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"How come you keep calling me 'Kristofferson'? " Turner was asked one day by a writer whose name was not Kristofferson but who wanted to believe that Turner saw in him something of the macho singer-actor.
"Because you got long hair," said Turner.
"Why don't you write my name on your wrist?" asked the writer.
"Because I don't have to impress jerks," said Turner.
Apart from his ability to keep up an endless stream of hyperbolic chatter—oral italics as it were—and to not take himself or anybody else too seriously, the main reason Turner is such a media favorite is that he is honest.
Turner lives by the "just spell the name right, boys" code with journalists and is usually on friendly terms with media reps, both big and small. After Tom Snyder had grilled Turner for 90 minutes, the TV host said he had enjoyed chatting with him. "You ain't such a bad guy yourself, Snyder," replied Turner.
Turner has never been accused of pulling punches. Honor, truth, sincerity—these are his bywords. He subscribes wholeheartedly to the self-description by Nick in The Great Gatsby, who said, "Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known."
Because Turner likes to mix honesty with his booze, he has regularly immersed himself in deep water not even Courageous could get him out of.
Turner didn't drink until he was 19 years old, yet following his drunken fiasco of a press conference after winning the America's Cup, the public got the impression that he has been a monumental lush since infancy. In truth, Turner is what your neighborhood bartender might refer to as a quick drunk, a two-beer goner. Until his grand toot, he was rarely seen in Newport bars. He was keeping his nose clean, as the King's Point Fund, which owned Courageous, had asked him to.
Because he has trouble determining where or who he is and what he is saying after a few pops, Turner had been suspended from baseball for a year by Commissioner Kuhn.