Politicians are always making cutesy bets on things like the World Series and big intersectional football games. You know the routine. Governor A bets Governor B a crate of the Rutabaga State's prime agricultural crop, and Governor B covers the bet with an armful of his state's famous liverwurst. It's always good for a paragraph in the home-town papers.
This fall the Senators from Maryland ( Baltimore Orioles) and Pennsylvania ( Pittsburgh Pirates) struggled onto the publicity stage before the World Series. They skipped the standard commodity bet—a carload of coal against a barrel of soft-shelled crabs?—and instead agreed that the losers would treat the winners to an elephant ride past the Capitol building in Washington. It was a confusing bet, since normally you would think the losers would be the ones who had to get up on the elephant, but politicians think differently from most people.
Unhappily, the bet has not yet been paid, because the Senators are having a terrible time finding an elephant. They thought they would just pop down to the local zoo and borrow one, but apparently zoo elephants won't do. Like horses, the big animals have to be trained to carry people. Then an attempt was made to rent a proper elephant from Polack Brothers Circus, which was playing in nearby Richmond. Fine, the circus said: it would rent three for $500. "That was too much," a senatorial aide said, "and they wouldn't rent just one. I guess they didn't want to break up a set." Now all concerned are waiting for Ringling Brothers- Barnum & Bailey to reach the area. The Ringlings will come through, they say. An elephant will be supplied, the bet will be paid and the country can go back to worrying about foreign aid and Howard Cosell.
THE SILVER CRASHER
On the well-established note that it is never too early to start Christmas shopping, we now offer this little dandy from the Neiman-Marcus catalog: a $750 ski pass. Not just an ordinary pass, since the Dallas store always does it up big. This number (only 100 will be sold) comes in silver, has a handsome Italian-leather case, and is worn around the neck on a leather thong. It provides for unlimited 1971-72 season skiing throughout the Rockies—in Aspen, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, Park City, Steamboat, Sun Valley, Taos, Vail and Winter Park. At some of the resorts, the store promises, the pass also will get you to the front of the lift line.
It's that last part that really hurts. Merry Christmas and all that, Neiman-Marcus, but kindly wait in the lift line like everybody else.
NEW INDOOR SPORT
Psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and the like have been having an orgy with sport lately. Not participating in sport, although lots of them do, but analyzing and dissecting it down to the last latent urge. For example, next month a Conference on Sport and Social Deviancy will be held at the State University College at Brockport, N.Y. The three-day meeting will start off Thursday with "Cheating in Sport," featuring separate papers on "Cheating in Card Games," "Bowling Hustlers" and "Poolroom Hustlers." That evening the group will hear about "Violence Among Professional Hockey Players." The Friday sessions will touch on things like "The Background of the Nazi Olympics," "The Athlete as a Deviant Subculture" and "Leftist Attitudes Toward Sports." The windup on Saturday will deal with "Social and Psychological Problems Associated with Extreme Competition for Children." Plenty of fun and games there.
Not long ago Dr. Wesley Hall, the new president of the American Medical Association, was quoted as saying that "all professional athletes are psychopaths." Dr. Hall may well have tossed out the line as a jovial aside, but the publicity the remark received annoyed Dr. Charles Carluccio, a New Jersey psychiatrist. "A psychopath is antisocial," replied Dr. Carluccio, "and unable to withstand frustrations. He acts impulsively for his own immediate needs. Nobody could be these things and participate successfully in professional athletics. There may be a few disturbed persons in pro sport but to label all athletes psychopaths is as bad as saying every boy with long hair is a drug addict."
Finally, Dr. William Garland Tompkins of Washington got into the act with "American men need television football. It gives them a chance to let out their feelings." He blames our technological world—although he approves of instant replay—for the relatively few emotional outlets left for the American male. He thinks wives and husbands should watch football together, warning that if they cannot agree on that, then abrasive attitudes may arise "that have been kept in about other irritating situations."