Roger Clemens and his planeloads of women

Why is it we're supposed to care about this if we're not A) Clemens or B) his wife or C) on the plane?


King Kaufman
May 2, 2008 6:30AM (UTC)

In "The Portable Curmudgeon," author Jon Winokur tells a story about the playwright, New York Times drama critic and non-relative of this column George S. Kaufman appearing on a TV show in the early 1950s called "This Is Show Business."

The format of the show was to have some performer come on and tell a panel of four showbiz insiders about some minor problem he or she was supposedly having. The guest would then perform before returning to the panel for its sage advice.

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One week the guest was Eddie Fisher, at the time a teen-idol singer who complained that despite his popularity with the girls, he was having trouble finding dates. His fans were all too young, was the purported problem. Kaufman's answer:

Mr. Fisher, on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars up to 24 times the magnification of any telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the construction of the Mount Palomar telescope, an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification of the Mount Wilson telescope.

Mr. Fisher, if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn't be able to detect my interest in your problem.

I bring this up by way of saying that if you could somehow put Kaufman's mythical combined Wilson-Palomar telescope inside the Hubble telescope, and then mash the whole thing up into the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, you still wouldn't be able to detect my interest in the reports that Roger Clemens, in the poetic words of the New York Daily News, "had several women, flew them on private jet."

Had several women
Flew them on private jet
Tried to forget 'em
But just can't yet

What? Sorry. Just felt a country song coming on there. I left out the "I" in the last line to match the missing "a" before private jet. Also, there's a really complicated B-flat minor diminished 13th that you can only play if you're double-jointed. And have a theremin. And insurance.

But we were talking about Roger Clemens and his battery mates. Big-league ballplayers in any major sport are filthy rich, by definition young and athletic, often good-looking and spend precisely half of their season away from home, not counting training camp. Their extramarital affairs are a lot like corruption in major college sports.

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Except a lot more photogenic.

What I mean is, anywhere you shine the spotlight, you've got a good chance to find a lot of activity.

The spotlight's shining on Clemens and it's turning up jetloads of babes. Makes it seem like he's somehow unusual in this area. I suspect not, except maybe for the private jet part.

And what this has to do with the price of tea in China, not to mention the price of Stanazol at East 161st Street and River Avenue, is beyond me.

Now, if the singer in the bunch had been Kenny Chesney ...


King Kaufman

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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