Sunday, December 06, 2009

Three stories

A tale of three people:

1. A few months ago, the word "unknown" wouldn't go far enough to describe Susan Boyle. She was simply an Englishwoman who liked to sing. Then she appeared on a talent show in Great Britain, apparently without even bothering to comb her hair. As has been written before, she walked on stage as the subject of ridicule, and walked off a star. There were some bumps in her life after the show, but Boyle did indeed get a recording contract.

Now here we are in December, and Boyle has a compact disc out. Care to guess how many copies that CD sold in the first week of release? Try 701,000. That's the biggest such number of the year.

All of a sudden, every single dream that Boyle ever had about music has come true, and then some. Her life has been changed forever, hopefully for the better. Even music company accounting won't be able to keep her from being financially secure for the rest of her life, assuming she gets a good team behind her.

And now comes the tough part. I'm not sure there's anyone who has been less prepared for this rush of fame than Boyle. Let's cross our fingers and hope that she comes out the other side O.K.

2. We may never know the whole story of what happened in the Tiger Woods family household late Thanksgiving night. We may not want to know, come to think of it. But we do know that Woods' life has been changed, perhaps forever.

Woods tried to successfully balance being the most public of figures in some ways -- television appearances through golf, commercials, etc. -- with the most private of personal lives. There were whispers about extra-curricular activities a couple of weeks ago, but he probably could have dodged them ... until he drove into a tree at 2:30 a.m. That unleashed the hounds in the form of the world's tabloid press. All of a sudden, we've had claims of so many affairs that I expect to see a bumper sticker that reads "Honk if you've slept with Tiger."

No matter that it's not exactly our business, it is interesting to wonder what Tiger's motivation was for the transgressions. Does he live such a cocooned life that his super-competitive side pushed him to engage in risky behavior? Can he rebound from this, something that Kobe Bryant apparently has done to some degree in spite of worse allegations? Stay in your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy flight.

3. When Bruce Springsteen first played in London around 1975, the promoter plastered fliers all over the city saying something like, "Is London ready for Bruce Springsteen?" Bruce reportedly went around tearing the papers off the walls, saying something like, "This is not what I bargained for."

Then, looking back years later, he said he realized, "That was exactly what I bargained for." He probably could have a talk with Woods about that, and have some good advice for Boyle.

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