Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Tiger, Johnny and the Spirit of Giving

The saga of Tiger Woods, following its initial assault on
our senses, “grew legs” as we say, bringing to mind
however that a potential monetary settlement of his woes
is not unknown among celebrities, including other wildly
popular ones–like Johnny Carson.

Nothing more prompts generosity than personal trouble. People who usually won’t spring a dime otherwise, are found to have hearts big as a golf course when it’s time to shut up, or mollify, someone. Being a season for giving, the examples of two notable benefactors, one in most recent memory and another in the memorable past, may help to understand what tightwads can do when their minds are forcibly opened .

Tiger Woods is said to have given one of his baby dolls nary a gift, even when she begged for such to ease her financial distress. No doubt a smart move on his part, so as not to leave a paper trail–whether it be of the check or greenback variety. For another, he arranged much travel and exotic hideaways and, who knows, some baubles worth keeping, except that she was mightily ticked to discover she was not his “only one.” That’s the first clue that these people, and many more, all deserve each other. But I digress.

Elin, of course, stayed home for kids and carpooling though it’s also rumored there was much to keep her company when not on mom-duty, like a big expense account and a few trips of her own. She also had a nice pre-nup that guaranteed a more than reasonable life among the poor smothered rich should the marriage not work out, but who’da thunk it wouldn’t? Tiger seemed as clean as the silk sheets he snuggled under with his secret little tarts.

Then came the Fall. Now Elin’s in the driver’s seat and Tiger is, as they say, hoist of his own petard–a phrase referring to one, e.g., who might light a fuse then snag his britches on a rusty nail on his way out and can’t douse the fuse or make a clean getaway. This would be funny except that many a philandering male celebrity is sweating bullets now that real blood is smelled by press and paparazzi, and led by the National Enquirer, god bless ‘em. The latter know Rule No. 1 of journalism, to wit, where there’s smoke there’s fire and, in case it’s a rare false alarm, create some of both–or throw out rumors of sexual malfeasance and see what grows legs.

The upshot of all this is that Elin can now go about in the drab dress of a victim (unless something surfaces about her–oh, dear!), watch Tiger squirm and apologize ad infinitum, ad nauseum, while inquiring of him how much all this is worth to make his transgressions eminently forgivable. Again, the buzz is that he has considered baring both heart and wallet to negotiate a favorable if not altogether happy ending, and if that is true, his largesse will know no bounds. All the toys in Santa’s bag can’t top that, nor Scrooge’s turn of heart.

Public memory however is short, not to mention untrustworthy. We forget Johnny Carson, and at the time of his divorce we had little inkling just how golden was the imaginary golf club he swung on his time-honored show. No one ever knew exactly what may have occasioned the Carsons’ split because in those days Johnny, in celebrity terms, was considered “too big to fail.” But his comeuppance came after a much longer spousal association.

So hold your breath as you hear what Joanna Carson got for Christmas that year so long ago: the Bel Air mansion, 3 New York apartments, $5 million in cash and $35,000 a month for more than five years; ALL the jewelry, half of each of his pensions, residuals, design firm stock, New York film studio and broadcasting companies–not to mention a Picasso and other art, 75 Kruggerands, a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes and an ‘81 Datsun(!)

How lucky in love can you get? But some people never get to know the exact value until the fuse reaches the powder and all hell blows up. It would be my luck to have married and divorced Joanna, and got only the ‘81 Datsun. Then again, I’d probably check the mileage first. Be it known that a lot of people were outraged at Joanna, forgetting that Johnny still had much more than all that, left over, along with his continued earning power at the time.

The Bard said, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” but it’s worse than that. Heed the Irish, feisty as they are, that it’s not marriage itself, but having breakfast together in the morning that starts all the trouble.
Fame and fortune are often too much for young lions (or Tigers) and starry-eyed little bimbos are hardly tickets to happiness. The poet Auden’s insight was that any marriage, however prosaic, is more interesting than any romance, however passionate–and that wedlock was our last, best chance to grow up.

It would also keep some people from having too good a Christmas, if all they care about is money.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, Elin!

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