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Michael Phelps's friends are dinks

This past weekend, newspaper and huge narc The News of The World, released a photograph of eight-time gold medal winning Olympian, Michael Phelps, absolutely sucking the holy bejezus out of a bong. Seriously, he's got half his face in there - almost an ear.

This naturally provoked a sea of tongue clucking and weakish jokes about lung capacity. However, there was one thing about this coverage that interested me: With the exception of a few lunatics, very few people seem outraged by what Phelps did (smoking dope) or gained (temporarily increased hands-awareness). Instead, most profess amazement at the stupidity he displayed, and how this would threaten his sponsorship deals - the implication being that the sponsorship money lost is a bigger issue than the drugs. Everyone seems to have taken it for granted that this is a gravely embarrassing scandal without explaining what specifically is embarrassing or scandalous about it. Weed's a scandal, but no-one can quite remember why anymore - possibly because of too much weed.

"I'll tell you what the real scandal is, man. You ever noticed how every time you smoke weed the government starts reading your thoughts?"

In fact, the weed part of this is so little of a scandal that it looks like, for the most part, Phelps has gotten away with it. None of his sponsors have said 'boo' about the incident. Maybe major corporations are a lot hipper than we've been giving them credit for?

"I didn't ask if people liked him, I asked if he was cool."

I think the most surprising thing about the whole story is the fact that someone was taking photos of someone else doing drugs and they managed to walk away without getting beaten into a stew. Stoners are too peaceful I guess. Remember that guy who took those photos of Mike Tyson shooting speedballs into his eyeballs? Of course not - he fucking disappeared in a cloud of blood and gristle before he could release his photos to the tabloids. I'll go so far as to state that the very fact that we haven't seen photos of Mike Tyson inserting horrific drug cocktails into his orifices is proof that he has been doing just that, and then murdering anyone nearby with a camera or photographic memory.

So, given the grave dangers involved and knowing the complete lack of moral character Cracked readers possess (you guys are absolutely feral sometimes), below I've compiled some helpful examples on how to safely capitalize the opportunity in similar situations. The next time you're around a world class athlete engaging in behavior which could be described as unsavory if viewed in the unsexy light of day, just refer back to this list, which I encourage you to print out and keep on you at all times.

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Terrell Owens swearing at a small child The scenario:

While signing autographs, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens takes offense to an imaginary slight by a small child. He tells the child to *^#@. How to capitalize on this:

There is no way to capitalize on this. T.O. will in no way be embarrassed by this at all, and will hold a press conference on his own, during which he will call out the small child and point out their many flaws.

Roger Federer soliciting sexual services

The scenario:

You're loitering in the prostitution district, hoping to sell some sexual services when you observe a competitor speaking with tennis star Roger Federer. How to capitalize on this:

If you manage to get one, a photograph of this particular happening will fetch a high price. If you can capture an angle that reveals both Federer's face and the existence of both sets of genitals on the other party, all the better.

Derek Jeter committing tax evasion

The scenario:

While working for a tech-support hotline, you get a call from Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who asks for help fixing his computer. Following your instructions, he allows you to remotely access his machine, whereupon you discover that he has not paid taxes in eight years. How to capitalize on this:

Computer evidence is easy to forge, and not very convincing. Really, your only option here is blackmail. The trick to getting away with blackmail is to make no threat, or offer a bargain. Just reveal that you know, and observe that the proper thing to do is come forward. Let the offending party offer to pay you off. I made $23 off Tony Danza this way once when I saw him use the bathroom without washing his hands.

Maria Sharapova crapping on your lawn

The scenario:

You're up late watching downloaded episodes of the Cosby Mysteries when you hear a sound outside. Thinking it's the newspaper arriving, you open the front door and are surprised to find tennis beauty Maria Sharapova pinching one off in the middle of your lawn. How to capitalize on this:

A photograph, again. It should be obvious by now that keeping a camera handy whenever you're around famous people (or bathrooms) is a good rule of thumb to live by. One quirk about this particular case study is that while a tabloid will certainly be interested in a photograph of this nature, certain "alternative publications of dubious legality" (if you know what I'm saying) will probably pay much, much more.

Tiger Woods people smuggling

The scenario:

You're taking your usual walk down by the Jersey docks one morning when you happen to see golfing superstar Tiger Woods standing beside a shipping container full of Ukrainian prostitutes, as a greasy man peels bills off a large wad and hands them to him. How to capitalize on this:

Easy one: Run like hell. If they saw you, expect a tense cat and mouse game while the world's most enigmatic multi-racial criminal mastermind stalks you, intent on silencing you with a single gloved hand. If you survive, you can call Crime Stoppers. I believe they offer a small reward for information leading to the conviction of Tiger Woods.

LeBron James enriching uranium

The scenario:

You visit your neighbor, Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, to borrow a cordless drill. Noticing his garage door ajar, you enter to find him supervising the operation of a multistage gas centrifuge unit of his own design, the rich scent of uranium thick in the air. How to capitalize on this:

Threaten to report him at the next meeting of the Homeowners Committee. Do it casually, like it's something you don't want to do, but given how strict the committee is about things like this, you really don't have a choice, but maybe if he wouldn't be such a goddamned crybaby about how your hedges block the sun during the early afternoon and maybe if he would also pick up his goddamned dogs goddamned shit off your goddamned lawn you could forget what you saw.

Peyton Manning filming snuff porn

The scenario:

While answering personal ads seeking "lonely souls who few knows exist, and none will miss" you meet Superbowl winning quarterback Peyton Manning, who wants to have sex with you on a bed with rather too many knives sitting nearby. How to capitalize on this:

Manning had knee surgery during last year's off season, and looked a little shaky for the first half of the season this year. Strike wildly at his knees until he collapses, then flee the room and pursue a book deal immediately.

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