The crazy stuff

Space Diapers demonstrates one way in which women can have it all:

Lisa Nowak chose a juggling act of dauntingly high difficulty: to be an astronaut and a mother of three.

Her background – high school valedictorian, Naval Academy graduate, test pilot – seemed to equip her for the challenge. Yet as she and some of her acquaintances acknowledged, the stresses on her and her family were extraordinarily intense.

On Wednesday, transformed from space hero to criminal suspect, Nowak returned to Houston for a medical assessment, a day after she was charged in Florida with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping in what police depicted as a love triangle involving a fellow astronaut.

The woman viewed as a role model by the schoolchildren she often addressed was met on the tarmac by police and escorted into a waiting squad car. Her head was covered by a jacket. She was later released on bail, with orders to stay away from the other woman and to wear a monitoring device; she faced a medical exam at Johnson Space Center.

While the whole story is extremely funny, except for the matter of the three kids involved, it is only the latest example of a much-lauded, high-flying woman crashing and burning. Sometimes they do this quite literally, and I’d be quite interested to see someone do a study on these female models of accomplishment to determine what percentage of them end up as complete train wrecks.

Recently, one of Blair’s Babes died, a female MP whose life fell completely apart after she was elected to Parliament, a similar example of the particular toll that great success seems to exact from some women.

Now, there have always been a higher percentage of crazies than normal among the most accomplished men. But what’s striking here is the high percentage of crazies among the women and the level of self-destructiveness which only seems to appear after their success has been attained.

This does not bode well for a nation soon to be governed by Ms Pelosi and Ms Rodham.