I observed this morning that I considered it inappropriate for me to editorialize about Ben Roethlisberger until more about his prognosis was known.
Well, E.S.P.N. is now reporting that Roethlisberger's condition has been upgraded and his injuries do not appear likely to be career-ending. Naturally, I am pleased to hear that the Pittsburgh Steelers Q.B. probably will play in 2006 and I send him my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
Now that Big Ben appears to be on his way out of the woods, my self-imposed restriction on editorializing has been lifted, so here is what I think, for whatever it might be worth:
Ben Roethlisberger is a total moron.
"Hey, Ben, you just won the Super Bowl . . . what are you going to do now?" "I'm going to engage in colossally stupid self-destructive behavior that will threaten my career and my life!" (Photograph courtesy Sports Illustrated.)
I believe the next edition of the Chemical Rubber Company's Handbook of Chemistry and Physics should designate the amount of stupidity necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water one Celsius degree as a "Roethlisberger."
Let your car run out of gas? That equals one Roethlisberger. Forgot your wedding anniversary? Five Roethlisbergers. Set a plastic crate aflame while tailgating before the South Carolina game? 10 Roethlisbergers.
The namesake of this unit of measurement is the absolute quintessence of idiocy. How is Ben a dufus? Let me count the ways. . . .
First of all, there's the fact that riding a motorcycle isn't a terribly wise idea under the best of circumstances. However smart I may think you are based upon your other traits, I automatically deduct at least a dozen I.Q. points from my estimation of your intelligence upon learning that you ride a motorcycle. It's just a dumb thing to do.
It's always fun until somebody gets hurt.
Secondly, there's the fact that, if you're going to ride a motorcycle or operate any kind of motor vehicle, you need to have a valid license. Trust me . . . I'm a Georgia fan, so I know whereof I speak.
In addition, there's the fact that, if you're going to ride a motorcycle, you need to be someone other than a professional athlete. Did Ron Gant teach us nothing?
Riding a motorcycle would be a dumb enough thing for me to do, but, if I smashed up my knees, I'd still be able to practice law. If, on the other hand, I were the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl and I had my whole professional sports career ahead of me and my most lucrative employment option outside of the N.F.L. was substantially less financially rewarding than lining up under center for the defending world champions, I might take care of myself at least well enough not to go joyriding on an inherently dangerous motorized conveyance. Just food for thought there, Ben.
Finally, though, if you're going to ignore all of the foregoing, at least remember to wear a helmet! Really, this is pretty basic physics: your head + speed + windshield = you lose. Did Gary Busey teach us nothing?
As bad as it would be for the average guy on the street not to understand the importance of wearing protective headgear when engaging in a physically dangerous activity, it's five times worse for a professional football player, who, after all, wears a helmet when he does his job!
They give you one of these for a reason, Ben.
I hope Ben Roethlisberger comes back from this injury without suffering any long-term ill effects. Let there be no doubt, however, that the guy is a complete idiot. Anyone who would put his life and career in jeopardy through such a sequence of successive serious misjudgments qualifies as a total nincompoop.
Let's hope this incident knocked some sense into him. Otherwise, Tim Robbins will have to be cast to play Big Ben in the movie, since he already has experience portraying ball players with million-dollar arms and ten-cent heads.
Get well soon, Ben, but wise up sooner still.