Friday, March 14, 2008

Ahh, Humility

I have some sad sad news to report. You might want to sit down for this. Are you ready? When I was out on an easy 4 miler at lunch today I noticed something strange. As I ran by the back door of the Hustler Club I noticed it was open and I saw a pole all alone inside in the dark. And as I turned the corner I noticed some guys carrying things out the front door and then I noticed the marquee was gone! NO!!!! Not the Hustler Club! It was the only thing to get me through those blizzardy fartleks when I felt like I couldn't go on! I suspect now I will be entertained by demolition. The last time there was a swath of empty buildings in the flats like that they were leveled within weeks. Soon I will run in the company of cranes and back hoes and hooting construction workers. Ok. I guess that will have to do.

But as I was finishing up my four miler and reflecting on the demise of the Hustler Club, my mind wandered to Eliot Spitzer. I guess I should preface this with the fact that I have a bit of a curious fascination with the sex industry. I get it, but I don't get it. I'm sure it's because I'm a woman, but I really don't get why men would upend their lives for sex: ruin relationships, risk disease, ruin careers, waste gobs of money etc. And even more peculiar to me is what causes a woman to enter the sex industry? The Eliot Spitzer case is a perfect case study and it fascinates me. Anyway, as I was running I was thinking about the fact that the prositution ring was called the Emperor's Club and how I always associate the words "the fall of" with every Empire.

And this got me to thinking about myself. I am totally one of those people who just as she starts to think she's hot and starts to strut she trips on the sidewalk and looks like a fool! I am glad that happens to me and keeps me in check. I like being stuck on earth. But really, I read something about why the scandal is so particularly damaging to Spitzer: no one likes him. He was a horribly cocky asshole to everyone that got in his way and he had no friends. He staked his whole political career on squashing people like bugs. He is just that quintessential case of getting too big for his britches. The more tyrannical the empire, the farther it has to fall and the more humiliating that fall is. And worse still, no one will be there to help clean up. Sad.

And this got me thinking back to my pecking order post. When runners get too cocky about their abilities and alienate those around them there will be no one there for them when they get injured or sick or life gets in the way. As I struggle with my down time I am glad I have a lot of friends who have been there and when I feel bad about and worry that people think less of me that I'm not out there racing well right now that kind of stuff helps me feel better and confident I can pick it back up when the time is right, like Chelle (seriously, she is the patron saint of comebacks!)

Anyway, speaking of embarassing, I don't think I told you this exciting news: I'm being audited. When I found out a few weeks ago I collected all my records and upon my review, I realized I made a really stupid mistake. I'm a tax lawyer and I'm supposed to know what I'm doing. And of course the error was in my favor so I've been sweating how I was going to handle it. I was pretty sure that they would give me an extra hard time about it because of my job, assuming I did it on purpose. I really didn't. For a tax attorney, I am terrible with minutia and details. I have never ever taken an accounting class. In fact, the extent of my accounting knowledge comes from the Accounting for Dummies book sitting over there on my book shelf. I was even a math minor and only did well in math because I got the big concepts just fine, but I'd always get dinged for arithmetical errors. I am into policy and fighting the man, not so much filling out forms and sometimes my lack of interest in and attention to detail causes me to make stupid mistakes that come back to bite me.

But yes, as I walked up the stairs to the auditor's office, I pictured my future spending time whittling and singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot in the federal penitentiary alongside gruffy man-voiced biker chicks, detoxing junkies, and young women with scary boyfriends with tears tattooed on their cheeks. But once in, I sucked it up and admitted the moronic mistake and it was no big deal. I told the auditor about it and he agreed it was a mistake, but he was nice about it and laughed with me about my lack of skill in tax return preparing. I will owe a few hundred dollars. Oh well. I'm sure if I went in there all bad-assed tax lawyer I'd be screwed right now. Ahh, humility.

In other news, I ordered the hook-up thingee for my camera so I should be able to upload some pics from our trip early next week. When I do, I'll tell you all about the Arizona excitement.


GP said...

I read an article last week about 'why powerful men cheat.' And after about 1,500 words, all I really got from it was 'because they can.' Apparently no one knows why you'd ruin your life in such a stupid, stupid way.

Oddly enough, I think being errably human is the best way not only to enjoy life and get where you want to go. I'm not sure why some people think being cocky will get them places. And it has restored my faith in humanity lately to see more than a few people brought down by their hubris.

It's the worst when your occupation makes situations difficult to deal with. My cousin was once given a counterfeit $20 as change from a store; she had no idea. And when her local McDonald's flagged the bill as a fake, she was mortified to tell the authorities that she was a graphic designer (everything turned out OK).

Will we see you at Malachi?

Mindi said...

