May 18, 2003: There Is A Whole Lot of ‘Comeuppance’ Going On

My Mama called it “getting your comeuppance.” That was her way of saying that, sooner or later, everybody is going to get what they deserve. Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a whole lot of comeuppance going down these days.

First on the list – and nobody could be more deserving – is the nation of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been walking around with this “Who Me?” look on their faces anytime the suggestion is made they have been playing footsies with Arab terrorists. They had the audacity to send their head poobah – whatever they call him – to the United States to lecture our president about his attitude toward Arabs after the 9-11 tragedy, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis. Saudi television even held telethons to raise money for the families of suicide bombers. Well, they have found out that if you sleep with a rattlesnake, sooner or later you will get bitten. Al Qaeda terrorists damn near blew a Saudi compound to smithereens a few weeks ago. Now the Saudi Arabian government knows how it feels to have innocent people killed by a bunch of madmen and is vowing to crack down on terrorism. Welcome to the real world, guys. It’s about time you got your comeuppance. Maybe President Bush will come over and lecture you about your sorry attitude.

A close second in the comeuppance derby is the loquacious darling of the Atlanta media, Ted “Looney Tunes” Turner. Because Turner has lots of money – although I understand he is down to his last gazillion – he says stupid things and is labeled eccentric. If he possessed my bank account, he would more likely be called crazy as a bedbug. Well, guess what? A couple of shareholders got up at the AOL/Time Warner/Whatever annual meeting and upbraided Buffalo Boy for his loose lips. One said that Turner “makes a spectacle of himself.” Another complained about Ted’s obsession with dissing religion, specifically his calling Christianity “a religion for losers.” According to press reports, when Turner left the meeting all he could muster was a “no comment.” I guess the comeuppance cat got his tongue. Hopefully, this condition will be permanent.

And then there is the supercilious New York Times. This bunch of elitists has received a well-deserved comeuppance shot right in their smug ego. It turns out one of their hotshot reporters has been making up his stories as he went along. It never occurred to his bosses to check hotshot’s facts –or lack thereof — as any other responsible newspaper in the country would do. Maybe The New York Times isn’t so smart after all.

Even your humble scribe got a dose of comeuppance. After bragging about my alma mater, the University of Georgia, being the only public university in the nation to have undergraduates win the four most prestigious scholarships awarded –Rhodes, Marshall, Goldwater and Truman – we learn that a group of UGA football players decided that winning the school’s first SEC football championship in 20 years wasn’t worth diddly-squat and proceeded to hock their championship rings on eBay. So much for school pride and all that rah-rah stuff. Now, thanks to the bad judgment of a few athletes, everybody is talking about that instead of the academic achievements of an outstanding faculty and student body at an outstanding public university.

Fortunately, my Georgia Tech friends won’t have a lot to say about UGA’s budding young entrepreneurs because Tech backers got a comeuppance of their own. Already saddled with one of the lowest graduation rates for athletes in NCAA Division I, ten Tech football players have flunked “Engineering Principles of Putting on Football Pants” and can’t play next season. I guess that means there is no chance of a rematch with Fresno State in the prestigious Kumquat Bowl. On the positive side, Tech and Georgia fans now have something in common: acute embarrassment.

I’m not sure why comeuppances have been raining down on us like Georgia thunderstorms, but I have a feeling none of the above would have surprised Mama. She knew that sooner or later, you are going to reap what you sow. Next time we start feeling smug, let’s remember her words.