In a brilliant return to form, Australia's greatest human being Ben Cousins has astounded his fans and devastated his critics by going from strength to strength without even breaking his stride. This glittering prize of a man is unstoppable and should, by all rights, be revered as a god. Thankfully, that process is already in train.
We pick up the story after he mysteriously absented himself on his life-saving trip to LA for celebrity-style resort rehab. One of the two blonde ladies in the sports car who picked him up at the airport (Susie Ela, member of Ben's "LA newtork") made a 5am emergency call to 911 on behalf of Cousins. She confirmed he had been on a cocaine bender for the past five days and was "not acting right". He had fried his brain with coke and was, reportedly, in bad shape mentally when he was whisked away to hospital via ambulance.
Whereas a mere mortal might have doubts at putting their own Dad in the invidious position of telling porkies to the media, Cousins just bounced right back. Right back into a $1500 suit that he picked up at Bridge Rd, Richmond. How do we know? Because Ben's suit purchase was front page news in Melbourne. He was mobbed by adoring fans in the street, mobiles held aloft like talismans, eager for a bit of that celebrity power to wash over them and validate their own dubious shopping choices. (How long until we get the inevitable poorly-pixelated image of Cousins getting out of his car while "going commando"?)
Ben Cousins Turns Bridge Road into Rodeo Drive
Source: The Age
Oh, there was the minor matter of the AFL Commission meeting, where he was suspended from the game for 12 months. Sort of. Something about bringing the game into disrepute? But, honestly, no biggie. He can continue to play for state-based second tier AFL-affiliated clubs, like East Fremantle, under a peculiar technicality. The Western Australian police were forced to drop their drug charges against him, on a technicality. (Apparently, the same officer who arrested him had to ask him to do the test, not another officer. Or something.) Hell, the cops even apologised! Brilliant.
Now, it looks like the US police are not going to pursue unwelcome criminal matters against Cousins either, despite his heroic cocaine binge. It was always going to be shaky if they would chase down a wealthy white man for taking cocaine in Los Angeles, even one who had "fallen afoul of the law". Luckily, Cousins is neither poor nor black. No word yet on an apology from the American detectives, but I doubt Benny's holding his breath.
So it's all going pretty well for Ben Cousins. Sure, his career's stalled a bit, there was that brief ambulance ride and some minor traffic matters have been cleared up. Apart from that, he's on top of the world. His plan is to sit out 2008 in a state league (probably in Victoria). There's also serious talk of a modelling career (a mere $150K per annum, but still, that'd almost cover his reported $3K/week drug habit). And why not? He's spawned a whole industry of "Such Is Life" T-shirts, featuring his distinctive bogan gut-tattoo. (And, perplexingly, a commemorative tawny port.)
Cousins inspiring the stencil art scene.
Ben Cousin's popularity is going ahead in leaps and bounds. This is no more apparent than in cyberspace, where the yoof are rising up as one voice and saying "Bennnnnny .... you ROCK maaaaaate!!!!!!"
Facebook, for example, has many Ben Cousins groups, with names like "Ben Cousins for Prime Minister", "I Wanna Party With Ben Cousins" (17,000 members), "I Buy All My Drugs Off Ben Cousins" (3,000 members), "Who Gives a Toss if Ben Cousins is a Junkie - He's a Bloody Hottie!". And so on, for about 190 groups. To be fair, a very small number are taking the piss. And even fewer are openly hostile to him. But the vast bulk seems to be "Ben is fun and I want to be as near/like/inside him as I can."
And good ol' Ben has been putting his popularity with the youngsters to work. He's been sighted hanging out at the Gold Coast for the Schoolies Week. Sadly, he seems to be enjoying the company of the younger people there. An older man - 30 soon - hanging out with girls who have just finished high school is known as a "Toolie". According to this Victorian government website, schoolies need to be wary of toolies. In this case, sexual assault and violence are lower-order concerns. Check this video of Ben Cousins snorting, well, something off the table with his new friends:
What a swell guy. Rehab? Contrition? Remorse? Responsibility? Consequences? Bah. His talent has seen him rise to the top of the AFL footy. That same culture saw him sheltered, protected and never having to face up to reality. His club turned a blind eye to his antics. Medical rehab's been a useless washout. The legal system had a go but has bowed out with a bloody nose. The politicians that spoke up have been voted out. For how long can his family keep up their support? Egged on by celebrity attendees and his online cheer squad, Cousins is completely unshackled and unhinged.
Eventually, Ben's going to need real friends, not colleagues or minders or coke-buddies or people who shout "we love you Benny - whoooohooo!" out of passing cars. Let's hope he's got some left.
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