Friday, January 18, 2013

The Needle and the Damage Done

Before we start, it should be noted that every junkie is like the setting sun.

You have to understand that I've watched the Tour de France devotedly for at least the last ten years.  I can't quite remember when I started, but I remember The Look, and that tells you enough.  And of those ten-plus years, I watched easily 90% of each race.  A given Tour is roughly three weeks long with two rest days; I might miss one day a year.  Between fifty and sixty hours in total.  Annually.

So I'm pretty committed.

Last night I invested another three hours watching Lance talk to Oprah.  Twice.

The first time through I decided that, since he was an arrogant, lying prick, I'd not actually listen to what he had to say but instead watch the show with the sound down and music on the stereo.  Just to get a feel for the thing, you understand.

Kind of like watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

The Needle and the Damage Done is two minutes long.  So I listened to it about 45 times on continuous loop.  I sat on my sofa channeling Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, listening to the song, watching the TV, metronomically turning the light on and off at about a two second interval.

They rebroadcast the interview a second time and I listened to that one with the sound on, the music off, and the light on.

Wow.  How unsatisfactory on so many levels.

The second half of the interview airs tonight, so I'll hold off on my full report until then.  But it felt very much like here was a man engaged in a calculated marketing effort; a man feeling very little remorse for the extraordinary damage he did; and, for a guy who was supposed to be apologizing for telling a string of massive lies, a man who couldn't stop lying.

Lying might be the wrong word.  Parsing the truth might more accurately describe the process.  But in my soul of souls I believe some of it was outright lying too.

The one that bugged me the most was his suggestion that he was no different than anybody else in the peloton and he was just going along for the ride like everyone else.  One more Joe.  This I do not accept.

I leave now for a doctor's appointment.  Not to worry -- nothing of consequence, simply the rigorous maintenance of this magical vessel amongst which I sail the waters of life.  But before I go I'm opening my Kindle and downloading Tyler Hamilton's book "The Secret Race."  I would urge you to do the same.

As you long-time readers would expect, here are the lyrics to the Neil Young song

I caught you knockin'
At my cellar door
I love you, baby,
Can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done.

I hit the city and
I lost my band
I watched the needle
Take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done.

I sing the song
Because I love the man
I know that some
Of you don't understand
To keep from running out.

I've seen the needle
And the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's
Like a settin' sun.

We're all junkies, friends.  Just so we're clear.


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