Tough times: Do you need to jet-pool?

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



King Kaufman
November 21, 2008 12:45AM (UTC)

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."

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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.'"

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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."

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

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."

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


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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