The Truth, Mainly - 07/18/1994

Confession or estrogen Therapy for Bill?
by Leon Satterfield

"Hah!" I say to my wife. "Read this."

It's a report that Bonny Prince Charlie's approval ratings have gone way up since he admitted on the telly that he'd been unfaithful to Princess Di. In January, only 46 percent thought he was fit to be monarch; last month, after his confession, 85 percent said he'd make a pretty good king.

"What'd I tell you?" I say, thrusting the newspaper between her nose and her crossword puzzle. "If Bill Clinton wants to raise his ratings, he should just come clean. The public likes it when leaders just come clean. He should admit that all those things Rush says about him are true."

"And what," she asks, "does Limburger say about him?"

"It's Limbaugh," I say. "Limburger is that stinky cheese."

"Oh, yeah," she says. "I keep forgetting. What's he say about Clinton?" ` "You know," I say, "things that get said about all presidents. That he sets fires to destroy evidence in Arkansas, that he's responsible for Vince Foster's death, that he hops in bed with every bimbo who crosses his path, and that Robert Reich is too short to be his Secretary of Labor. Just your run-of-the-mill presidential criticism."

"And you think Clinton would be more popular if he'd admit that all that stuff is true?" she says. "What if it isn't?"

"Doesn't matter," I say. "What's important is just coming clean. Especially about messing around. He could confirm the rumors about Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones, then make up stories about Thelma Jean Snerdley back at Hope Junior High, and about that saucy little Cockney serving wench at Oxford. The more the better."

"Doesn't sound very presidential to me," she says. "Sounds like locker room bragging."

"It'll appeal to vast voting blocs he needs support from," I explain. "Ex-quarterbacks who like locker room bragging. Talk show hosts who get their kicks from detailed confessions of hanky panky. English teachers who take a clinical interest in saucy little Cockney serving wenches."

She studies the crossword puzzle for a minute.

"What's a five-letter word for 'really dumb idea'?" she asks.

It's hard to keep her on the subject. A minute later she speaks again.

"Estrogen therapy," she says.

What they say about females and numbers is really true.

"That's 17 letters," I say. "Won't fit."

"Estrogen therapy," she says, "would do Bill Clinton a lot more good than coming clean about someone else's sexual fantasies."

"Estrogen?" I say. "Isn't that girl stuff? You would unman our chief executive? We need a president who wears a brassiere?"

"Of course we do," she says, "but we were talking about Bill Clinton. Here's an AP story that says estrogen therapy results in a 'clear and significant' improvement in mental ability. Not only helps prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, also makes synapses snappier."

"Oh boy," I say, switching on my massive powers of male irony. "Let's go out and get our estrogen fix right now. Where can we find some?"

"Women have it naturally," she says. "Men have testosterone. The more of that you have, the stupider you get. Researchers at Georgia Tech found out that beer-guzzling, carousing frat boys have testosterone levels 10 to 20 percent higher than the ones who get good grades."

I look out the window. When she gets on that dumb testosterone-stupidity link, I won't even talk to her. Serves her right.

"It stands to reason," she goes on, "that estrogen therapy is a good antidote to testosterone poisoning. I think that's what Bill Clinton has."

"It's sick," I say, crossing my legs, "and I don't want to hear about it."

"Look at what it would do for, say, Hillary's health care reform," she says. "Give Clinton a hit of estrogen and he might forget the bimbos long enough to see the obvious way to get reform through Congress."

"I suppose you've got that figured out too," I say. I can be pretty snotty when my massive powers of male irony are working.

"Yes I do," she says. "He could go on television and tell us that if socialized medicine is good enough for Congress, it's good enough for the rest of us. He could say we should call Bob Dole within the next hour and tell him that he has to take the health plan the rest of us have or give us the health plan he has. We'd have reform by the end of the week."

"And what would Clinton's critics say about that kind of cheap emotional appeal?" I ask. "What would you do about them?"

"Estrogen therapy," she says. "If they complain about the people getting the same health care as Congress, we'd check their testosterone dipsticks and give them a mainline dose of estrogen. It'd do that Limburger guy a lot of good."

"It's Limbaugh," I remind her. "Limburger is that stinky cheese."

"Oh, yeah," she says, slapping her forehead. "I keep forgetting."


Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.

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