It was with disappointment that I read of Mel Gibson's behavior upon his recent arrest for drunken driving. Of particular concern was his attempt to get away.
"In order to calm Gibson's concerns," the arresting officer wrote, "I directed Gibson to the back seat of the patrol car, telling him, if he remained cooperative I would transport him without handcuffing."
So far so good, I thought.
Then, wrote the officer, "Gibson quickly turned and bolted toward his own vehicle."
Still not bad, I thought. The true measure of a man is his love of freedom.
But as Gibson was fleeing, according to the police report, "he said, 'I'm not going to get into your car.'"
Now why, one wondered, would he say such a thing? "I'm not going to get into your car"?
As anyone with experience in such matters could have told him, the proper way to attempt a drunken escape from an arresting officer is: Just bolt. Run. Do not say anything. Certainly do not say anything as pedestrian as "I'm not going to get into your car." That is inane. If you must say something, say, "I think I left my wallet at the store when I bought that tequila!"
"I chased after Gibson," the officer writes, "catching up as he reached the driver's side of his vehicle. I [unreadable] onto Gibson's [unreadable] from his back side with my hands and turned him a quarter turn so he was facing his vehicle's left side."
At this point in the increasingly dispiriting narrative, one could still hope that he might offer some resistance.
"Gibson offered no resistance," the officer writes. "I placed Gibson's hands behind his back and handcuffed him..."
What one longs to see in a celebrity's drunken driving arrest performance is the irrepressible animal spirit of the sort seen in "Road Warrior," a primitive, seething reptilian intensity, the urgent insanity of a man whose regard for his own life has reached such a low ebb that he will do absolutely anything to ensure that, while he might die in the attempt, his performance will live on.
By this measure, Gibson behaved like a lightweight. Did he attempt to grab the officer's weapon? No, apparently he did not. Was anyone shot? No. Were animals from the zoo involved? No. Where were the underage girls in the trunk? Where was the entourage? Where was the unregistered handgun?
Did he even succeed in getting into his car? No, as noted above, after announcing with incomprehensible inanity, "I'm not going to get into your car," he stopped at his own car door. A real drunk would at least get into the driver's seat and get the engine started and the vehicle in gear, with the officer hanging on to the driver's-side door, perhaps by this time beating him about the face with a club -- blows which, if you are properly intoxicated, will be registered only as gentle persuasive taps, such that you can still drive moderately well and, knowing the neighborhood, perhaps maneuver the car to the all-night 7-Eleven where you are accustomed to purchasing liquor after hours. Then, with the officer still beating you about the head, you attempt to get your wallet out and purchase another bottle of tequila.
Speaking of which: The bottle of tequila merits some grudging respect simply for its presence in the car, in its regulation brown paper bag. But what had Gibson been doing with this bottle while he should have been draining its contents? Lord knows.
"While conducting an inventory search of Gibson's vehicle, I found, EV-1, a 750 ml bottle labeled, 'Cazadores Tequila,' that was approx. 3/4 full of liquid contents, [italics mine] concealed in a brown paper bag, on the right rear floor guard of the vehicle," writes the officer. "EV-1 placement in the vehicle was within easy reach of Gibson while he had been driving. Gibson merely had to reach over the front center console separating the two front bucket seats."
Well, bravo! Gibson had at least arranged the bottle so that he could reach it with ease in order to drink heartily while driving. But the bottle was still three-quarters full. While he seemed to have the right general idea, his behavior carries the unmistakable scent of a lightweight drinker on a little teenage bender.
Even worse, when asked about the bottle, Gibson blandly replied that it wasn't his.
Again, the pitiful mark of a novice. The experienced drunken driver soon grows tired of repeating the same old lie and becomes creative.
For instance, he could have said an old Jewish banker left it there.
Speaking of which, what is most dispiriting about Gibson's performance is not that he disparaged Jews but that he left out so many other groups.
Then again, have you ever been arrested for drunken driving by a Jewish sheriff?
If Gibson truly had the courage of a hopeless drunk, he would have disparaged the Irish.