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A massive heart attack is not only a shattering, but intensely disconcerting experience, for the man who survives one must begin adopting new concepts of living almost instantly. It is pleasant to report that Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the Senate majority leader, has made the transition with little apparent strain—in part, at least, simply by applying his zest for conflict and his fascination with detail to the processes of recovery. By keeping a minute, daily record of his diet, for instance (he staples each report of calorie consumption into a file folder), he has reduced his waistline from 44 to 37 inches. Lyndon Johnson has also discovered a new and relaxing delight: baseball.
Though he is now up and around—in fact, he has been permitted to take a trip home to Texas—the Senator still spends a great deal of time in a big air-conditioned bedroom on the second floor of his white colonial home when he is in Washington. The magnets which hold him there are 1) a television set with a 24-inch screen and 2) a comfortable lounge chair set before it. He has seen virtually every televised home game played by the Washington Senators since he suffered his near-fatal attack last July. He even watches them play the Boston Red Sox—a trying, if delightful, experience for him—since he roots for both clubs.
The Senator's original interest in baseball, in fact, began when Texan Michael (Pinky) Higgins became manager at Boston. "I'd never been much of a sports fan," he says. "I never felt I had the time for it. But Pinky's brother Ox was one of my closest friends. I used to go to football games with him. And one day early this summer, when Boston was playing here, I dropped by to say hello to Pinky."
From this pale beginning the Senator, in the last two months, has flowered into a dedicated baseball fan. When SI printed an article about Higgins recently, the Senator had it reprinted in the Congressional Record. Simultaneously, to keep his loyalties from growing lopsided, he laid plans to honor another Texan, Washington's second baseman, Pete Runnels. "I'm going to give him a luncheon up on the Hill next year," he said. "It'll be a big affair." Meanwhile, to keep from unnecessarily missing a single pitch he bought a vest pocket radio set with an earplug—a device which allows him, or so he asserts, to listen to his wife and to baseball broadcasts at the same time.
Senator Johnson, who will undergo a series of rigid checks this winter at the Mayo Clinic, firmly believes he will be able to go on serving in the Senate for many years. But he does not intend to abandon baseball. "If I had gone to ball games instead of working nights," he says, "I might not have had the attack at all. And when I leave the Senate I think I'd like to get hold of Pinky and Runnels and maybe buy a ball club in Texas. We could stay there and run the team until we were old men."
Boxing's undercover men, who once made Pennsylvania their very own when it came to fixing fights, shrugged it off when Governor George M. Leader put his boxing reform bill to the legislature a few weeks ago (SI, July 25). There were, they implied, 47 other states. The International Boxing Club ( James D. Norris, president) was not so bland about it, however, and for a while made noises to the effect that the IBC might boycott Pennsylvania.
The legislature passed the bill though, and now the Council of State Governments has started a project which may leave the shady characters no place to hide and give the IBC no preference among the states so far as laws are concerned. The Council, set up and paid for by the states, has as one of its functions the preparation of model legislation on problems of common interest among the states. On the heels of Governor Leader's action it has appointed a three-man committee to prepare a boxing bill to be presented to the various legislatures. Chances are the bill will be patterned after the Pennsylvania law, whose provisions include compulsory fingerprinting, state police enforcement and the right of the boxing commission to suspend licenses in-stanter, even just before a fight.
The ideal method of meeting Jim Lindsley of Bell, Calif.—at least the method best calculated to arouse a sense of incredulity and thus to dramatize Jim's particular message to the world—is to watch him climb out of his homemade automobile. The process itself is fascinating, for Jim's machine has an engine fore and an engine aft and a hole in the center from which his head protrudes not unlike that of a man in a steam cabinet. Jim looks as though he probably shouldn't have wedged himself into the contraption in the first place; he is 38 years old and his hair is graying. He is an electrician, has three children, is slightly overweight and likes to be in bed by 11.