It wasn’t so long ago that Chris Christie was a rising political star—a well-liked Republican governor from a historically blue state whose presidential candidacy seemed like less a matter of if than when. Then came Bridgegate, followed by a very public stint as the George McFly to Donald Trump’s Biff, and, as suddenly as it began, Chris Christie’s American Dream™ was over, an amusing “remember when?” for a future generation’s tri-state trivia night.
When it comes to political careers, however, there’s always room for a few more nails in the coffin, and on Sunday afternoon, Christie finally got tired of all the hammering, wheeling on a heckler at a Cubs game like Orson Welles on the sommelier who just tried to cut him off. Armed with a vat of nachos and the f—k-it fury of a broken man, Christie confronted his foe—who seems like a pretty underwhelming human himself—before ambling off to his dugout seats in the pacesetting viral video of the week:
However, to truly understand this stent-bending face-off—in which the New Jersey governor practically screams I'M GOING TO THROW YOU IN THE HUDSON WITH CINDER BLOCKS TIED TO YOUR FEET with his eyes—we must first look back…back to the start of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer of Chris Christie.
It all began on July 2, when the Christies were photographed enjoying a relaxing holiday at Island Beach State Park, which—like all other New Jersey state parks at the time—was closed to the public due to a state government shutdown that Christie himself helped to orchestrate. Suffice to say, the optics (as we say in the biz) of this fiasco sparked widespread outrage and, more importantly, a meme series for the ages.
For most of us, that sort of Twitter beatdown would be the end—the necessary motivation to bury our head in the sand (zing!) for a few months (or years), only to resurface once the tide (pow!) had turned. Not for Christie, though, who promptly hopped on North Jersey radio station WFAN to talk sports and take body shots from a parade of poorly screened callers who REALLY wanted him to know just how much he f—ked up their state/they hate his face.
Surely that had to be it. Time to tap out and hole up in a cabin in the Pine Barrens with a burner phone until Labor Day, right?
A week later, Christie was in the public eye once more, taking his traveling political carnival to Citi Field for the can’t-miss sporting spectacle that is a Tuesday night Mets game. Instead of the anonymous Shake Shack binge he was hoping for, however, the universe—adding some diced onion to his shit-sandwich of a summer—looked Christie’s way again, lobbing a foul pop-up right at his seat. What did Christie do? He caught it, of course, just like you would have. The only difference? He’s Chris Christie and you (mercifully) are not.
The Flushing faithful then did what the Flushing faithful do best, raining a half-century’s worth of athletic angst down upon Mr. Jersey as he high-fived a few nearby patrons who apparently prefer hiking to the beach anyway.
At this point, someone (ANYONE!) should have pulled Christie aside and advised a much-needed time-out. A political strategist, his wife, Springsteen, the dog. Doesn’t matter who. If you knew Christie, this was the time to put your hand on the man’s shoulder, look him in the eyes, and ask him—both for his own well-being and that of his family—to lie low for a bit, to wait until this whole thing blows over.
Perhaps Christie’s trip to The Heartland—where there isn’t a beach for 1,500 God-forsaken miles—was exactly that. Perhaps the intention—to spend a weekend with the friendly people of the plains—was a pure one. But in the end, neither Christie nor America could help themselves, and so here we are, the flames of grown man's career (and dignity) raging unabated into autumn.
Maybe that's where the man who looks like he might have invented pumpkin pie may finally find some peace. But with a season of Jets games and a state full of ski slopes just waiting for their moment of internet infamy, something tells us we haven't seen the last of Chris Christie.