And yet, inexplicably, I employ the services of a Certified Financial Planner. Why? I’m not entirely sure, really. Other than the fact that I’m supposed to; it seems to be what successful people do. This is laughable & insane, of course, seeing as how I have no assets to move. Or buy. Or look at. Or even reasonably pretend to look at. It’s a useless exercise that serves nobody well — namely, my poor CFP, who I’m dragging down into the financial abyss with me. (“Listen here! If the BP shares come down another 45,000%, BUY BUY BUY!!!”) A total waste of time & resources, I am.
To put it another way, this is like a rotted corpse employing the services of a personal fitness instructor. It makes no sense. None.
And neither does the fact that IndyCar Series drivers employ the services of publicists hellbent on polishing up their ”media skills.” This too is laughable & insane.
Why they do this, I’m not entirely sure. Probably because they feel they’re simply supposed to; it is, after all, what successful athletes do. They see Peyton Manning & Derek Jeter deliver seamlessly smooth interviews that rile no feathers, rock no boats. Vanilla soundbytes are the norm in bigtime athletics today, and they are not by accident. Nor without purpose. They are the result of stringent coaching by media-savvy suits. But here’s the rub — here’s what separates them from most IndyCar drivers: Manning & Jeter can say NOTHING during an interview that might potentially raise their already-prolific Q-Rating, but they can say roughly 300 billion different things that could napalm it into ruin.
Relatively speaking — in the American sports landscape today — Alex Tagliani & Graham Rahal & Ryan Briscoe & Tomas Sheckter have no discernible Q-Rating to speak of. Relatively speaking, they have nothing to protect. Nothing to lose. And yet, inexplicably, these drivers are stringently coached to guard their non-existent Q-Ratings by riling no feathers, rocking no boats. To which I say …
Because when the clouds of carbon fiber & rage cleared on Sunday — when we were anticipating impromptu knife-fights & riot-gear’d Mounties and such along pit road — we were given flavorless scoops of vanilla restraint. We were treated to a whole lot of non-confrontational BLAH. Not because the drivers didn’t want to stab eachother in the necks with wheelguns … because they most certainly did. It’s just that their rigorous media-training forbade them from acting impetuously — from riling feathers & rocking boats & stomping eachother in the nads in front of a riveted television audience.
And for WHAT? So a few obscure companies America has never heard of aren’t slightly put off??? NEWSFLASH, Tomas Sheckter — of all the fruit drinks in the world, you’re repping the only one that is purportedly a pyramid scheme vaguely connected to the Mormon Church, the very same group of zealots who sank millions of dollars into California’s anti-gay statute. You punching Tagliani in the face during a 1.0 rated telecast wouldn’t even hit their radar screen of unfavorable publicity. But with Joseph Smith as my witness, it WOULD be highly entertaining. And quite beneficial to the Series.
And YOU, Graham Rahal — the only time QuickTrim hits the news cycle is when U.S. News & World Report is urging people to not use it. You giving a Batman-like flying elbow drop to Briscoe’s solar plexus would be the greatest publicity imaginable. (“OOH LOOK HOW AGILE & DECISIVE QUICKTRIM CAN MAKE YOU, I MUST HAVE IT!”) But no. That would be over the line, somehow — because then the most prudish octogenarians among us would have to figure out where QuickTrim is sold & go there and defiantly NOT buy it again, only this time intentionally.
We wanted a Thunderdome. We got a slapfight on Twitter, the last bastion of freedom where the drivers are far removed from their publicists & PR personnel & whoever else is charged with protecting their non-confrontational “image.” If AJ Foyt could cry — and I’m sure that he cannot — he’d be crying right now. He’d be crying big, oily tears of corn liquor & rawhide. But only on the inside. And that’s a shame.
Because make no mistake, THAT is how the Toronto race will be remembered. It certainly won’t be for Will Power winning his 48th race of the season; that was as predictable as some high-powered KV carnage. No, it’ll be remembered for beefs needlessly taken to Twitter … when all we wanted was the real thing. This Series needs an identity— as well as personalities & story lines & drama — for good or ill. And presenting polished & rehearsed soundbytes in the name of protecting a commodity we don’t have is the quickest way to never get one. It’s a useless exercise that serves nobody well.