One of the great things about working for Cracked is that, from time to time, Iâve been contacted by public figures looking for someone to ghostwrite their autobiographies. Confidentiality agreements typically prevent me from disclosing their identities (right, âBarry Oâ?) but my latest writing assignment carries no such requirement. Instead, last week former California Congressman Gary Condit called and asked me to help tell his story now that it appears he will be exonerated in the murder of Washington intern Chandra Levy.For those of you who donât recall, in the days leading up to 9/11, the papers were filled with scandalous reports revolving around
Chapter 4: No Homocide For This HeteroI threw some papers into my bag and headed for the door. Not two steps later, my pain in the ass staffer, Jenkins, was calling out after me. âCongressman,â he whined. âYou havenât cast your vote on the proposed legislation yet!â âI know, Jenkins, but yâsee, some of us have a hot date tonight.â Jenkins seemed confused. He flipped through his session minutes in exasperation trying to think of what to say next. âBut, butâ¦â he stammered. âI donât understand. Mrs. Condit is out of town tonight.â âExactly. Jenkins. Exactly.â I headed for the door, trying to remember the new moves Iâd read about in
Chapter 8: Children Are The Future (Interns)One of the things I loved about being a congressman was working with the fine children of my district. If I had to pick just one day that stood out, it would be the morning I visited Ms. Carltonâs third grade class in Modesto, California. I was there to give a lecture on public service, and I can still remember little Becky Simmons sitting in the first row, full of enthusiasm and hope â two ingredients so desperately needed in Washington. âCongwessman Condit,â she lisped in an adorable fashion. âDo I have to be a grownup before I can make a difference?â âThatâs a great question, Becky! Did everybody hear that?" I asked the class. "Well, Becky, not at all. One great way to start is to be an intern in one or our nationâs many departments. And you can do that when youâre just a bit older.â âBut what does an intern do, Congressman Condit?â âPretty much anything you ask,â I laughed. But Becky didnât get it so I knelt down in front of her little desk, filling her wide-eyed innocence with the truth: âInterns are a valuable part of the governmental process. Young minds doing the work of democracy.â âThat sounds GWEAT,â Becky replied. âIt is. Seriously, these chicks are crazy desperate for letters of recommendation.â
Afterword: If I Could Speak To Chandraâs Killer
On many sorrow-filled nights, I have yearned to speak to Chandra's murderer face to face. I'm not sure I ever will, but if I did, I imagine I would say something like this:
I don't suppose a man like you understands the joy that comes from real love or the pain that flows from loss. But I wish you did. I wish you could understand what I feel. Could appreciate the damage you've done. The pain you've caused.
Because I live every day with the result of your senseless violence. You did more than just commit murder. You stole something from us. Something beautiful and full of promise. That's right. You stole my political future. When I think of all the people deprived of my brilliant leadership. And all the interns I never had the chance to have sex with. Well, it just makes me sick.You miserable bastard. No one even knew about the affair until you had to go and commit your stupid murder. And even then, an affair? That's not fatal. I could have overcome that. I have an excellent handshake and when I remember people's names at fundraisers they swear they've been touched by the ghost of JFK himself. But suspicion of murder? That was just too damn much. You left me with nothing, except my good name. Well, nothing except the opportunity to earn a lot of cash on a book deal at least.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
It's easy to work the system and win these awards even if you don't deserve them.