What is with the weirdos at the top?

So I'm reading this New York Times article on the new Treasury Secretary nominee and his chief of staff, and ladida, it's a standard piece, and all of a sudden thwack this paragraph jumps out.

In some ways, the two are a bit of an odd couple. Mr. Paulson is very much of an alpha male: he will challenge colleagues to wrestling matches and once halted a game of paddle tennis to vomit before resuming play and winning the match.

Can I just point out that this is not normal behavior? Grown 50 something men do not challenge each other to wrestling matches and vomit during competitive ping pong.  They. just. don't.

This is not competitive behavior.  It's what people who never left adolescence do.

Tags: Henry Paulson (all tags)

Comments

43 Comments

Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Grown 50 something men do not challenge each other to wrestling matches...

This is mostly true. However, if the wrestling match occured on December 23 as part of the Feats of Strength, then I think we can all grant him a religious exception.

If it wasn't part of an Orthodox Festivus ritual, then it is creepy.

by Bob Brigham 2006-06-02 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

That's a fair point.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-02 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

They vomit during ping-pong if they're blind, stinking drunk!

Which, really, is the only time I ever want to play ping-pong to begin with...

by BarmyFotheringayPhipps 2006-06-02 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Clearly the article meant "beer pong."

by DavidNYC 2006-06-02 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Yeah, I don't think anybody who was ever in a fraternity finds this odd.  (And before people start making comments about the end of college, trust me, fraternity living is a permanent affliction, for which the only cure is marriage.)

by mullymt 2006-06-02 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

I was actually kidding. If this were beer pong, and the guy were 20, that'd be one thing. But obviously they meant ping pong, or cage tennis, or whatever it is - not the frat sport.

by DavidNYC 2006-06-02 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Come on, David. You just finished law school, right?  "Boot and rally" should still be an active part of your vocabulary!  

by mullymt 2006-06-02 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Can't be beer pong.  You puke, you're disqualified.  He couldn't possilby then have "gone on to win."

by Marc in KS 2006-06-03 03:46AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Which of course, is a little known day-after-festivus ritual... the Vomiting During Household Recreational Games.

I bet he used one of those fancy brass festivus polls instead of an aluminum one like you're supposed to.

Serenity now.

by jgkojak 2006-06-02 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Remember the Supreme Court Justice candidate who -- it was widely speculated -- was rejected by Bush because the guy did not exercise regularily?  I can't remember the name now, but it will come to me.  Anyway, it really, really helps in this administration to be a middle aged jock, I guess even if the sport is ping-pong.

by howardpark 2006-06-02 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Well, as Paul Krugman reminds us today, George Bush made a deliberate point of telling the media (through surrogates) that one of the reasons he pushed Larry Lindsey out the door was because he was a fatso who didn't exercise.

by DavidNYC 2006-06-02 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Paddle tennis is not ping pong.  It is the mini caged tennis court thingy.  I am only 29, but I have played pick-up ice hockey to the point where I vomited recently.  I don't think this really says very much.  I think it is related to my asthema.  I don't care to comment on the wrestling.  That is weird to me at the age of 50.    

by e 2006-06-02 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

That is weird to me at the age of 29, and pretty much would have been weird to me at the age of 19, too. (Fuck, I wear glasses.) Challenging someone to WRESTLE is just insane.

Don't forget the inevitable backlash from the wingnutosphere: Liberals hate athletic people because they've grown fat and lazy sucking on the welfare teat.

by DavidNYC 2006-06-02 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Yeah, you really have to question what made this guy vomit during a ping pong match.  It's not like it's an exercise so strenuous as to induce the evacuation of the bowels.  

And let's say he was suffering from a non-alcohol-related illness.  Is this something to really be impressed by?  Can't most people play ping pong with a cold?  Again, it's not like it's Michael Jordan winning game 5 of the 1995 NBA Championships while suffering from a virus.

Don't people often play a version of ping pong when they're drinking?  Beer pong, anyone?  Not quite as much fun as flip cup, but competitive drinking is usually good.

