A big—and frankly, enjoyable—stink was made this past week when our illustrious rising Republican star governor, Chris Christie, while taking a break from cutting school budgets, hating gays and swiping giant lollipops from bonnet-clad babies in oversized strollers (or whatever it is he does with his afternoons), took a helicopter to watch his son play baseball. This, my friends, is adorable.
It’s a perk of the job, was the argument from his office. Actually, what they said was more or less, “The money’s spent anyway and if we don’t let them fly, the pilots just get drunk and gropey, so yeah…” and the press had a mini-field day with it. I didn’t see the word “Coptergate” in any of the coverage, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.
Now, I don’t begrudge Mr. Christie the use of the chopper. Every job has to have its upsides (I used to get free CDs when CDs existed), and although he probably shouldn’t use the company copter for personal affairs, on the scale of New Jersey gubernatorial corruption, this is pretty small potatoes. He agreed to pay back part of the money, effectively pulling the rug out from under the whole thing before it got out of hand (perhaps learning from Barrack Obama’s “Here’s my birth certificate now can we please all stop talking about Donald Trump?” adventure), and that more or less ended the story. Kind of a yawner, if you think about it.
Unless you look at the details. Again, it’s not the helicopter I have a problem with, but if you go back and read the account, you’ll see that after Christie got off the helicopter, he had a car service drive him the roughly 100 yards from where he landed to the bleachers where he watched his son’s game. 100 yards. In a car.
He couldn’t walk 100 yards?
I don’t know who paid for the car, either him personally or taxpayers, and I don’t care. That’s not my problem. My problem is that our governor, who at least in theory is even more of our representative to the rest of the country than the cast of Jerseylicious (though the reality may be otherwise), refuses to walk 300 feet to go sit down? Come on, man.
But for a few brief intervals here and there, usually involving some kind of mental breakdown and/or other problematic behaviors, I’ve been fat my whole life, so I get it. I was a fat kid, a fat adolescent, and now I’m a fat grown-up, and I expect I’ll be one until diabetes or heart disease or colon cancer or one of those other things that kills fat people kills me. I am what I am. At least I have a beard.
So when I see Chris Christie refusing to walk 100 yards, I understand. He’s a big dude, and the way I believe the math works out, the bigger you get, the less inclined you are to start doing jumping jacks at any given moment. Maybe 100 yards looked like a mile and a half. Maybe he had a sore ankle or something like that. That stuff all happens.
However, here’s the deal: For a guy who himself once criticized Jim McGreevey for using the state helicopter and who called Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle a “jerk” for doing the same to him, and for a guy who, after his son’s baseball game, took off to meet with Iowa Republicans to discuss a possible presidential run, maybe it’s time to shape up and put a better foot forward.
And I don’t mean shape up like “Body By Jake” shape up. I mean clean up your fucking hyper-privileged attitude. Much as they all have been, I don’t recall any recent Republicans getting elected on the “I’m a rich white asshole” platform, and the 100-yard limo dash hardly makes one look like a man of the people, someone you’d want to have a beer with.
I’m not at all rooting for Christie—because he’s an asshole—but speaking as a fat guy, maybe next time he could do all of the bellied masses a favor and walk the 100 fucking yards. For appearance’s sake, if nothing else. I don’t think anyone’s expecting him to be Barrack Obama playing pickup basketball, but really, a 100-yard trek isn’t too much to ask. It’s not like anyone’s standing there with a stopwatch. Bring a bottle of water, if need be.