Lessons in the fall of a merman

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[Image here]

The last few days have been difficult for those of us who are fans of Ryan Lochte – who admire his beauty, talent, heart and joie de vivre. Now we must admonish the man for swimming the anchor leg in a series of graceless events that have only underscored the stereotype of Brazil as a lawless country and of the United States as a nation of entitled louts. Here is the takeaway, particularly for the young who might extol and even emulate his antics:

  1. Don’t drink and, if you do, drink only in moderation. Drinking destroys brain cells, which unlike blood cells can’t be replicated. Alcohol impairs your judgment and physical responses. And it contains a lot of sugar, which can contribute to diabetes. (I would rather have dessert than a glass of wine.) Had Lochte not been drunk, the outcome of events in Rio might’ve been very different.

  2. Know who and where you are and where you’re going – always. If you’re in a foreign country – particularly one with a tough rep – stick to your group. If you venture out, remember that there’s safety in numbers and in hiring a reliable driver.

  3. Always visit the privy before you set out. It avoids the desperate search for one on the road.

  4. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, remember this: If money can solve the problem, it isn’t a problem.

  5. What happens in Rio, stays in Rio. If you act less than honorably, don’t go blabbing, trying to spin yourself as a victim, much less a hero. Acknowledge responsibility, apologize sincerely, make restitution – and move on.