In most cultures, kissing Cousins is considered incest. But in Australia, over thirteen thousand ‘friends’ in a Facebook group want to do just that. Or just ‘party’ or ‘parlay’…. or ‘something’. But whatever they want to do, it better be done quickly, before it all goes horribly wrong. Get in for your chop, there ain’t gonna be any sloppy second Cousins – he’s one of a kind. Ah, Ben Cousins… The sporting establishment condemn him, because they have to. The media do, because apparently ‘you’ (or some viewer like you) enjoys knocking in others what you’d be incapable of yourself. It’s true, let’s face it. The only difference between Cousins and any of the 100,000-plus pissed yobbos at the racetrack last week is that they are pissed witless, sunburnt and broke by 3pm, while Cousins, on the other hand (and on the other side of the thickly-racked dateline), apparently just saw the fifth sunset of a rehab-breaking coke bender. Cousins? You wish. You haven’t got the ticker, you avvo yobbo. Go back to vomiting on your tux and growling some bird in a hat behind a bush. It’s all you’re capable of. Cousins is the überyobbo, as much a champion off field as he is on. I’m serious. If you subscribe to yobbo values, then he’s the best we’ve got, a true champ. We ought to love him while we’ve got him. People keep saying ‘When’s he gonna behave?!’ ‘What an idiot!’ ‘Can’t he see he’s depraved?!’ But you know what I think? I think we’ve got the wrong end of the horse on this one. I think we should look to two other Aussie heroes for inspiration or alternatives: Ned Kelly and Phar Lap.
Ned first got a taste for a nice bit of horse after stealing one. Well, he said he didn’t know it was stolen when he galloped into town on it – he’d just ‘borrowed it’ from a friend… a friend who had stolen it from a constable up the way. As legend would have it, the policeman who tried to arrest him ended up getting ridden like a horse by said bushranger. Not long after that, Ned officially became notorious: sticking up banks and shooting cops. Ned became a problem…. and the societal solution? Ned was hanged, thus ensuring no further hold-ups and eternal notoriety. This is obviously not the way to go – maybe Phar Lap offers some better ideas?
Horses are not hanged, they’re hung (like horses). Or shot (like cops, by Ned). But not this one – he was poisoned. Apparently. Phar Lap, after a racing career of little more than a few years, died a mysterious death. Some say it was arsenic, but then, according to another veterinarian, all horses were given arsenic in those days… as a tonic. Yes, arsenic, the ideal ‘pick-me-up’. We all know the phrase ‘they shoot horses, don’t they?’ And you know it’s a rhetorical question, don’t you? Were he not poisoned, Phar Lap might have sired some young stallions, after which he would have been put out to pasture, where he would have been able to enjoy the grass until such time as the little click of the rifle cocking was heard in between a fly-swatting tail switch and a quiver of the ageing rump. But, because of the poisoning, Phar Lap’s death became mired in controversy and ‘shrouded in mystery’ (as the cliché would have it), and this is the kind of thing that’ll get you necroscopied (autopsied), dissected, and donated trans-Tasman stylee. Phar Lap ended up a hanged horse: his mounted hide is displayed at the Melbourne Museum, his skeleton at New Zealand's National Museum, and his heart at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
Now, we know that Cousins likes a bit of horse, not to mention ketamine, which is, notoriously, a drug for horses. And here’s the lowdown…they say it was the arsenic, but if you ask me, it was the pressure… Phar Lap, the hero with the big heart fell into a big daddy k-hole, as big as a racecourse and darker than the inside of Ned Kelly’s helmet. Who knows, maybe he’d been at it for years? Maybe they tried to make him go to rehab, but he wouldn’t go (neigh, neigh, neigh). If he had thumbs, maybe he’d have left a note. What would it have said? A lot of people have even been suggesting that this recent ‘Horse Flu’ epidemic is nothing other than a massive wave of ice addictions, introduced by Yakuza-owned Japanese horses who gave the locals a taste for the ‘shabu’. Perhaps the phrase should be: ‘Horses shoot up, don’t they?’
Given the circumstances, I think Cousins deserves the ‘Phar Lap’ treatment. Like the snuffed sniffer with the big ticker, he’s had his four years at the top. He’s won both the Brownlow and the Leigh Matthews trophy. As an athlete, he’s probably past his best. I say, let him go for it, Phar Lap style. Let him run, let him whinny, let him bray, let him snort. Let those nostrils flare in glory. Why not? Cousins has obviously found the one thing in life he enjoys even more than being a football hero. If he dies doing the thing that he loves (which probably won’t take that long, considering how much of it he’s rumoured to love), then so be it. ‘Such is life’, as Ned (or Cousins’ torso) might say – or as Phar Lap might have said, if he had thumbs. In fact (dare I say it), the sooner the better, before his torso begins to sag – while he can still say it with a sixpack. Then we can all come to pay homage by kissing the glass around his remains. I think he’d like that. He can be mounted, as Phar Lap was, as Kelly’s armour is. We can mount his hide at the Melbourne Museum, his skeleton at the National Museum in Canberra, and his heart at the Museum of Western Australia. As befits a champion and a hero.
in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked
- ► 2008 (29)
- ▼ November (3)