Cracker by Damian Christie

Caught in the Act

I'm often concerned if, God forbid, I ever make it into a position of public notoriety, what random details from my past will come out to haunt me. In a vain attempt to stave this off, I try to wear many of my embarrassments on my sleeve. Click the "About Damian Christie" link to the right of this column if you haven't already, they're largely listed there.

Yes, I worked for Act. Not for political reasons mind; I was never a member of its youth wing, "Prebble's Rebels". The fact that such a phrase can be uttered without irony, let alone screen printed and worn across one's chest still leaves me dumbfounded. No, I was much more interested in the game of politics, the sort of drug that Hunter S Thompson experienced in on the campaign trail with Nixon, more exhilarating than almost any synthetic alternative. It's the thing that has you setting your alarm to go off at 6am just so you can hear Morning Report in its entirety, drifting in and out of sleep, fitfully dreaming of Tuku Morgan in his underwear.

Correct, I did some time as a waterbed salesman. Not too many people can answer a phone "Waterbrothers Waterbeds and Supertan Sunbeds" as well as this blogger. There aren't many with my special touch when it comes to rouching leatherette across a king-size frame, or setting a car stereo into the headboard for that extra touch of class.

That's right, I was 'Doctor Love', Pete Sinclair's sidekick on Lovesongs to Midnight. "Come on in, the music's fine..." - 'nuff said.

But none of these earlier incarnations of Yours Truly are likely to prevent my inevitable appointment to the bench of the Supreme Court of the People's Democratic Republic of Aotearoa. No, it's the more intimate moments you have to watch out for, as Arnold Schwarzenegger is finding out in the race for the Governorship of California.

What's telling is that Schwarzenegger has been a very public figure for more than two decades now. Blockbuster movies, restaurant chains, bad catch phrases, a Kennedy clan wife, he's up there with Pepsi in the recognition stakes. If there were some huge secret about Arnie, you think we'd know it by now. But no, not until things get political

Ironically, it's what the Republican candidate has said publicly that has tripped him up, rather than anything hidden. In an interview given in 1977 for men's magazine, Oui, Schwarzenegger made several candid admissions that don’t sit well with his elephantine brothers. He was speaking at a time when the body-building doco Pumping Iron was doing the rounds, when he was 29, the same age I am now. Arnie talked openly of smoking cannabis, group sex, penis size, you know, the standard interview subjects…

Reading the 1977 interview, I find it hard to be particularly shocked. It was the 70s, he was a young man in peak physical condition, highly sought after by men and women alike. He wouldn't have been the first person to have a cavalier attitude towards sex, or to have 'experimented' with marijuana. If he were a Democrat candidate, perhaps it wouldn't matter so much. Clinton got two terms as President – a prospect that is looking increasingly unlikely for George Dubbya, who seems destined to suffer the same fate as his father, and for largely the same reasons.

Thanks to the Internet, our words increasingly have the ability to come back and bite us on the bum. Words and their echoes, scanned, cached and mirrored, sit on any number of servers around the world like sleeper terrorist cells, poised to strike when you're least prepared. It's a timely reminder to think before you go posting to all and sundry, for now and forever. I'm just glad I never admitted to sharing that spliff on Parliament steps…