If only Stephen Glass had learned how to climb a rope ….

From an excellent article on serial “fabulist” Stephen Glass and his attempts to be admitted to the California Bar after sullying his name in the late 1990s by concocting a ton of stories in The New Republic, George,  and many other fine publications:

“Such was their demand for their child’s success that they even hired a “tutor” to help Glass master rope-climbing. “Applicant noted that, at least in this case, their efforts were unsuccessful. He still could not climb the rope, even after tutoring,” Judge Honn continues.”

The poor guy, the victim of two over-weening helicopter parents who were hell-bent to see their son get a medical degree. So obsessed that they hired a rope climbing tutor to get him up the rope and build his self-esteem.

This is the guy that put Forbes.com on the map after our managing editor Kambiz Faroohar and computer crime reporter Adam Penenberg started checking into Glasses’ story Hack Heaven.  They exposed the fraud, Vanity Fair wrote a feature, Hollywood made a film, and Glass went on to write a novel, The Fabulist, and graduate magna cum laude from Georgetown Law.

Last Friday I climbed a rope for the first time since I ascended one in the wrestling room in high school in 1976. I climbed it ten times in fact, inching my way up the 15′ long, 2″ wide hawser at the urging of my CrossFit trainer. I’ve got no skin on my inner thighs, have a lurid trench burned into my right shin, and no fingerprints on my right hand’s middle and pinkie fingers. But I climbed the frigging rope.

Oh but the feeling of accomplishment to have climbed that terrifying rope not once, not twice, but ten times in a row, slapping the girder on the ceiling every time before descending in a panicked slide of friction and controlled falling. I feel no urge to tell a lie as a result.

So, Mr. and Mrs. Glass, there is still hope for young Stephen. Sign him up for CrossFit and have him watch this how-to video. Then maybe the California Supreme Court will let him be a lawyer where his unique prevaricating skills will be right at home.

via The trial of Stephen Glass.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

5 thoughts on “If only Stephen Glass had learned how to climb a rope ….”

  1. I am looking forward to your meditations on the psychological impact of dodge ball next week… 😉
    Btw, pretty impressive about that rope thing. No way could I do that now.

  2. Competitive rope climbers use their feet only on the descent. Going up they keep their feet away from the rope. They train by doing chin-ups. Lots and lots of chin-ups. In the seventies and eighties I won a few bets using the technique. It was a fun ego boost. Anyone using his feet will lose a rope climbing race.

  3. I want to learn how to hand-over-hand a small diameter line — the tugboat sized hawsers are unrealistic. Now climbing something the size of a clothesline would be an accomplishment.

  4. I remember that feeling of accomplishment climbing the rope the first time and slapping the beam at the Portsmouth Box.

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