I know, I know, it should be "ARE" you for real. I just stole the headline from the lyrics of a 1970s song by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ("Be for Real"). Nothing wrong with a 53-year-old white guy from a lilly-white town in central Michigan talkin' like he's from the 'hood, is there? (FYI, I LOVE the late Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, but that's a blog for a different day.)
Anyway, I digress. My point in this blog is that it seems more and more these days, we find we've been deceived. Supposed heroes or sympathetic characters on whom we can pour out our admiratiion too often turn out to be phonies, hypocrites or massive disappointments.
Many a politician has been discovered to be a philandering cad. Ditto for supposedly upright preachers and televangelists.
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, who played 24 seasons in the Major Leagues, is strongly suspected of using steroids. Home run studs Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were known steroid users. It goes without saying that many college and NFL football players are on "the juice."
Cyclist Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of Tour de France, has been busted and had his titles taken away for use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Notre Dame football linebacker Manti Te'o is now humiliated by national coverage about his fake girlfriend (possibly just a "virtual" computer girlfriend, or maybe a fake honey created by malicious practical jokers). I haven't kept up on the story, but have heard bits and pieces about sob stories (she got in a serious auto accident and/or was being treated for cancer). All bogus B.S., and I wish the media would give it a rest.
And this past week, we learned that superstar Beyonce, a 16-time Grammy Award winner, lip-sync-ed the national anthem during President Obama's inauguration ceremony.
I could launch into a rant about how so much of the Obama administration is nothing but smoke-and-mirrors, hypocritical legerdemain, but I won't go there.
Steroids, fake performances by singers, phony personas by high-profile politicians and televangelists... All of these should come as no surprise, as they simply ratify and verify what we've known for thousands of years: Humans are flawed ("fallen" to use biblical terminology). We often try to deceive others for the benefit of our own advantage, be it money, prestige or simple ego-stroking.
What's the "take-away" lesson to be learned? Well, I guess I will use the analogy of young, attractive females (i.e., don't be too quick to give away your virginity -- there are lots of dirtbag predators out there who will sweet-talk and deceive just to satisfy their lustful desires). Think long and hard. Be cynical and skeptical. Question. Ponder. Be cautious.
The world is rife with people (athletes, musicians, writers, politicians, theologians, businessmen), who will use any illicit advantage they can find if it enables them to get a leg up on the competition, win awards, earn more money, get promoted, get laid, get their ego stroked... Take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt and healthy doses of skepticisim.
Myself, I don't feel disillusioned by the steroid use, lip-syncing, philandering and other public embarrassments. Simply because I don't put people up on pedestals, and I regard a lot of the daily bread-n-circuses as "The Grand Illusion" (Styx, 1977).
Someday soon we'll stop to ponder what on Earth's this spell we're under
We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are...