Apparently, Ted Kennedy's kid has a problem with controlled substances. Quelle surprise. The good people of Rhode Island (that's a state) knew that the lifelong bachelor they sent to Congress was no teetotaller long before they sent him there. They knew he liked to tie one on and go for a spin. That's how he rolls. His constituents are down with that.
So when Pat choked down a fistful of Ambien and consumed no alcohol (yeah, right), then banged up his Mustang after careening down a capital street at 3 in the morning with the headlights off, it wasn't exactly a shock. Nor was it much of a surprise to learn that the D.C. cops sent in the Obfuscation Brigade to offer a lift home to the six-termer who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That's how Washington works. We all know it. Of course it isn't fair that Pat gets to buzz off to the Mayo Clinic to dry out for a few days while the rest of us would be doing time. But there's no sense griping about it. Until you're a Kennedy, don't drink and drive.
It was rather touching, actually, for Kennedy to go on national television and tell us what he's told us a dozen times now-that he struggles with addiction. Struggles, my ass. Seems to me he has addiction mastered. So do I. But if I bounced a Ford off a security gate a quarter-mile from the White House, I doubt the feds would pack me up, cart me home and tuck me in for the night. If it were up to me, we'd all get to call the brass-and-khaki shuttle any time we dent our ride after tipping a few dozen martinis. But we don't. We have to call Yellow Cab and shell out a 10-spot to get our butts to bed.
I'll admit it. I'm envious. I've always wanted to get away with partying like the Kennedys. My most dearly held private fantasy is to jump into a Leer jet with Winona Ryder, Courtney Love and Robert Downey Jr., fly out to Massachusetts, meet up with Ted and the clan and get just magnificently shit-faced. Sadly, I haven't been invited.
Which is why I am particularly grateful to have a column in this esteemed publication. I look upon it as an opportunity to network. Surely, at least one CityBeat reader knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows a Kennedy. It doesn't need to be a famous one. An in-law will do. I'll even settle for one of the ugly, dumb ones they don't let go on television or run for public office. Anyone with a key to the compound is sufficient.
Here's what I'm offering. My girlfriend has a little more than 3 million unused frequent flyer miles, so she will cover the travel costs for you and a friend to accompany us. All you need to be able to do is to gain access to a Kennedy mansion and point us to the wet bar and the medicine cabinet.
I figure we can leave on a Thursday and fly back on a Monday. That way, come Saturday night we'll already be two days into a bender, just right for hopping in the Hummer and tearing up the suburbs. When we finally end up mired to the floorboard in a peat bog, we'll still have a good 36 hours to sleep it off before we have to hop a flight westward. If you happen to know how to get hold of Gary Busey and Nick Nolte, invite them along. They can play chicken on their motorcycles and shoot the neighbors' show pony. That's always fun.
Mind you, this trip is not for the faint of heart. We're talking about some world-class drinking and pill-popping here. We're not just talking knee-crawling drunk; we're talking the kind of drunk that eats the worm, drinks the bong water and wakes up and can't remember shaving your pubic hair off. I mean real, serious, lasting-damage drunk-the kind of drunk that breaks your hand and doesn't care.
And there's not going to be any of this Mayo Clinic crap, either. Rehab is for quitters. You're going to fly back home feeling like a family of goats moved into your skull, you're going to spend Monday night puking and you're going to get up and go to work on Tuesday just like everyone else, because no matter how hard you like to party, you are not Ted Kennedy's kid.
And because you're not Ted Kennedy's kid, I don't want to hear you telling me things like, "Setbacks are a part of recovery." Having no recollection of wrecking your car at First and C, SE, is not a setback; it's getting hammered. Drinking is an art form, and like all art forms, practice makes perfect. Patrick Kennedy does not need to stop drinking. He needs to start drinking better. And because I'm fond of him and his kinfolk, if I can't go to him, he is certainly invited to come to me. I know every bar in San Diego, and there are still a dozen or so where I'm allowed to drink. My favorite is just two blocks from my house. You can't wreck a car if you don't drive.
Of course, to be fair to the Congressman, he had to drive. He was way too trashed to walk. And to be fair to the Capitol Police, what else were they supposed to do-give Ted Kennedy's kid a breathalyzer? Don't be dense. When a Kennedy wrecks a car and sleeps off a hard night of partying, it's not a crime-it's a tradition. It's part of the great American saga.
So give Patrick Kennedy a break. After all, it's not like he killed someone. That's been done already.
Tony Phillips blogs at www.fifthavenuegazette.com. Write to fifthavenuegazette[at]yahoo[dot]com and editor[at]SDcitybeat[dot]com.