Friday, January 13, 2012

What About Lance?

The Story Thus Far
As many of you may recall, I was negligent in my duties a while back and let the Quasitron 6000 Steam Powered Search Engine Thing fall into disrepair. This resulted in considerably less ranting on my part, cut off as I was from the world outside the Park.   But ultimately, repairs were made and yesterday I managed to scrape together enough coal and scrap lumber to get a fire going and build up a little steam and spin the dials and pull the chains that would tell me what was going on out there.

I Heard the News Today
Skimming across the usual stories of human folly and dog tricks that make up much of the news, I was stunned to learn that it was already an election year. Imagine my surprise! Apparently, that Son Of A Bush wasn't ruining things anymore and some foreign guy took over. At least his name looks foreign. Is that legal? Thinking perhaps that I might garner some blogular material by looking at the political news I jumped in.

Then I quickly jumped back out and took a quick shower with extra soap and resolved the same resolution  I make every four years:  to pretend that I live in the Emerald City and the Man Behind the Curtain is a benevolent man and everything will be alright. That may or may not be working out but who knows? I live in a trailer park.

Lance and Casey, Sittin' In A Tree...
Meanwhile, the Ol' Quaz kept chugging away and wheezing and rumbling as it is wont to do. I arranged the abacus-styled letter board into the roughly-hewn words “Cycling News” and got this result:

“Lance Armstrong Announces Marriage to Casey Anthony”

“What the hell,” I thought, "That can't be right."  I kicked the Quasitron strategically, causing it to shudder spasmodically before spitting out another result:

“Pope Declares Lance Armstrong Is the Antichrist.”

“What the heck has that fool boy done now?” I wondered. “I thought he retired.”

He only retired from Pro Cycling, said the Voice. He is still actively involved with his cancer charity.

“You mean LiveStrong? Why would that get the Pope going against him? Helping the families of cancer victims seems like a good thing. Sometimes I wonder about that Pope guy.”

Maybe the Quasitron needs another kick, the Voice replied.

So I broke up my last good chair and threw it on the fire. I wasn't going to kick the Ol' Quaz again; the care and maintenance of our machinery is a human responsibility. It is important, however, for humans to remember to keep their machinery simple and to never let any one machine rule over too many functions, lest we become mere slaves to the machine. That's why, in my wisdom, I ride an elderly steel bicycle with down tube shifters and employ a steam powered computer. But I was worried about this Lance stuff. I rearranged the the letters on the input abacus to say:

“What about Lance?”
Play Outside
This time my trusty Search Engine spit out a report and a reprint of an article in a popular thing called a “Glossy” that has a shiny surface and displays many shiny things that cost a lot of money.   But if you buy this glossy you can at least gaze in admiration at those things; and meanwhile gaze in envy and wonder at the blessed gods who can afford those things. This particular glossy is apparently called “Outside” and is aimed at people who would rather sit inside and look at pictures of the outdoors without actually going there and getting dirty and sweaty and bug-bit and all the gritty stuff that goes on “outside.”

I remember hearing my mom yell “Play outside!” as though it was some kind of punishment.

But my Mom is gone now and Lance Armstrong is still here and it seems as though a lot of people wish he was gone as well, but not me. I don't know Lance, but I respect him. And I'm wrong. People don't want Lance dead. They want him alive and sequestered at Guantanamo Bay or Leavenworth and they want him water-boarded and they want to take humiliating photos of him piled naked on a pile of fellow pro cyclists and they want to poke him with sticks and shoot him full of arrows.

St. Francis d' Armstrong
OK,  I got the arrows part from the photo accompanying the article in Outside Magazine. 
 That article did a kind of dirty thing. It didn't attack the man; it instead went after the charitable organization that he represents. It kinda-sorta made sneaky, devilish little insinuations that somehow, if Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs to become the World's Greatest Bicycle Hero, cancer sufferers should be left alone to face the vast void of the sickness and loss and pain of a debilitating disease that will strip you down and tear you to pieces, caring not if you are the victim or the caretakers of the victim, the tortured friends and family watching their loved ones slip away as ravaged and torn as a leaf in the rapids. A leaf in the rapids is lost, lost already the moment it leaves the tree, but that ride down the rapids, through the rocks and going faster than you can stand...

