Some people will actually tell you that it’s difficult to like Jimmie Johnson. Sure it’s difficult — if you’re petty, jealous, and morally bankrupt like, well, some people in the world.
To those types, Johnson just seems too good to be true. Talented — check. Successful — check. Rich — check. Good-looking — check … or at least that’s what some people say (Really). Hot wife — check. So lucky you figure he’s sprinkled with fairy dust — check, check, and triple freaking check.
It’s that last thing that really grates some people — Um, hello? How about a little love coming my way is the way those people figure things. Well, those people just might need to reconsider their stunning indifference to the man.
Consider: Talladega, red flagged with about 15 laps to go, Johnson sits ninth, having missed being wrecked not once but twice, each time squeaking through a sea of careening cars by 12.23 millimeters — not that, you know, some people were secretly praying to all that they find holy for Johnson and his championship hopes to take a barrel roll down the backstretch or anything. So, anyway, as Johnson is sitting there, no doubt wondering if the Korbel waiting in the cooler on the Gulfstream will be cold enough for the return trip to Carolina, he’s on the radio with his crew chief, Chad Knaus, who wonders about the possibility of Johnson and the No. 48 actually winning the damn race.
Whereas some of those people probably half expected Johnson to snort derisively and tut-tut his crew chief with assurances that Tinkerbell had it all worked out, Johnson thoroughly destroyed that entirely irrational-utterly-etched-in-stone-and-largely-ill-informed opinion by saying, essentially, this: Dude, are you freaking nuts? Win this insane thing some observers call a race but anyone who has ever actually driven will tell you is the craziest excuse for entertainment they’ve ever been a part of? Win? We’ve been lucky to survive to this point, forget about winning. Just get me to the checkered flag and get me the hell out of here.
Or something like that — I’m kind of paraphrasing. Still, the point and its effect on at least some people remains: Can you really loathe a lucky son of a bitch who at least has the good grace to appreciate the fact that he’s a lucky son of a bitch?