Lance Armstrong was doing some singing the other night when he admitted to being doped while he cycled. He was not under oath as the USADA would like, but in front of cameras on the Oprah Winfrey show, which the American public prefers. Since he never really earned any yellow jerseys, but now has a great record for honesty, he may be able to get an alternate prize. I think it’s time to award Lance a Yellow Submarine.
But wait. Let’s make sure he’s truly eligible.
Criterion: Drug use
Clearly, Yellow Submarine is about doping. The colors, the random events, the flying submarine, the time travel through the space-time continuum, all these things are only possible under the influence of hallucinogenic substances. Or an overabundance of Dr. Who and Star Trek reruns.
Obviously, he passes this test with flying colors. He admits (finally) to his use of a drug cocktail to spike his performance. At last, his doping serves a purpose, it puts him on the road to becoming one with the submarine.
Criterion: Parallel Lives
In Yellow Submarine, the Beatles find they have been leading parallel lives. Their alter egos, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, have been running around keeping Pepperland afloat for all this time. When the Beatles and Seargant Pepper’s troupe meet each other, they spend a few minutes philosophizing.
Armstrong was indeed leading parallel lives. On the one hand, he had this public image of himself as a Winner. (You can hear that capital letter if you read the sentence out loud.) He beat cancer! He beat cycling! He beat people up in court when they attacked him! On the other hand, he had a personal life where he was trying to control all outcomes (his words). And when he finally met himself in the glass bubble of Oprah’s interview room, he spent an hour philosophizing.
Criterion: Blue Meanies
There has to be a bully who wants to destroy Pepperland, or you don’t have any reason to call in the Beatles, right? Blue meanies go around knocking out the general populace by dropping bonkers on people’s heads and attacking them with a giant glove.
Armstrong was His Blueness. He only allowed whomever his personal Max might have been at any given time to say “No”, when people asked about doping. He bonked the hell out of his detractors and pointed his righteous glove at thm in court and in public. He ruined a friend’s cycling career. He bullied every person beneath him, as he now admits, and everyone was beneath him.
Criterion: Ultimate Conversion
By the end, Jeremy the Nowhere man has brought those ne’er-do-well meanies back into the folds of a loving society, and his Blueness is coming out roses, requiring Max to say “yes” at last.
Oh yes, Armstrong has converted. His new mission is to say, “Yes” and save cycling with honesty. He wants to admit to his wrongs so he can set them right. He’s coming out roses y’all.
Criterion: Go Out Singing
At the end, there’s a live action clip where The Beatles spot newer and bluer meanies. Helpless against the onslaught, they realize there’s only one way to go out: singing.
Apparently, the doping culture that Armstrong so long perpetuated has gotten even worse since he retired. He now sees this as the larger enemy, forcing him to change from his controlling behaviors into more redemptive ways. In his Oprah interview, Mr. Armstrong did indeed elect to go out singing.
It remains to be seen what, exactly, is in this for Armstrong, what he truly hopes to gain from his admissions. He’d like us to believe he’s acting out of the goodness of his heart, but his past behavior speaks against him. Still, there’s no test for that yet, and we have stored his sample in a digital clip to be replayed on an endless loop. So, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I believe we can, at this time, award him with le sous-marin jaune. We hear it’s a lot more durable than lycra.