Childhood munchies

If you were to stand shoulder to shoulder with Michael Phelps, at first glance the winner, as is customary when he enters a contest, would be Michael Phelps. Mike’s body fat number is less than Paris Hilton’s IQ. You have been known to do the ‘Truffle Shuffle’ when drunk and with your college buddies. Mike burns an elephantine amount of calories everyday while he trains hours on end. You gain three pounds just sniffing a donut while grocery shopping with your wife. He has umpteen gold medals and has set Olympic records. Your claim to fame is a card trick you learned after watching Criss Angel that Criss does so much better than you but you try. But take a closer look. Amazingly, it might just be the Olympic hero who is trying to measure himself up against you.
From the time his mom slipped on his first swim diapers, Michael Phelps has been training. The guy has spent more time in the water than the Black Manta. The formative years of his life, his youth, were formed along the 100 meters of lane 7. Our youth? We spent it daydreaming through class, drinking with our friends, trying to contain our insatiable libido, shopping at the mall, and experimenting with illegal drugs(if you were like my friends, you ran well beyond experimentation and jumped firmly into full scientific theory). We basically spent our adolescence and early twenties one party short of puffing on a Hookah pipe, running moonshine, and fulfilling all of our hedonistic dreams.
So what does an Olympic champion, role model to millions, and face of millions of dollars worth of endorsements yearn for(besides an all inclusive vacation to Amsterdam)? His childhood.
Mike is longing to be 18 again. To live the life we all did before our metabolisms slowed to a sloth’s pace, we lost our hair(some of us more than others), and we had to get out of the pool and get into the “real world”. So at 19 Mike got busted driving under the influence in Maryland. Now at 23 his picture has been plastered over the miles of Internet superhighway sucking on a bong(CNN described it as a marijuana pipe? You so know the person who wrote that is over 50, lives with 8 cats, and for fun goes bird watching don’t you? Marijuana pipe? Where did they do their research a 1950’s Health class filmstrip?) Can we blame him? He is only doing what we all did(I can admit all of this now confident the statute of limitations has long since passed on any illicit behavior I may have been party to in my past) when we were young. Things his training, manager, and publicist prevented him from doing when we all would have passed it off in the window of being “young and dumb”(a window that is not opened for long).
So what now? He made his obligatory, “I’m sorry it was stupid of me”apology(I’m sure he wasn’t sorry after he sucked up a few tokes on that thing and was giggling at the word “puppy”). He has risked millions of dollars worth of endorsements for the sake of a little herb and an excuse to eat a full bag of pork rinds. But as we have learned with other celebrities, we forgive and forget. Kobe Bryant was on trial for rape not that long ago. His endorsements disappeared faster than a Jack Madoff investment. Today? He has the top selling jersey in the NBA. Hugh Grant got caught with a prostitute. His romantic encounter with his street professional hasn’t seem to dry up his film roles? Time heals all wounds. Being found innocent and apologizing on Jay Leno helps a ton too.
Parents are crying from their soapboxes he has tarnished his role model image to millions of kids across the world(millions of kids who were going to be rolling fatties and becoming teen parents whether or not Mr. Phelps told them to ‘just say no’ or not.). Frankly, I find this to be a wonderful opportunity to reinforce to my children that their role models are fallible, just like the rest of us, and a swimmer(and in this case any celebrity) may not be the person you want to emulate in your life. Maybe they should try a teacher, or a community leader, or the guy who landed the plane in the Hudson River(for the record, I want to be like Sully). Blaming our children’s potential moral decay on Michael Phelps’ not living up to his “image” as he tried to fire up one more hit from his bong is gross negligence on the part of any parent.
In the end, don’t hate Michael Phelps. The man has made history(for a variety of reasons now). He did what any one else in the situation would do, he apologized,
try to make us believe his contrition, made sure the Olympic Committee wasn’t going to throw him out of the sport(Surprisingly weed seems to be okay with the Committee. Steroids, NyQuill, Tylenol, or Ginko Biloba? Well then we have a problem.) and now he’s ready for his next commercial.
Take another glance at him. We should feel sorry for him. He’s only trying to go back and do what we all did many moons ago. While he was on television winning gold medals against the sports greatest athletes we were in beer pong tournaments going against some of that sport’s greatest athletes. Let him get crazy a little bit. (Expect a sex tape to surface soon enough.)Your parents and your insurance company forgave you for your adolescence. So let’s forgive Michael Phelps for his. You can’t blame a guy for wanting in on his childhood. Olympic champion or not.

One response to “Childhood munchies

  1. Great work, Jimmy. I totally agree. I too was an experienced youth. My parents could have cared less if I made anything of myself, so I didn’t really care either. The guy is goal oriented and motivated that’s for sure. I used to deliver milk for Hbg. Dairies. I unloaded 5-10,000 lbs. 4 days a week, and I was in the best shape of my life. It didn’t take long either. So when I got my Shape I told Rob that I was going look like that in about 3 mths., he said “yeh, right”. I explained to him that I’d have to workout for 12 hrs. a day to look like that. People in the real world don’t have time for all that. So yeh, I don’t see Phelps throwing all his hard work and career down the toilet for 20 min. of partying. People, get real. And get off our asses.


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