Now that it appears, thankfully, that former NBA player and Kardashian in-law, Lamar Odom, is going to be okay, we are free to banter about the preposterous serendipity of being found unconscious in, of all places, a licensed whorehouse tucked away on the remote and barren landscape of the Mojave Desert.
In addition to emitting a genuine sigh of relief at Odom's recovery, coupled, admittedly, with a raised eyebrow and roll of the eyes at the whole string of indignities that had to accompany such a circumstance, we are also free to speculate as to who among us would pay the greatest "public relations" price for such notoriety.
Let us consider 10 stations in life and rank them accordingly. Here they are in descending order, with the person paying the steepest price listed first, and the person paying, arguably, no price at all (indeed, rising in stature as a result), listed last.
1. CLERGYMAN. It's no contest. Despite prostitution being legal in parts of Nevada, no one who makes his living communing with God and offering spiritual counseling to the public is going to beat a seedy rap like this. Legal or not, his career is going to take an enormous hit. Unless his book is a bestseller, he'll probably have to find a real job.
2. POLITICIAN. Ditto for an elected official, even one representing a district in Nevada. It's bad enough visiting a brothel and paying strangers to have sex with you, but being so recklessly uninhibited that you allow yourself to black out, and have to be scraped off the floor by paramedics will likely render you "unelectable," even as a Democrat.
3. CEO. It's not the sex we object to, it's the manner in which it was obtained. You run a company, you employee hundreds of people, and yet you can't find a local woman to accommodate you? You have to schlepp all the way out to the desert to get relief? CEO's should appear confident and resolute. This makes you appear needy.
4. DOCTOR. Not just any doctor. It has to be a cardiologist, neurosurgeon, psychiatrist or orthopedic surgeon, otherwise it won't resonate. If you're a podiatrist, proctologist or acne doctor, the obloquy will be minimal, and no one except your patients, fellow MD's and attending nurses are likely to care.
5. ANCHOR MAN. It's a job that requires presentation, steadiness, credibility and, dare I say, trust. Sorry, but you relinquish the whole package when you party yourself right into a coma.
6. MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER. You show up in a $3,000 suit and a $400 haircut, and charge $150,000 to address an audience on the topic of "Putting the Entrepreneurial Spirit to Work for You," and then people read that you dropped $75,000 during a visit to a Nevada cathouse called the Love Ranch? You'll bounce back, but it's impossible to come away totally unscathed. Maybe lower your quote to $100,000.
7. AVANT GARDE ARTIST (poet, painter, sculptor). Fortunately, because people aren't certain what you do in the first place, you will be given an inordinate amount of slack. If you were a construction worker or fry cook, they'd want to see you hang by your jimmy-whatnots, but given that you're an existential poet, they'll keep a respectful distance.
8. PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. People, especially men, might wonder why you "have to pay for it," but because you're a celebrity jock the public will continue to judge you by what you do on the field, diamond or court, not what you do for recreation. Virtuoso athletic performance trumps almost everything.
9. ACTOR. Britain has its royal family, and America has its Hollywood actors. Unless it involves violence directed toward another person, we're willing to forgive the most atrocious self-destructive behavior. Because we see them as creative geniuses, the normal rules don't apply. It's part envy, part admiration, part hero worship. We're hooked.
10. ROCK STAR. Not only will his career not take a hit, but once word spreads and everyone learns what happened, he will become even more popular, more notorious. Imagine if it were Keith Richards (not now, but when he was younger). His reputation would not only have remained untarnished, it would've been sanctified.
Best of luck, Lamar. Seriously. Loved you with the Lakers. Get well, dude.