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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom is the former Los Angeles Laker who was married for a few years to Khloe Kardashian. If you read the tabloids -- as I do -- you've probably heard of his epic binge this past weekend in a Nevada brothel which resulted in an ischemic stroke, at age 35. He is now in a coma and it is unclear whether he will survive.

Over the course of a three day weekend Odom evidently smoked crack cocaine (on several occasions), took ten doses of an herbal sexual performance enhancer, and when he was found had needle marks on his arms and an open bottle of cognac by his side.

It would be easy to laugh at his foolish behavior, and I'm certainly not going to argue with its essential foolishness.

But there's something epic, almost heroic, about someone who would party that hard. Someone who has absolutely no thought for tomorrow or the risks he is taking and throws down with that kind of abandon is demonstrating a certain kind of fatalistic courage.

I know, I know, it's stupid, and Odom is now paying the price for his stupidity. (And I understand that a real hero is someone who takes risks for other people, not just out of recklessness.)

But I can't help but contrast Odom to someone like me. I'm the kind of little weenie who, before he has a second beer, thinks to himself, gee, this is going to make me have to urinate more frequently, and that will be inconvenient. And it will kill some brain cells, a side effect I don't want. And what little nutritional value there is to beer is more than offset by the harm alcohol causes. And it will hurt my conditioning. And if I don't get to sleep soon, I won't feel good tomorrow morning. And I might even get a headache…..

In other words, I'm no fun to hang out with.

Odom, on the other hand, must be a blast. Or, must have been a blast.

I'm actually serious about this. This sounds like another tongue in cheek post which is really making fun of someone, and, well, maybe there's a touch of that here. But I actually do admire -- even envy -- people like Odom who live entirely in the present.

If you're looking for someone to party with, he would make a far, far better companion than someone like me.


Anonymous said...

I read about him and am praying for him.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
That's good of you. I can't honestly tell you I'm moved by his plight. But I do recognize that there's something strangely admirable about the sort of reckless abandon he showed.

Shaun F said...

John - I'm going to say for the record I'd much rather hang with you than Odom. Given my colourful life, and some of the colourful people’s lives I've seen - you definitely don't want to hang with the likes of these. I've seen people with that pipe locked in bathrooms for days. They are puppets on strings and in all seriousness - they are dancing to a tune that can end them up in the hospital or dead. As these circumstances indicate, the person has no control over their behaviour or consumption. Richard Pryor in live on the Sunset Strip does a great performance explaining the insanity of it all – about how “the pipe told him when to go to work, when to get up, to fuck all his friends and just hang out cause the pipe is your friend and has got your back!” This life style is not pretty or glamorous. The people that participate in this stuff are just enabling self destructive behaviour. It's actually very sad and tragic how hedonism like this can grab hold of you and destroy a person. You can chose your action but you sure can’t chose the consequences.

John Craig said...

Shaun --
Everything you say is correct and exudes common sense. And I don't disagree with any of it. Drug addicts essentially become soulless, and alcoholic mothers often breed sociopaths because they end up loving the bottle more than their children. And you seem to have seen more of this up close than I have in my sheltered life.

I was only trying to make the point that someone who doesn't plan for the future can be more fun in the short run, and that risking the sorts of consequences you describe shows a certain foolish courage. I wouldn't actually want to hang with someone like that either, if I did I would have.

Mark Caplan said...

The Daily Mail says Odom dropped $75,000 on his four-day binge. My guess is, if he ever comes out of the coma, he'll say it was worth every cent.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Ha! That's another thing that separates him from me; I'd never consider spending big money on a good time.

By the way, I appreciate all the legwork you did on yesterday's (now deleted) post.

Anonymous said...

Um, no. Well, maybe when you're nineteen.

At his age it's just pathetic.

Give me a snarky, funny one-beer drinking guy any night.

- Gardner

Don Arvetus said...

A man I once considered a good friend was married for 25 years and had three decent, clean cut achieving kids. He was and still is employed by a fire department that is considered one of the best in the country, despite belonging to a suburb of a not very significant Midwest city.

About four years ago, something changed and all hell broke loose.

He started chasing and having sex with other women, and was not particularly discreet about it. He started hanging out with a loser group of men-no drugs, but booze, card playing and expensive cigars. His wife finally had had enough and separated, then divorced him. He started going to casinos and on trips to Nicaragua and other Central American countries ostensibly to tour cigar factories, but these "tours" involved legendary amounts of booze and marathon sex with the local women.

His daughter joined the Navy and the last time I saw her was heavily tattooed. Something tells me she will be knocked up sooner rather than later. His sons have pretty well given up academics, and are already talking about nonsense like playing music fulltime. (One has a little talent, but no training or interest in study of either music itself or how the music business really works, and the other shares those disinterests with no talent whatever: I say that as a conservatory grad who taught piano and classical guitar fulltime for several years.) His ex-wife is devastated. She is in her late forties, a heavyset woman, and she will have no prospects for remarriage. She gets a substantial payment from him and got a six figure chunk from the sale of his vacation properties and his boat, so is not financially in too bad a shape, but she has few friends and no interests outside of what was her marriage.

What precipitated this change, I have no idea, but the bottom line is that a once responsible adult has been transformed into a suburban variation of Lamar Odom. (He admits that if he weren't subject to random urinalysis, he'd be smoking dope too.) Lamar Odom never was a responsible person, this guy once was, and I'm not sure which is more reprehensible. No decent woman, even of his own race, would have married Lamar and had three children with him: people knew what he was from day one. With this other man, he was a foundationally decent person, and he behaved responsibly most of his life. He has destroyed his family. His old friends simply avoid him. And he doesn't care.

