Friday, June 30, 2006

O, to be innocent!

Sometimes its hard to be a woman, Giving all your love to just one man.

As you've no-doubt heard, Richard "Tricky Dick-ito" Scrushy was convicted on all 6 counts of bribery yesterday. Of course, he's planning to appeal. Old Dicky isn't very interesting to me. He's a dime-a-dozen corporate criminal. I mean, really, who hasn't been convicted of doing something similar over the past few years? Enron, anyone? I know, I know, Dicky was acquitted of those crimes. Yeah. He's totally innocent, I'm sure.

You'll have bad times, And he'll have good times,Doing things that you don't understand.

Actually, I think the only person on the planet who doesn't think Dicky is guilty is his wife, Leslie. If you watch their early-morning television show Viewpoint, you can tell that Leslie really does "Stand By Her Man." She looks at him with the doe-eyed admiration of the high school cheerleader to the quarterback (or, to the captain of the debate team in this case). I can imagine their dinner-time conversation: "Now, Leslie, do you really think I am capable of such crimes? Don't I go with you to church every Sunday? Am I not Bishop Lowe's favorite church member?"

But if you love him you'll forgive him, Even though he's hard to understand

And Leslie, who trusts this man and doesn't assume that Pastor Lowe's affections come with a price, retreats to the hot tub in acquiescecence. There she sits for hours, scratching her head trying to put two and two together to make five. "I just don't understand," she admits to herself. And I believe her.

I used to look at Leslie and wonder how she could lie so flawlessly and still appear on television talking about Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit with such innocent sincerity. Finally, it occurred to me: Leslie really does believe him. She believes him. He's lied to her, too and she's just one more of his victims. Honestly, (dare I say it?) I wonder if Leslie isn't all that bright.

And if you love him,Oh be proud of him,'Cause after all he's just a man

Contrast Leslie to Linda Lay who has drawn suspicion of insider trading. Linda, the Barbie of the Ken Lay Foundation, at least had a clue. She even turned on the water-works for a national television audience when she claimed that she and Ken were trying hard to save the Mattel Townhouse from forclosure. Boo hoo! As slimy as she is, I actually can muster a modicum of respect for Linda Lay, albeit the kind of respect I have for Hillary Clinton, that is, the kind of respect most akin to the kind I'd have for two-headed goldfish.

But Leslie? It makes me sad to see her holding Richard's hand like an escape handle on a boat bound for the bottom of the ocean and smiling rapturously as she strides up the courthouse steps. I saw her do it when she was pregnant. I saw her do it days after having given birth. She's exhibited the hard-core commitment of a woman who's in it for love.

I ache for the way she's being used and misused. Of course, there's a payoff. She, too, enjoys the gain, however ill-gotten, of the fallen HeathSouth empire. The thing that unsettles me, is the gnawing suspicion that she'd love him anyway. Her vounerability, her innocence, her total lack of guile, makes me want somehow to protect her and keep her from the imminent day when she looks around and says to herself "That son-of-a-bitch." Innocence lost is scary for everyone and Hell hath no fury like Leslie with the light on.

That is, unless the person in the dark is me.

Stand by your man,And tell the world you love him,Keep giving all the love you can,Stand by your man,Stand by your man


Robert said...

Hey Leslie, let's pray together and thank God for creating conjugal visits.

susan said...

Oh, I'm sure that Dick will receive LOTS of lovin' in the clink.


John in Birmingham said...

A fascinating focus on Leslie. Thanks for posting this.

susan said...

Thanks for reading this.