and Greg Mortenson.

Everyone knows about Lance, but not that many know about Greg Mortenson.

Mortenson is the one who wrote Three Cups of Tea.

It’s a huge bestseller, feel-good kind of book.

It was all the rage when I was touring Newfoundland a few years ago. Went to dinner with some lovely librarians who were raving about it, and one of them was nice enough to mail me a copy.

I read the first couple of chapters and thought, “hmmm. Nope. Not buying it.”

All my red flags were waving frantically.

As for Lance Armstrong, never really thought much about him.

Yeah, I’d heard the story, survived testicular cancer, won the Tour de France, yada yada yada, but honestly it didn’t affect my life one way or another so I didn’t really care.

Not till I watched this movie playing at the Omnimax science centre called ‘Wired to Win’ which featured the tour de France, did I really understand the scope of what Lance Armstrong accomplished.

Watched the Oprah interviews and honestly I found them FASCINATING!

Do I care that he lied? Not really.

He’s obviously a scumbag but he didn’t do anything personally to me. I wasn’t ‘invested’ in him, so it was more a matter of curiosity.

What I really find curious is that it’s white men who can get away with this time of scam.

Lance Armstrong, Greg Mortenson, Bernie Madoff, that con artist in that movie Catch Me if You Can.

Can you imagine any coolie (brown person) trying something like that???

It’s laughable!

And then there’s people like me.

Ever since I started wearing hijab, way back when I was seventeen, I often feel like I live under a pall of suspicion. And of course it only got worse after 9/11.

So people like me live our lives absolutely making sure that our reputations are squeaky squeaky clean.

Like plate glass rubbed five times with paper towel and Windex! That clean!

I don’t even have any speeding tickets! I even make sure I come to a full stop at a stop sign!

There’s a lot of talk about how people need heroes.

And how morality is what you do when you think no one is watching.

Honestly though, for my own part, my morality stems from the fact that I fear God and I know He’s watching.

And even if I could be sneaky about things, even if I could pocket some of the cash from a book I might sell instead of recording it diligently and calculating the taxes I owe on it, I don’t because even if I could fool the government, I can’t fool God.

And yet there are times when the best of us do slip.

Sometimes organizations would contact me directly instead of going through my artist representive organization, and sometimes I wouldn’t refer them to that organization. Sometimes I’d go ahead and do the booking myself.

And then I realized it was wrong so I stopped.

We all slip. We make mistakes.

Mortenson was apparently guilty of using money from the books to promote the books, pay for private jets and stuff instead of using it all towards building schools for girls. Doesn’t mean he didn’t do any good, but it does mean he slipped.

I think when dealing with ANY entity, only trust them as far as you can AFFORD to.

When I’m dealing with someone, I trust them till they give me reason not to. But I do always watch them. I pay attention, and when I see them getting shoddy with the truth of details, I divest myself.

And unless I personally deal with a celebrity, why would I care if I can trust them or not?

Does it make me cynical. I guess so.

But it’s funny because I do ‘trust’ a lot of people.

Lance Armstrong isn’t the only one out there cheating.

He’s a big fish who got caught!

And for that he is remorseful–and I believe him ( he’s sorry he got caught).

Just make sure when dealing with people that you don’t give them the power to burn you. Watch them, verify what they’re saying, and only when you feel content, then trust, with the knowledge that they still might pull one over, and be prepared if they do.

Because people will slip.

People will slip.