So, are we to take this as the greatest beer pong anecdote we've ever heard?  "So, dude was down to his last cup, but he was swaying just standing there.  It didn't look good, but he stepped to the side, puked all over the couch, and came back for the winning toss!"

I really wish, however, that someone would profile me and write up all the obscure things I've done which make me seem super-manly.  Does this guy make a habit of refusing to quit ping pong matches when he's ill?

by Reece 2006-06-02 02:09PM | 0 recs
I'll kick your ass for saying that n/t

by Pachacutec 2006-06-02 02:27PM | 0 recs
Enron as the Extreme Archetype

I finally got around to watching the Enron documentary last night and, while I know nothing about Paulson, this story reminds me of them...so jacked up on blind (albeit clever) competitive egotism and insecurity (or whatever the hell it was that drove them) that they created a nightmare fantasy for thousands of employees and investors and the whole state of California.  Gives being human a bad name.

by mitchipd 2006-06-02 03:27PM | 0 recs
Where is Patrick Healy

when you really need to get to the bottom of things like this?

by boadicea 2006-06-02 03:27PM | 0 recs
Christ Scientist

I think he is also a devote Christ scientist.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but still to avoid all medical healing systems is a little out of the mainstream.

by wes wing 2006-06-02 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Gay men challenge each other to wrestling matches.  In fact, there are gay social groups who meet regularly in order to wrestle one another.  Here is one.  I wonder if Jeff Gannon is a member.

by illinois062006 2006-06-02 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

This reminds me of that bizzare Washington Post story about Frist and Gorilla testosterone

by who threw da cat 2006-06-02 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

I remember once at a family reunion where my at times oddly competitive brothers and I challenged each other to a series of Sumo Wrestling matches, but at the time I was no older than 19, which would have made them 24 and 26 respectively.  I wouldn't have really classified this as competitive behavior so much as part of our collectively strange behavior.  I never recall vomitting during such matches, nor do I recall ever being named treasuring secretary...

by Mark J. Bowers 2006-06-02 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

This seems an unecessarily vicious post.  So, it isn't normal?

As 'family values' conservatives would point out, neither is two men in love.  (2-10% of the population is gay, clearly not the norm)

The wrestling is odd behaviour but he isn't hurting anybody.  I have no idea why he through up.  Obviously he remembers it because it was so unusual.  I'm not sure why it was brought up though (no pun intended).

Democrats are supposed to be supporters of offbeat and counterculture people who aren't hurting anybody.  Republicans are supposed to be the judgemental assholes.

by Adam T 2006-06-02 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

This is not about condemning "off-beat" behavior. It is merely additional strong circumstantial evidence that everyone on the Bush "team" is totally strung out on yohimbe.

From our buddies at Google:

Yohimbe for sexual excesses
I have been using yohimbe (the bark) and yohimbine (the pharmaceutical extract) ... First, yohimbe bark that is devoid of the alkaloid yohimbine is much ...

by blues 2006-06-03 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

paddle tennis isn't table tennis.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddle_tenn is

like regular tennis, but smaller paddles and a 'spongy' ball.  

i've certainly heard of people puking from extremely strenuous exercise.

usually its running though, i think...

by JJCPA 2006-06-02 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Oddly I played it as a kid with my father and brother well before I played tennis.  Fun game, actually, as far as I remember, not having played it in quite some time.  You can play the ball of the fence.

-- Stu

by sdf 2006-06-02 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

I vomited when I hear Sen. Schumer call a CEO who paid a $110 million dollar settlement to the people of New York "the best pick America could have hoped for."

by joejoejoe 2006-06-02 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Hey hey hey- what's with the erring of grievances- festivus isn't here yet!
by jgkojak 2006-06-02 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

That's Airing of Grievances - an 'erring is a fish.

(The kind that may or may not be used to cut down the tallest tree in the forest)

by eris 2006-06-03 08:59AM | 0 recs
Smackdown: Paulson v. Rove

over the budget? on Faux News, no less.

Or maybe Paulson v. Josh Bolten?

by JimPortlandOR 2006-06-02 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

It's not just that the behavior is abnormal. It's that the writer (and the editors) seems to find it perhaps mildly interesting and slightly noteworthy but not all that weird. It's just a comment on how two people are different than each other, not that one of them has got a mental/emotional problem.

