In April of 1988, Oakland Athletics outfielder Jose Canseco guaranteed he would hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases during the upcoming season, a then-unprecedented feat in major league baseball. Canseco went on to hit 42 home runs and steal 40 bases that season, fulfilling his guarantee and becoming the first 40/40 man in baseball history. The City of Miami promptly renamed a stretch of SW 16th Street, in front of Miami Coral Park High School, which Canseco attended, “Jose Canseco Way”.
In the years that followed, Canseco:
- Was arrested for reckless driving in February of 1989.
- Was arrested for carrying a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his car in April of 1989.
- Was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly ramming his then-wife Esther’s BMW with his Porsche in February of 1992.
- Was arrested for hitting his then-wife Jessica in November of 1997.
- Was arrested (along with his identical twin brother Ozzie) for aggravated battery after getting into a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub in October of 2001.
- Had his probation revoked after missing a court appearance in March of 2003.
- Was arrested for probation violation after testing positive for steroids in June of 2003.
- Lost his house in Encino, California to foreclosure.
- Admitted to using anabolic steroids throughout his baseball career in a tell-all book published in 2005.
- Was detained by immigration officials at a San Diego border crossing as he tried to smuggle in a fertility drug from Mexico in October of 2008.
- Absurdly campaigned to become mayor of Toronto, Canada in 2012, using the slogan Yes We Can(seco), even though he is not a Canadian citizen and is thus ineligible to become mayor of any Canadian city.
- Was named as a suspect in a rape allegation in Las Vegas in May of 2013.
- Was pulled over by police in November of 2013 while he was transporting goats wearing diapers.
In 2008, the City of Miami sheepishly rescinded the renaming of SW 16th Street.
Canseco is an extreme example, but the point is, given enough time we will all somehow screw up. I thought of Canseco while re-watching “Titanic”, and then again while reading “First Love”. In the former, a nascent relationship is cut short (and thus left forever perfect) when young Jack Dawson freezes to death in the North Atlantic. In the latter, a nascent relationship is cut short (and thus left forever perfect) when young Oscar James Robinson succumbs to cancer.
On the surface, Rose DeWitt Bukater (who survived Dawson) and Axi Moore (who survived Robinson) are tragically cheated out of decades of romantic bliss. The truth is actually the opposite. Rose and Axi received a wonderful gift: the ultimate lifelong partners, never tarnished by reality. The ideal relationships, shaped to perfection by their imaginations. No matter what else happens in their lives, they already have that which so many strive for, permanently protected from its otherwise inevitable erosion by the confines of their nurturing minds.
Jack and Oscar will never bring shame to anyone. Hell, you could even name a street after them.