Listen: Every person in America knows someone who has died of cancer. It's that bad. And cancer people die. It is just the unavoidable truth. Did Lance use drugs to win those seven Tours? I don't know. I think he probably did. What if he just drank an extra glass of orange juice or used some sexual magick ritual involving lady rock stars and human sacrifice? Dammit People! Its professional sports! Our bloodthirsty television-addicted species won't be satisfied until we once again have coliseums filled with ravenous spectators demanding the death of the loser.

Here's the Part I Don't Get
But Lance Armstrong ain't a loser. In this case the ravenous crowd is calling for the death of the winner. Why? I'm still not certain. Maybe he is just that good. Is it really cheating when you play the game by the secret rules? Sure, it is ethically or morally wrong; but who amongst us stands on a high enough pinnacle of righteousness that we can judge?

Seven Tour de France Wins. Seven. Doped to the gills in a school of sharks also doped to the gills.

Scandals of sex and debauchery? No. Murder of ex-wife and her boyfriend? No. Bossing around and intimidating team members and fellow riders? Sure. Go win the biggest event in cycling seven times and that becomes almost a responsibility. I would do it.

Professional cycling ain't no Sunday school, folks. It's more like the world of gangsta  rap. (Do they still call it that?) You can meet death plying your trade. Intimidation is part of the skill set.

Back to the Park
Ok, Ok, let me take a breath here. The fires are quieting down in the Quasitron 6000, evening is upon us and I realize that I have been ranting. Me and Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog both need to go outside and do our business. It might interest my readers to know that I am a doper. Stay your outrage, I say, stay it! My dope is the beers and shots of rum it takes for me to strip away the veneer of bullshit that we all wear to get through the day In this our modern world. I cannot bare my inner thoughts without a little chain lube and self-eraser libation. It takes a certain amount of chemical soul-stripper to get to the truth.

Trailer Parks Are Where Its At
I am home and safe and free from the slings and arrows that Lance is facing, alone, out there in the dark night of fame and infamy. Godspeed Lance! Be thou not the fallen warrior! Fear not the rabid hyenas that circle the fire and jabber for your blood!

 You are an American Hero; twisted, flawed, but heroic all the same.

It is night; I have a home and a warm blanket on this chilly night at the Whispering Pines Trailer Park.

I hope all of you, also, are safe and warm.


Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Domestique Training Center


  1. no comments? podium? first?
    I love the image of the interwebs controlled by steam. Actually, I figure cyclists should have their own www powered by shiny cycling machines hooked up to lots of spinning parts and crts with sparks flying everywhere. We would establish a new world order, banish cars from the best hot mix tarmac and ride ourselves silly. Oh to dream...

  2. Interesting Post TJ. I have mixed emtions on this I loved following Lance during the glory years and certainly support the work his foundation does toward cancer awareness. But then you have the seamy underside of doping, bullying, intimidation etc but as you say bike racing ain't no Sunday School. I doubt we will ever get the full story and so we are left with a conundrum wrapped in an enigma that is Lance. I guess we just need to look outside the Pro Peleton for our hero's.......

  3. Amazing how few fish have risen to a bucket of berley. I really respect Lance. It wouldn't matter how many drugs you stuffed into me, I couldn't do what he did. Why do hero figures have to be perfect? Isn't it better to have such warriors flawed, afraid of failure and willing to do whatever is required? For the health of the men and women who ride I hope we never see those days again, but it was what it was.

  4. Tim Joe, my take is you nailed it again. Sometimes i think if all the media stopped for two weeks the world would be a better place.

  5. I'd say that is the problem with competitive sports - the competition becomes more important than the sports, and then of course the end justifies the means...

    Personally, I think Lance is a gifted athlete - but whether he's a clean athlete is beyond me. I do think his work with Livestrong gets him extra credit at the checkout, though.

    Glad you didn't make us wait a month between posts this time TJ! Nice to read something a bit different from the trailer park.

    Steve Z

  6. Damn TJ, you nailed it again, right down to the self-eraser libation!

  7. Good call timjoe.
    I could not care less if Lance signed a deal with a pharmaceutical giant to win. He took his "bully pulpit" and has made life better for a lot of people.
    Cancer sucks and is real life at its worst.

    Win or lose, the TdF is just a bike race

  8. The more I read you, sir, the more I think I need a bottle of whatever you're drinking. Keep up the good work!

    Brian in VA