When David Gergen declared with a voice filled with passion on “Face the Nation” that “the country is devastated” by former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus’ infidelity, I said, with equal passion, to my wife:
“No, the country is not devastated! The country is getting used to it.”
The country is disappointed, not devastated, although the general’s wife, family and friends undoubtedly are devastated.
I almost resented Gergen’s use of “devastated,” in view of the recent real and terrible devastation Hurricane Sandy visited upon the still-suffering people in the Northeast. Now that’s devastation!
What Petraeus did is almost routine today. Online surveys on male infidelity run the gamut, suggesting that between 22 percent and 60+ percent of husbands cheat on their wives.
Notable affairs in high places include those by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, to name only a few.
The practice of men allowing hormones to prevail over horse sense – leading to broken marriages, homes and careers – dates back to the Garden of Eden when Adam ruined a very good situation by eating the forbidden apple.
Only the possibility of a national security breach makes the General’s “sin of the flesh” unique enough to mention.
Administrative Judge Fred Morrison Jr. faced a no-win situation when he ruled that the mountain town of Brasstown cannot legally hold its traditional New Year’s Eve ’possum drop.
Had he ruled against PETA, the animal-rights group opposed to the event, he would have incurred wrath exceeding that of a woman scorned.
Morrison’s ruling said Brasstowners could kill the ’possum, but not hold it in captivity. The animal cannot be “humiliated” as PETA charges it would be, by being lowered 20 feet in a cage on the midnight countdown marking the start of 2013.
I’m now beginning to understand what Mr. Bumble meant when, in Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” he said, “The law is a ass, a idiot.”
The ’possum is perhaps the homeliest of animals. Even its smile is more like a sneer. It is a sneaky critter, although practically harmless unless cornered.
My father was the only member of my family who ate ’possum, although my brothers dearly loved to hunt them. Lying in bed, I could hear the baying of the dogs echoing through the night as they treed their prey.
Although I’m heartily opposed to cruelty to animals, I question whether the ‘possum drop constitutes extreme cruelty.
Who knows? Mr. Possum, who would have been released after the nonalcoholic shindig, might have strutted home proud at being chosen for such an honor, the ’possum land equivalent of being voted Homecoming King or American Idol.
Imagine him walking in the door and saying, “Come hither, wife! Listen up, kids! You’ll never believe what happened to me tonight!”
The ’possum, a true Southerner, is one of only a few animals memorialized in song:
Is it true what they say about Dixie?
Does the sun really shine all the time?
Do the sweet magnolias blossom
At everybody’s door?
Do the folks keep eating ’possum
’ Til they can’t eat no more?
I’m pleased that the UNC School of Journalism plans to toughen the grammar and spelling test that is a degree prerequisite.
Perhaps football coach Larry Fedora could drop by for a session or two.
I like the Fedora and believe he can turn the football program around – athletically if not academically. But as many of us do, he fumbled his grammar in a comment after the Heels lost to Georgia Tech, although they scored 50 points. “If I would have saw that coming, I probably wouldn’t have shown up today,” he said.
The quote reminded me of the time a neighbor remarked to a friend at church, “I rode by your house yesterday.”
“You did?” the friend replied, “Well, why didn’t you honk your horn? I would have flang up my hand and wove at you.”
What conservative columnist George Will wrote after the election might well apply to all elections: “Many people are more informed when picking a refrigerator than when picking a president.”