By now, you’ve surely heard the story about Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame football player who claims a girl he met on Facebook a while back never existed. If you’ve been in a coma lately, don’t worry. You’re not missing anything important. But, this bizarre tale is rife with the tawdriness that only the reality TV / Internet generation could spawn. Te’o says that he formed a relationship with a girl named “Lennay Kekua;” a union born in the pantheon of cloudy cyberspace and the hormonally-riddled loins of a lonely college boy. Oh, Lord! The humanity of it is already making me light-headed.
The drama unfolded in true Facebook fashion when “Lennay” supposedly endured a horrific car wreck late last summer only to learn she had inoperable leukemia. Things allegedly took a turn for the worst when she died in September. But, that wasn’t the only tragedy to strike the Te’o family. The next day, Te’o’s beloved grandmother also died. Despite the dual afflictions, Te’o managed to continue playing football successfully through the rest of the season; well enough to end up as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
But, as with most lies and fantasies, the truth eventually emerges – or at least when the drugs wear off. I don’t know what it was in Te’o’s case, but things in his glass-domed universe began to crumble after the first of the year. “Lennay Kekua” was a whole lot of nothingness.
Here are two things we now know for certain: first, Te’o’s grandmother did pass away last September; second, Te’o is an idiot. The latter is based upon the sudden revelation that “Lennay” was the figment of some other clown’s twisted imagination. There was no girl named “Lennay Kekua” and there was no car wreck, followed by an abrupt onset of leukemia. This is particularly revolting considering that thousands of people die in this country – and across the globe – every year from both car wrecks and leukemia. That’s not a lie, and people don’t incur cheap sexual fantasies about either dilemma. Or, they shouldn’t.
But, this entire convoluted fiasco makes me ask two questions.
- How could you be in a relationship with someone you’ve never met?
- Who amongst us gives a damn?
A third question: why is the national media harping on this like it’s in an extension of the Benghazi massacre?
This mess would be newsworthy and plausible, for example, if “Lennay Kekua” had been a fan of Manti Te’o and if her family and friends had set up a trust fund for her leukemia-related expenses. This has happened before. People have faked illnesses or injuries well enough to have accounts set up; their ruses earning thousands of dollars, scores of gifts and mounds of sympathy. Then, as always occurs, their lies unravel, and the world crashes down upon their greedy, stupid faces.
But, that’s not the case with Manti Te’o. I still don’t understand how he didn’t know he was in a “relationship” with a girl he’d never actually met. Maybe he did meet her – through someone else; through his dreams; through a drunken haze. Perhaps – as only happens on Facebook – he “friended” her and came to believe he was in some kind of loving bond. They shared photos and daily motivational greetings, and he thought they something going.
As a child, I often had invisible playmates; but then, so have millions of other people – especially those of us who grew up shy and introverted. An only child, I even imagined I had a twin brother. As an adult, I’ve had my share of my fantasy lovers. I’ve enjoyed thousands of lurid sexual encounters; then I either woke up, or finally had an orgasm. For the record, I still do partake in such hookups, but they’re more meaningful now. I’ll write about that later.
I must concede I’ve become enmeshed in the Facebook frenzy. I have “friends” I’ve never met; people who’ve connected with me for various and sundry reasons. I actually value my Linked In connections more; that site serves a real purpose. But, I’d like to find where some of these Facebook “friends” live, so I can test their trustworthiness and show up at their home at one or two in the morning saying my truck broke down. You know you have really good friends when they give you gas money or help you bury the bodies of former supervisors without too many questions. But, a romance?
I shouldn’t be surprised. I started meeting people online almost as soon as I got my first personal computer in 2000. It helped that I posted nude pictures of myself on the web and said I was a virgin, but again, I’ll tell you all about that later. Still, I tested the value and honesty of these people by revealing bits of myself with each email exchange or instant chat. I know a couple in Delaware who even sent me glossy photos of themselves. I have another long-time acquaintance in Milwaukee. But, I haven’t just traded emails with these guys; we’ve sent each other birthday and Christmas cards; we’ve talked on the phone. I’ve haven’t met any of them, but I know they’re real people. I have another long-time acquaintance in Oakland whom I’ve never met; nor have I talked with him on the phone. But, I’ve looked him up through “White Pages,” and we have a mutual friend here in Dallas who’s met him. So, I know he exists.
But, I still don’t understand what’s going on with Manti Te’o. Notre Dame is investigating the matter – as if it’s a sexual assault case. Now, Te’o has spoken with Katie Couric (who’s still desperately trying to stay relevant since leaving the Today Show) and conceded lying about “Lennay Kekua.” Ooooo! It’s getting deep! Perhaps we’ll finally get to the bottom of this mystery and learn the sordid truth – as nasty and painful as it may be. Then, we can move onto less pressing issues, like the ongoing economic crisis and global warming. I mean, first things first, right?
In the meantime, I have another date with a steamy redheaded chick. I think her name is Candace, but I’ll figure that out when I reach for the bottle of lube. And, of course, I’ll tell you all about it.