If you're that ego-driven and in power, shouldn't the media treat it a little more seriously than, say, a person with an unusual taste in clothes?

by Drama Queen 2006-06-02 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

It could be that he's just a fan of Festivus.  He wants to celebrate it all year, through the "Feats of Strength".  I wonder if there's a metal pole in his office...

by jlove1982 2006-06-02 08:47PM | 0 recs
What!?

What?! You mean vomitting during competition is not normal?

I vomit reading your posts all the time.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-06-02 11:19PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

First time I saw this guy Paulson's picture, in the NY Times, my visceral reaction was, 'he's a loony.'

by AM 2006-06-02 11:42PM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

This is not competitive behavior.  It's what people who never left adolescence do.

It may be typical and required of people who rise to the top of places like Goldman Sachs, where you have 150 interviews before employment.

by Bob H 2006-06-03 02:37AM | 0 recs
That's it Stoller

I'm challenging you to a wrestling match right now!

by LiberalFromPA 2006-06-03 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

They're only weirdos to us effete lefties.  But really, righties are really into violence.  War, football, other sports -- I don't know if most fans are Goops but it seems that most ex-jock polticians are Goops.  Red states have far more soldiers per capita, and among civilians have far more violent deaths (homicide, suicide, accident), than blue states.  Rush Limbaugh's big value to the party is the way he can stoke the fires among angry young men who really ought to be angry at the GOP, not the lib-ruls and feminazis.  

This over-macho tilt helps them win -- just remember the Florida recount.  Dems went to court; Goops changed out of their Brooks Bros. suits and rioted.  Dems have plenty of tough guys, but among those who wear ties at work, no.  

by drlimerick 2006-06-03 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Bad call.

1. You assume this anecdote reflects the spirit of the moment. Doubt it.  

2. It's prissy. Methinks the guy like raucous fun.

3. You don't know table tennis from paddle tennis.

In short, ignorant and judgmental.

Stick with substance. Don't give the clowns ammo. Leave the poorly-informed, holier-than-thou tsking and scowling to the right.

by bathsheba 2006-06-03 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

We agree.  I wrote above:

This seems an unecessarily vicious post.  So, it isn't normal?

As 'family values' conservatives would point out, neither is two men in love.  (2-10% of the population is gay, clearly not the norm)

The wrestling is odd behaviour but he isn't hurting anybody.  I have no idea why he threw up.  Obviously he remembers it because it was so unusual.  I'm not sure why it was brought up though (no pun intended).

Democrats are supposed to be supporters of offbeat and counterculture people who aren't hurting anybody.  Republicans are supposed to be the judgemental assholes.

by Adam T 2006-06-03 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

To the Poster above? Exactly what is wrong with football and other competitve sports?  

by nkreindl27 2006-06-03 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

I am finding it very disturbing, that on this site moderate democrats, and other democrats who like such things as Football, Nascar and respect serving in the military are labeled as "traitors".  Very disturbing indeed.

by nkreindl27 2006-06-03 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

So maybe the guy likes a little fun.  What's wrong with that?  What's wrong with wrestling or beer pong? Not my cup of tea, but I understand the appeal.  Even if you're in your fifties, it's god to maintain a young attitude.  I sense some antagonism by the poster towards prep  school/fraternity antics, having gone to prep school, I can understand the nostalgia older men have for youthful antics.  I don't understand what some people have against them.  Lighten up.

by ctd72 2006-06-03 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: What is with the weirdos at the top?

Well, I went to Phillips Exeter and Dartmouth, have fond memories of prep school, and DON'T have nostalgia for fraternity "antics."

I think at the age of 53, I qualify as an older man.  And I think that columnists who use phrases like "Alpha Male" and admiringly cite behavior like this are part of the problem.  The only thing missing from the article was a declaration that anyone who disagrees is a girly man.

by Frisbeedog 2006-06-04 09:45AM | 0 recs
by davidsebasy 2007-02-03 06:40AM | 0 recs

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