National defense would crumble if every cheater quit

petraeus' shame bad precedent, but good ballad

Contributing columnistNovember 25, 2012 

A leitmotif in the old mountain ballads is when a highborn Lady runs off with a gypsy or an endowed peasant and cheats on her Lord. Old mountain ballads presume that Lords can have sport sex with anybody they want, such an accepted and common thing as to not be worth a song.

Petraeus. The name's so musical that if somebody could just think of something which rhymes with it, they could be the next John Jacob Niles, except for the singing. Old Niles sung so high only a dog could hear it. He was also the last of the Kentuckians who pretended to be English.

In one old ballad, a soldier seduced the damsel and only later told her he was married, and as he put it "one wife's a plenty, too many for me." If that is not legitimate rape, it's a double first cousin.

But our new ballad, already timeless, will have to be fairly long, because of so many lords and so many ladies laid.

Personally I have for some time looked forward to a public affair involving a highborn, a wife and two girlfriends, because it gives me a chance to tell a true story. And if you don't believe it, call me up and I'll give you the phone number of the wife.

Thirty or more years ago, one of my wife's and my best friends was having a longtime affair with a married man. Then he started seeing a second girlfriend. The wife came up to the first girlfriend in the store and said, "Shirley, that son of a bitch is going out on us!"

The real question is this: Why would anybody want to be a general or a governor or somebody high up in the papers, as we say in the uplands, unless they could get more women?

This thing of not having generals who do sport sex would have cost us Ike and J. Edgar Hoover, too. We are not sure about Lincoln, but he did seem inordinately fond of bedding down with two or three other men on those law trips.

Resignation upon getting caught sets a bad example. What if everybody in the government and military who cheated suddenly quit? The Russians, or whoever our enemy is now, could take over our country in 20 minutes.

I guess the problem would be if, like a president started sleeping with a woman with Mafia connections. He could end up getting shot.

If he were a mountaineer, Gen. David Petraeus would be joining the church about now. And buying his wife a hat.

He can draw unemployment for a few months, and then maybe look in the want ads for a job. But right now, at the house is one place he doesn't want to be very much. He would take a job changing tires just to not be there. Possibly the general could get a military pension, but wouldn't that put him over with us in the 47 percent?

Soon we will have the technology to enforce chastity. Machines will detect lustful thinking and report it to either the government or your old lady, or the pope.

Who will be in charge of our standards? Is there presently a committee somewhere in the bowels of the government's medical program who decides how much Viagra a month a 60-year-old gets?

The only little problem with too much chastity it that, sooner or later, it will lead to the extinction of our race. Other than that, it is a good thing.

Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney. Reach him at

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