SERIAL ADULTERER JESSE JAMES has now tearfully confessed on television that he has been unfaithful to his movie-star wife Sandra Bullock. Tiger Woods’ famously wooden apology was truly cringe-inducing. Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor, confessed to numerous infidelities as his humiliated wife stood stone-faced behind him on the dais. Every day, it seems, some famous person ruins their life and then apologizes to me.
“Why?” I ask the TV, shaking my head. “I don’t care. It’s none of my business.”
And yet every time I stand in a supermarket line, I’m assaulted with images of human frailty. The rich and famous at risk of losing all they’ve worked for, sacrificing the innocence of their children, not to mention putting in jeopardy their lucrative endorsement deals. I stare in amazement as I watch my fellow shoppers all but drool over this pile of steaming excrement with goggle-eyed intensity.
Schadenfreude is a German word meaning “pleasure at the misfortune of others.” Its symptoms include the reading of People magazine, poring over The New York Post on your morning subway commute, watching E! television, and chatting with others about these peccadilloes while you cluck your tongue and make the “isn’t-that-tragic?” face. Schadenfreude results in a temporary feeling of superiority, but always ends in self-loathing. The cure? Knock it off!
But people seem unable to hole up in the crash pad with only orange juice and chocolate bars and sweat it out until they shake the schadenfreude monkey, so I recommend another cure, where Tiger Woods looks into the camera and says:
I’m a bad person. I know I’m a bad person. I got caught in a lie and now everyone knows I’m a bad person. My personal life is in a shambles because of what I’ve done. But it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I do not owe you an apology. I do not owe my fans an apology. The only people to whom I owe an apology have already received it, in private. And what I said to them is none of your business.
To my sponsor, I don’t know why my personal life matters when it comes to the merits of Gatorade, but if you think it does, so be it. I suggest you avoid using celebrities to sell your energy drink. If it’s any good, it will sell itself.
To my fans, I say: Get a life. Not me, nor anyone in the public eye should be a role model for your kids. You should be their role model. I’m just someone who’s famous. Obviously, you don’t have to be smart or a good person to be famous. I’m neither. I might be good at what I do on the golf course, but beyond that, you have no claim on me. For the duration of the match, you have a right to expect my best. But the rest of my life is mine. You have no right to it; you have not purchased it, and I refuse to give it to you. I would never wish on my worst enemy the kind of scrutiny my family and I have been subjected to since my world-class screw up. Please leave me alone and please, please, please, leave my family alone. It’s none of your business.
If Tiger made a statement like that, I’d probably take up golf.