You know me, i’m all about hard drinking journalism.
i, Al K Hall, have uncovered drafts (and, believe me, there were a lot of ‘drafts’) of Ted Kennedy’s latest autobiography, True Compass. Called Brew Compass, it gives a 200 proof taste of what his life as a drinker was like.
For example, concerning the assassination of his brother, John F Kennedy:
That was messed up. It was a really hard time for me. I mean, who knew holding a rifle in a bush would’ve been so difficult? I don’t know if it was the DTs or nerves or what, but afterwards, I celebrated so hard I found puke inside my underwear. Never even did figure out if it was mine or not…
Here’s what Teddy Beer had to say about the Chappaquiddick incident (when in 1969 he didn’t notice taking a wrong turn from asphalt onto a dirt road and drove off a bridge, forgetting to help the 29 year old girl drowning beside him while he swam to safety):
Of course I was drunk! First I was on the drink and then I was in it. Jesus, how could people be so stupid as to believe me when I said I’d been sober!? A Kennedy not drinking at an event? It’d be like the pope not shitting in the woods. My brothers would’ve rolled over in their graves! I was at a freakin’ party, for chrissakes. I left at 11:15pm–if I can drink a bottle and a half of wine in 25 minutes, imagine how toasted I was after drinking for three hours. God, why else do you think I didn’t report the accident? I wrecked the Olds at around 1am, it was found at 8am, and I notified authorities at 10. Do the math: I only had nine hours to sober up (and wash the puke out of my underwear, again). At least after that I can honestly call myself a “lady killer”.
The list goes on but you get the picture. i won’t bore you with the details (unless this post gets over 50 hits–and if Canya and Tailor-Maid only reached 32, i figure i’m safe) but there is something other than my lunch i’d like to bring up. In the real book True Compass, Kennedy admits to going on some benders but denies being an alcoholic (check out the NY Daily News article here). Kennedy’s alcoholism, however, is legendary. How could a man with so many drunk stories claim not to be an alkie? The answer is simple: He was a binge drinker.
i know all about binge drinking. Here’s how Ted and the rest of the world can both be right. Binge drinkers don’t need to drink every day, we don’t need a pick-me-up in the morning or “hair of the dog” before lunch. We don’t stash liquor bottles around the apartment and we don’t drink ourselves to sleep every night. We are not the typical faces behind styrofoam cups in church basements the world over saying “Hi, my name is Mud and I’m an alcoholic”. But Saint Pauli help us after we’ve had a couple drinks.
So Ted Cannidy wasn’t wrong when he told himself he wasn’t a traditional alcoholic. This does not mean he didn’t have a drinking problem, however.
Two footnotes to this post:
- Anecdotal evidence suggest that Kennedy noticeably reduced (yeah, like that would be hard) his alcohol intake after marrying his second wife in 1992.
- For the story of Edward Kennedy’s drinking habits, Michael Kelly (who would later become the first American reporter to die in the Iraq war) wrote THE definitive article for GQ in 1990. Extremely well researched and thoroughly documented, the 17(!) page e-article is a must read for anyone considering themself a drinker. Read it here and be astonished.
On a more serious note: A shout out to Conan the Trout Man.
Mr Trout Man was only the second stranger to wander up to the bar and leave a comment (here, on the “19 year old Frenchie” post). Welcome, Mr Trout Man and thank you again for patronizing the Bar None. If you had a good time, invite a friend.