Steven said...

Hang on a minute.

"ten different herbal sexual performance supplements"

WTF. 10? Herbal supplements...ten *different* ones?

btw I've known people who drank vast amounts of alcohol and they didn't seem to go any stupider so I wouldn't worry about it. You might want to look into it- i've got a feeling the brain cell thing is part myth.

John Craig said...

Gardner --
Are you calling me snarky?

And btw, if that's an invitation, I accept.

John Craig said...

Don Arvetus --
That's a sad story. He's made a mess of his life, but even worse, as you imply, he seems to have had a bad effect on his children. Strange that it would happen in midlife; usually a pattern gets set early in life and is stuck to. The roots of his aimlessness and irresponsibility must have always been there, though.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Good catch. I meant to say, "10 different doses of an herbal sexual performance enhancer." I'll make that correction.

And I'll take your advice and start to drink heavily -- now that I know it's not bad for me.

Taylor Leland Smith said...

I can't help being reminded of that famous experiment from the 70s where children were tested on their ability to chose between immediate gratification (the enjoyment of a marshmallow) or postponed gratification (the enjoyment of two marshmallows in as soon as fifteen minutes). Those children who processed the ability to wait were later shown to be far more successful in life. They even scored, on average, over 200 points more on the SAT than those children who couldn't resist the temptation.

I'm sure you know what I'm getting at. I just think it is interesting that anybody can stuff that marshmallow in their face and yet almost anybody knows they shouldn't.

Jackie M said...

John, I'm reading this as I sit alone (with my toddler) in my hotel room at The Mandalay Bay in Vegas. I'm here for a business convention that starts tomorrow (having traveled all the way from Australia for it), as are a bunch of strangers who are all staying at this same property. My overtures today to catch up with some of my fellow delegates for breakfast/lunch/dinner have all been rebuffed, and the last opportunity for pre-event networking is a party at one of the bars downstairs. I'm sufficiently boring to not only be non-alcoholic but to also find loud pulsating music irksome, so I've decided to pass on this "party". And I'm simultaneously kicking myself for deliberately choosing to handicap myself when we all meet formally tomorrow, knowing the ones at the party will have had a head start at networking and building relationships. Oh well.

John Craig said...

Taylor --
Yes, I'm familiar with that study, and others like it. The ability to delay gratification is an important one when it comes to getting ahead. And yes, that ability is not evenly distributed among the races.

John Craig said...

Jackie M --
it sounds as if you didn't have that much choice about not attending the party, if you have your toddler with you, and particularly if he has a disability (I took a look at your web site). I think you're right about the loud pulsating music -- it's overwhelming and makes conversation very difficult. I think that kind of music often serves the same type of purpose as a birthday hat -- it's there to "inform" you that you're having a "good time" -- even if you're actually not. And the pathetic thing is, so many people don't seem to realize that they're not really enjoying themselves when they're having a "good time."

Anyway, good luck at the event tomorrow. At least you won't be hungover like so many of your fellow attendees.

Steven said...

Even so...10 doses. If you wasn't getting a boner off the first 9, it might be time to try something else.

I always felt like it was a sign of being a man to be able to drink at least 6 points of larger in one session, and maybe up to 10. Its my culture I guess.

Although I think I'm going to order some Elmer T and try that. "four fingers of Elmer T".

John Craig said...

Steven --
My guess is he was getting a boner with the first nine, but he wanted to keep his streak going.

I can't quite see taking a lot of Viagra or some other performance enhancer as being a badge of masculine accomplishment. I'd think not needing any would generally be considered more impressive.

I had to look up "Elmer T" to find out what it is…..If I were you, I'd mostly just stick with the exercise regimen.

Steven said...

* I meant 6 pints of larger. Americans say 'larger', right? As in beer.

How much you can drink is a measure masculinity amongst men who drink, and this *is* a drinking culture, not that I ever placed all that much stock in that. Though I was quite pleased with myself when I realised I could drink six pints and remain in a decent state.

This is where I heard of Elmer T: ;-)

ah I'm sure you're right about the herbal supplements.

I do plan on exercising more than drinking but I think its good to let loose sometimes too.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Actually, Americans say "lager," without the first "r."

Yes, I'm familiar with the drinking culture, i.e., "I can drink you under the table."

That Youtube video doesn't seem to be available anymore, but as a "Justified" fan, I'm well acquainted with Boyd Crowder.

Steven said...

oh its lager here too. Apparently I just can't spell lager. Maybe it does kill brain cells but probably I just started out lacking them.

The video is available here. At the start Boyd says, in his southern drawl, "four fingers of Elmer T". The name stuck in my mind so I looked it up.

I knew you were a justified fan.

Anonymous said...

I was amazed at the turn of events for Lamar Odom. Personally, I believe that medical intervention and lots of prayers being said on his behalf have worked for Lamar's good. I hope that Lamar fully recovers and lives his life differently, abstaining from drugs. I'm glad that he is out of the coma.

- Susan

Anonymous said...

The man is totally selfish, demonstrating to his family and friends the concept of SELFISHNESS. I feel for his family members.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
I was surprised that he came out of that coma too. Don't know that he's selfish so much as just irresponsible and child-like.

Anonymous said...

My comment about someone being incredibly selfish (to his family'd detriment) applied to commenter Don Arvetus' former friend, the fireman. I wasn't commenting on Lamar Odom. God be with the family.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
Ah, sorry, got it.