Yeah, I actually think it is a powertrip for these guys. I agree with the "they can" financially, but personally speaking, they must be in some void. Like the insecure guy who is always the most overwhelming A-hole. Same idea. I try not to think about it too much as it is completely inapposite to my own rationale.

Heh - so you got nabbed on taxes! Sheesh. I worry about crap like that all the time. As lawyers, everything is in the detail. You mess it up and you are the friggin' anti-christ. That is our job right, to get it right? Oh yeah, but we are (sleep deprived) humans after all. I'm glad to hear it turned out well. I'm sure you were quite the anti-Spitzer and easy to deal with.

Looking forward to the pics!

Joseph P. Wood said...

All right, as a guy, I feel the need to add some "gender balance" to this discussion. I think to try to isolate why men cheat to one sole reason "because they can" or "because they're insecure" does not acknowledge the complex and contridictory nature of the human psyche. Guys go to prostitutes because they're insecure and because they can (a form of ego) and because they feel a lack of intimacy (it's true, seriously) get my point. To boot, these things are often imbedded deep in the psyche, and not easily articulated by the john.

For instance, a 400 lb. CEO in a "treading water" marriage: does he go to the prostitute because he feels "ugly"; because he's able to recreate the power he feels in the boardroom--or to compensate for the power he feels he lacks; because he's able to construct a faux sexual intimacy--or because he's able to exercise a more preditorial sexuality?

My point, in other words, is that why men go to prostitutes are so variable--and you can't assume the reason based solely on external appearances.

All right, there you go. A long-winded non-answer. Now, if you don't mind, I have an appointment at a motel in 20 minutes and need to pick up Furrie bunny suit and riding crop.

Joseph P. Wood said...

PS: The demise of the Hustler club > Watergate, though where's Gordon Libby when you need to snub out an IRS rep?

E-Speed said...

glad the auditor cut you some slack!

Chelle said...

Me a patron saint of anything....THAT'S funny.

To balance out Joseph's analysis, I've also had a bit of a fascination with the whole escort business, mainly because it's so visible here in New York. I befriended a few young women in an online/blog context to try and understand more about what they do and why and just like for the guys, there are a ton of different reasons. For some it's quantifies their self worth and makes them feel wanted. For others, it's more of a f**k you empowerment thing...they feel they are commodified even in traditional relationship structures and treating the exchange as a business transaction allows them more control. For some it's exhibitionary, for others it's a power thing.

It's true, we humans are hugely complicated creatures.

On another note, I actually had to chase down Mr. Spitzer for an interview some years ago, even before he was Atty Gen I think, and he was incredibly gracious and even though he seemed to be in a hurry, listened carefully to my questions and gave me some good, thoughtful soundbites for the piece I was working on. I've always liked him because of that one encounter, but who knows, maybe he was just nice because I was female and 25.

Meghan said...

I'm glad that no one's shown up here with the quintessential argument that "men cheat because it's part of the human male's evolutionary history to impregnate as many human females as possible." Have you ever heard a woman say, "Oh, I was clingy and needy with my husband because, in my evolutionary history, my female counterparts needed a man around for protection, food, and child rearing." I am so tired of men using this as an excuse for their behavior, and I'm glad I haven't heard women sink to this same level.

In those, oh say, 3 million years since we've been pre-humans wandering about the African plains, we've since been exposed to oodles of cultural and social constructions that have guided our behaviors and defined us as modern humans.

Anyways, sorry you got nabbed by the IRS, and I'm glad the auditor was kind so that you wouldn't have to live out your golden running years with the tear dropped ladies in the state prison. ;)

Yippee! I can't wait to see Arizona pics!


Jim said...

No one may ever know why he and other men resort to prostitution. Myself, I don't get it. (The reason for it, that is, not the, um, other meaning of get it).

It's amazing that such a seemingly intelligent man (well educated, anyway) with future designs on the freakin' WHITE HOUSE! could be so incredibly stupid and deceitful to his family. It's truly mind boggling. His ego must be on steroids or something.

The Salty One said...

Haha Meghan! I hate that "monogamy goes against human nature" argument. Yeah, not killing people who try to take your food also goes against human nature :)

As for the strippers I've known, it always seems to be a way to get back at people who called them ugly in high school or to get back at people who told them they wouldn't amount to much in life. For women, being attractive is often seen as success. This is especially true when women receive money based on their attractiveness. I'm sure there is a small minority of women in the industry who do it because they are strong and genuinely want to do it but I believe it is a VERY small minority.

Mrp says he thinks it's similar for guys. For someone like Spitzer, his money and power are a sign of success and when he can buy anything with all that money and get away with anything with all that power--now that's success! It's less about the sex the most people think, he says.