A new standard for forgiveness

2008-02-06 00:00

Heath Ledger’s memorial service was held in Los Angeles on Sunday. For those mental midgets who would rather read a book than heat magazine, Ledger is the man who single-handedly brought peace to the Middle East and then discovered a cure for cancer while ending the civil war in Sudan.

Reading the gushing obits, I got the impression that Ledger must have died after heroically plunging into a piranha-infested river in an attempt to save a group of disabled children whose school bus had been swept off a low-lying bridge in a remote area inhabited by man-eating wolves.

On closer inspection it turned out that Ledger died after heroically plunging into a sack full of drugs. His greatest accomplishment was spending 90 minutes pretending to be a gay cowboy.

His memorial service was, by all accounts, not to be snorted at. Dozens of film stars turned up in the hope of meeting “Fernando”, Ledger’s closest and most trusted dealer. Ledger’s father, acting inexplicably out of character for an Australian, delivered a eulogy that was strangely lacking in the words: “That useless junkie bastard got what was coming to him.” Instead, he spoke of the terrible accident that befell his son. Yeah, I had a similar accident once and it got me six months suspended for three years.

Meanwhile, two United States entertainment channels have folded under pressure from Ledger’s friends and agreed not to broadcast a video of the poor misunderstood thespian at a drug orgy saying: “I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years.” Cumulatively speaking, that’s the equivalent of sitting down and smoking an elephant made entirely of marijuana. No wonder he needed sleeping pills.

How is it that unreconstructed dope fiends like the beaver-faced Amy Crackhouse, the man-guzzling boozehound Lindsay Lohan and Time magazine’s Mother of the Year, Britney Spears, can earn the respect of a nation by publicly confessing their predilection for high-octane alcohol and powerful narcotics?

And should they voluntarily agree to go into rehab, how is it that they are lauded as national heroes and portrayed by the media as role models for the youth of today?

Take this line from the Daily Telegraph: “Ledger’s former school, Guildford Grammar School, has offered to hold a memorial for Perth’s homegrown movie star.”

That’s right, kids. Bring your homegrown down to the school hall and we’ll all gather round to suck on a giant hubbly-bubbly and give Perth’s favourite stoner the kinda send-off he woulda wanted.

If I had to tell you that on Sunday night I had trouble finding my keyboard beneath a mountain of cocaine and heroin, none of you would write to the paper blaming the editor for putting me under the inhuman strain of having to deliver a column week after week. All that would happen is that the police would raid my home, take half my stash and force me to pay protection money for the rest of my life.

Ted has just walked through my door empty-handed. I pretended not to know him and was about to press the panic button when he whistled and stood back. An Irish wolfhound came bounding into the room wearing a saddlebag with a six-pack of Tafel lager lashed to each of its heaving flanks.

We sat down and the dog brought us a beer each.

“Good dog,” I said. “The best,” said Ted.

I told Ted that People magazine was reporting that Spears hadn’t slept since Thursday and that the national guard had blocked off the road and cordoned off the airspace so that the paramedics from the funny farm could come for her with minimal interference from the running dogs of the yellow press.

“That’s more than JFK got,” said Ted, signalling the dog to bring him another.

I told Ted that the U.S. had set a new standard for understanding and forgiveness, and that there was never a better time to take drugs anywhere in the world, with the possible exception of Ventersdorp.

The dog seemed to understand. He trotted over to Ted and presented his rear, much like a pedigree would present its rear at Crufts. Unlike a judge at Crufts, Ted reached in and withdrew a small plastic bank bag.

“Is that what I think it is?” I said.

“Yes,” said Ted. “It’s the cell number of the Eskom guy. The one who decides who gets shut down and who doesn’t.”

I tried to grab it from him, because this kind of information is worth millions, but the dog intervened on the basis of some sort of dumb allegiance to its master. In the ensuing melee, the number was lost. I accused the dog of having swallowed it and was preparing for a rudimentary disembowelment when the hound outsmarted me with an intelligence belying his Celtic heritage and bounded off towards the N2, thereby restoring my faith in his Celtic heritage.

Ted told me to forget the dog and instead focus my psychic energy on swinging Super Tuesday Barack Obama’s way. I thought he was speaking in tongues and slapped him hard against the side of his so-called head. He apologised and then, when my back was turned, he headbitted me, which is the same as being headbutted except the aggressor sinks his teeth into your head.

Ted relinquished his grip when I shouted out Hillary Clinton’s name. He fell back like a wounded animal. “Are you telling me that you would rather have a white woman than a black man rule the free world?”

“Yes!” I shouted, wiping the blood out of my eyes. “I have always felt safer in the hands of a white woman than a black man.”

Ted was incensed. He said there would be nuclear war with the first irrational mood swing and Africa would go to hell in a hand basket while she spent all her time colour coding the Oval Office.

Then he spat on the ground three times and left.

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