It comes in threes.
Bristol Palin’s “Not Afraid of Life,” inaugurated the most recent triad. In it, the former Alaska governor’s teen candidly described the fallout from “going rogue” with boyfriend Levi Johnston.
That’s to be followed next week by Dick Chaney’s “In My Time,” in which the notoriously redacted veep admits he kept a fully-executed resignation letter handy in the event one of his weekly bypasses failed.
Capping off this dirty laundry threesome is Florence Henderson’s forthcoming, ” Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond,” in which TV’s perfect mom cops to a one night tryst with John Lindsay, not-so-confidentially sharing what it was about the New York City mayor that most bugged her.
For some these allocutions are as effortless as they are de rigueur. And what’s wrong with that? When it comes to memoirs, confession is good for the soul and not bad for sales either. But divulging secrets is an imperative for all autobiographies, even for a life that’s been pristine or if legal council advises avoiding self-incrimination. Those without adequate closet skeletons just have to dig harder for the requisite juicy bits that’ll land them on the talk show circuit and propel their books to Amazon’s #1 spot.
Consider how much more interesting these otherwise bland autobiographies might be if they were peppered with a few, albeit innocuous, mea culpas:
- Bernie Madoff. “I still vividly recall my first time. I was fifteen. I stopped at neighborhood Dunkin’ Donuts to use the rest room and came out with 34 cents from the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny dish.”
- Colonel Mustard. “I must get this off my chest. Professor Plum is rotting in the penitentiary for a crime he did not commit. I killed Mr. Boddy in the conservatory and then I planted the candlestick in Plum’s valise so he would be accused.”
- Shaggy. “In the early days, acceding to pressure from Fred and Velma to do something about the frequent accidents on the Mystery Van carpeting, I often beat ScoobyDoo with a rolled-up newspaper.”
- Orville Wright. “… and as we overshot Kitty Hawk, I said to Wilbur, ‘this is not the time or the place to update your Facebook status.’ We later blamed that failed attempt on engine troubles and slack winds.”
- Mother Teresa. “In 1993, I was guilty of a transgression that still weights heavy on me. Passing a rack of literature that said, ‘take one,’ I noticed, only later, that I had actually taken two.”