8.18.2008

Anecdotes & Story-Telling

So word on the street is that McCain copied his oh so memorable "cross in the dirt" story from Solzhenitzyn. Will the mainstream media care? No, oh no. Just like the Edwards affair is front page news but the Vicky Iseman story gets absolutely no traction. McCain is like Gotti, and this stuff just doesn't stick.

Meanwhile we have Michael Phelps and the oft repeated story about him pretending not to recognize one of his former tormentors after he made the Olympic team back in 2000:
Long before he had the likes of Lochte and Cseh to inspire him, Phelps was motivated by his tormenters. His mother, Debbie, remembered an 11-year-old Phelps emerging in tears from the locker room at Towson University during a swim meet because two boys from another team were making merciless fun of him.

Four years later, in 2000, after Phelps qualified for the United States Olympic team in the 200 butterfly, one of those boys came up to him in the stands at the Indiana University-Purdue University natatorium to congratulate him. As Debbie Phelps remembered recently, the kid said to Phelps, “Remember me? I swim with ...”

Phelps looked him in the eyes and said, “I don’t seem to recall who you are.” After the boy left, Debbie Phelps said she turned to her son and said, incredulous, “Michael, you really didn’t remember him?” He told her: “Yes I did. But I was not going to give him that sense of satisfaction.”
Wow. You showed him Phelps. But the best part is, now that asshole undoubtedly knows that Phelps knew who he was all along! He wins! Sure, Phelps gets the eight medals and all that, but that kid now knows Phelps did know him back in 2000, in my mind an even greater prize than any number of medals.

And what do these stories teach us? The easier the moral, the more compelling the soundbite. Simple. Or is it?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found that particular story to be pretty petty. Is he that thin skinned that he couldn't let go of the hate of an 11 year old (his presumable age)? What that story tells me is that the "tormenter" probably grew up, was probably a well adjust teenager, and wanted to congratulate Phelps on his accomplishment. Phelps, on the other hand, showed that he retained the emotional state of an ego-injured 11 year old and refused to accept the compliment or even acknowledge his former rival.

Also...isn't that what rival teams do? Pick on eachother? It wasn't like it was a TEAM-MATE or CLASS-MATE. It was a RIVAL (presumably from another school).

I hope he has grown up. I'll grant him the fact that it was his mother that brought up the story, but Phelps certainly seemed "in the moment" while contributing to it.

Nostradamus said...

Yes! Exactly! Well said!