, Al Goldis, Associated Press
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o acknowledges fans following a 20-3 win over Michigan State University in an NCAA college football game on Sept. 15 in East Lansing, Mich.

Now that the nation has avoided the fiscal cliff for a few more weeks, it’s time to turn our attention to something really important: fictional girlfriends.

Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o’ learned last week that his girlfriend, who supposedly died a few months ago, never really existed. Americans reacted angrily. They expect their sports heroes to have fictional achievements, not fictional girlfriends.

Speaking of which, bicycling champion Lance Armstrong confessed last week to sinking the Maine, kidnapping the Lindbergh baby and firing from the grassy knoll … no, that wasn’t it. Well, it was something apparently just as bad, because it took him two nights of prime time television to tell it to Oprah Winfrey.

The Emmys should come up with a new endurance award and give it to those TV viewers who endured the first night of Armstrong and then returned for the second.

St. Augustine took less time to confess, and he actually showed remorse.

Armstrong’s admission he cheated to win the Tour de France came right after voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame declined to induct any of that game’s biggest stars from the ‘90s because of strong suspicions they used performance enhancers. This is all a bit pathetic considering Babe Ruth set a bunch of records with just a belly full of hotdogs and a hangover.

Te’o’, on the other hand, can be forgiven for his behavior. Lots of guys in college have had fictional girlfriends.

Of course, not many of those fictional girlfriends have been able to get by fact-checkers at major news organizations.

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ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger got in trouble recently for making on-air comments about the girlfriend of the University of Alabama’s quarterback. Among other things, he said quarterbacks get all the beautiful girls. Well, at least they get real ones.

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Can it be just coincidence that, with resentment growing over how the president and Congress are messing up the economy, they are now trying to get people to lay down their weapons?

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Meanwhile, in snow-covered Utah a lot of gun owners want to remind the president that their fingers may be cold, but they’re not dead.

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Some people believe the Newtown, Conn., shooting was made up, using actors. Sure, that’s just what an actor wants, a gig you can’t put on a resume and that would prohibit you from ever landing another part.

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Rumor has it Robert Redford decided to hold the Sundance Film Festival in January so all those Hollywood types would feel right at home in the smog from a Utah inversion.

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After the state installed those pumps in the west desert during floods 30 years ago, it’s amazing no one has thought of putting a giant oscillating fan atop the Wasatch Mountains to clear out the air.

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Of course, the state Legislature is getting ready to convene its annual session, so plenty of hot air will be circulating soon.

Jay Evensen is the associate editor of the Deseret News editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @jayevensen.