Monday, April 15, 2019

"The Streak," By Thomas L. Vaultonburg

I never had any real issue with Tiger Woods' personal life. None of that was any of my business. The only thing I resented was that they were portraying him as this great family man the whole time. Really selling it. Using that lie to sell consumer goods. And even after it was exposed as a lie people went on defending it until the evidence was so massive that no one could defend it anymore.  

It's taken until late Monday night for me really to put my finger on what I find distasteful about worshipping the "greatest comeback ever" from a man who is only 43, and caused almost all of the setbacks he had to "comeback" from in the first place. And it's this: every one of us probably has parents and grandparents who worked their entire lives, most of the time in pain and exhaustion, just so that we could have a chance to do the same, maybe even a little better. But we don't tend to show any damn respect for that, or heap the glory on  people who work harder and longer than these athletes ever will, and for no adulation, no fortune, no fame. 

The Streak is a poem I wrote for my book Flesh Wounds  It's an homage to all the members of my family who worked their asses off so I could eventually do what I love for a living. 

Lou Gehrig

The Streak 

   The announcer fawns 
   Over the Iron Man: 
  ` “Number 63 has played 
   In 120 straight 
   Football games, 
   An amazing feat 
   Of endurance.” 
   I do the math: 
   Sixteen Sundays a year, 
   Three hours a pop 
   For nearly eight years, 
   360 total hours, 
   Or maybe five or six 
   Weeks of my granddaddy’s 
   Life in the field and 
   The mill afterhours, 
   Covering the rent 
   2,750 straight months, 
   Playing hurt through three 
   Heart attacks, seven children 
   And five disbanded 
   Pro football leagues. 
   Now let’s talk about 
   A fucking streak.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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