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Life out here: By Bret Kofford: The perfect valentine

February 14, 2001

His morning breath was so strong today that it even poured out of his nose as he let loose another freight train snore. His hair, what is left of it anyway, stuck out from his head like a porcupine on mescaline. He needed a shave, a bath, six months of Ab Roller workouts, a back waxing and, frankly, a new pair of boxer shorts.

He was, and is, your valentine.

In Wisconsin a woman woke up this morning next to a man with a perfect body, perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect boxer shorts in a perfect mansion in a perfect suburb. He was an All-American in the All-American sport, a man who screamed about All-American values all the All-American time. He would never have morning breath, and if he did someone would pay.

He was, and is, the valentine of Lynda Chmura, and OK, maybe a few other women.

He is every woman's dream.

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He is America's nightmare.

Yes, Mark Chmura was acquitted last week of both enticing and raping a teen at a graduation party. And while a jury might have found him not guilty of those particular crimes, he is guilty of much. He is guilty of being a liar, being a hypocrite, of corrupting America's youth, of having no conscience and no clue.

Mark Chmura is like a lot of incredibly handsome guys. Because women have been falling all over him his entire life, he thinks he owes women nothing, that they are there to be used and tossed away without a second thought. He would go after your wife if he found her attractive. He is convinced your valentine could be his valentine if he only decided that was what he wanted. And if you didn't like it, well, he'd just kick the crap out of you.

How do I know? I know guys like this. I grew up with guys like this. I played football with guys like this. I took head shots at guys like this in football whenever I got an opening. Someone had to do it. It didn't do any good, didn't do any permanent damage, but it sure made me feel better.

Mark Chmura is a guy who hung with Rush Limbaugh, who went on and on about how America was going to hell and how people such as Mark Chmura were determined to straighten it out. Mark Chmura is a guy who loudly and publicly refused to go to the White House after his Green Bay Packers won a championship because he disapproved of things President Clinton had done.

This was when, one can read from what his bafflingly loyal wife implies, Mark Chmura was doing the same things, maybe even a little more of those things, than our now ex-president.

This from a man who illegally drank with teen girls at a post-prom party, then got into a hot tub with those girls in his underwear, then was alone with a teen girl, his kids' former baby-sitter, in a bathroom during the party. That is where something happened that a Wisconsin jury decided legally wasn't rape.

So Mark Chmura doesn't go to jail. He talks about how he and his bafflingly loyal wife think this whole ordeal was a way for God to test him. A more accurate take might be that the Mark Chmuras are on this planet as God's test for all of us.

Mark Chmura's lawyer, after his client was acquitted, compared Mark Chmura's heroism in this legal ordeal to that of Congressional Medal of Honor winners. I guess that would make him more a hero than my late dad, who didn't win the Medal of Honor but did win a chest full of medals including the Purple Heart during World War II. I guess that would make Mark Chmura more a hero than all your dads, brothers and husbands who fought for their country without earning the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

To me a hero is not a guy who sits out a game with a pulled groin, then pulls out his groin to a bunch of teen-age girls in a hot tub. To me a hero is not a tight end who pursues all the tight ends on the high school cheerleading squad.

To me a hero is the guy who is the assistant manager at the supermarket, who after a 12-hour workday comes to a little three-bedroom home packed with four kids and goes out and coaches his daughter's softball team when he is too exhausted to see straight, then flops into bed with his own wife each night.

He may be soft around the middle, thin up top, light in the wallet and late on the car payment, but he is your valentine today.

OK, so your valentine may not exactly be Mark Chmura.

You can thank God for that.

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