to survival
        By the way Toni, I’m gonna need your help with my trifecta for next years’ Boston Marathon.
        Toni, send me an email I’ll send you my number.

  3. Love it, Toni!!! Such a true depiction of societal expectations today….with an almost Shakespearean write-up style….

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