Tough times: Do you need to jet-pool?

Sports are fertile ground for making that brilliant coinage a part of everyday speech.

Topics: U.S. Economy, Chrysler,

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., got off the best line Wednesday as lawmakers gave the business to the tin-eared CEOs of the Big Three automakers for taking private jets to Washington to beg for federal handouts.

“Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here?” he said. “It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

Jet-pool is a word that needs to enter the vernacular. I intend to use my awesome powers to try to make it so.

You scoff. You laugh. You jet-pool.

Sorry, got a little overzealous there. But don’t doubt my powers. The day after Justin Timberlake described the exposure of Janet Jackson’s breast at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004 as a “wardrobe malfunction,” I wrote, “That’s a phrase that deserves to enter the language. As in, ‘Uh-oh, girl, wardrobe malfunction. Those pants make your butt look as big as Ted Washington’s.‘”

And has that not happened?

To jet-pool, then, is to cut an egregious expense in order to trim a budget from jaw-droppingly outrageous to merely head-shakingly outrageous.

“Times are hard. We had to jet-pool the llamas and four of the butlers, but we’re going to be able to keep the Bengal tigers and three of the Bentleys.”

Sports are fertile ground for this usage. Here’s how the lead of a recent story might have read had it happened today:

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The New York Yankees have jet-pooled Carl Pavano, declining his $13 million option for 2009 and instead paying him a $1.95 million buyout.

The right-hander was signed to a $39.95 million deal before the 2005 season. He spent most of his Yankees career on the disabled list, ultimately making 26 starts — only nine since the 2005 All-Star break — and earning about $1.5 million per outing while going 9-8 with a 5.00 earned-run average.

And jet-pooling isn’t just for the filthy rich: “I got tickets to the game tonight, but I seriously have to jet-pool the $7 beers, dude. Let’s bring a flask.”

May you never have to jet-pool, my friends. Or, more realistically: May you never be jet-pooled.

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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