Goin’ off, drinkin’ up, breakin’ down, strikin’ out

by Brian Clarey

Let me tell you something, my friends: The hour is getting late, and the crap is getting as thick as the calluses on Roger Clemens’ ass.

I’m ’bout to go off.

You following this business with the Greensboro Police Department? I mean really following it? Because I’m trying to keep current, and all I find is more convolution at every turn.

Former Chief David Wray has been called a racist. I don’t know if that’s true. But it’s pretty clear to me that he had a hard-on for one particular cop, Lt. James Hinson (still on the force, by the way), who happens to be a brown fella.

Hinson’s been called a crooked cop. I don’t know about that, but I suspect the guy knows a little something about the dirty-dirty, and from what I gather he and I share an inappropriate fondness for trashy women who dish out heartache and calamity like it’s chicken and biscuits.

Just like in Star Wars Episodes I-III, there are very few heroes here.

Yet some profess to know exactly what’s going on. I doubt that they do. These forces are muddying the waters, even as we speak, so that history will have difficulty sorting out just what the hell happened up in this department.

Why are they doing it? I couldn’t tell ya. But I can tell my dear readers that many of those who claim some knowledge in this case – journalists, bloggers and crotchety old ladies alike – don’t actually live in Greensboro. And I have to ask myself why they’ve interjected themselves into this messy fracas.

It’s akin to these same people protesting legal prostitution in Nevada – they may not like it, but it doesn’t affect their lives in the least.

I think that for some of them it’s a form of entertainment. And the rest… well, I’ll say that racism, paranoia, cantankerousness and hi-speed internet connections make for a dangerous cocktail.

Drink up, my pretties.

Now, they’re always thirsty down in New Orleans and from my experience there’s no cocktail that won’t sell down there, even the notoriously noxious Hand Grenade, the strongest drink in the city, made famous by the Tropical Isle in the French Quarter and the ingredients of which not even my friend Goldie can authoritatively enumerate.

I tended bar with Goldie for four years in the liveliest 24-hour bar in New Orleans, and I’ve seen her mix a perfect Manhattan while blasted on roofies and speed and wearing racing-striped roller skates. Props.

A theory: The hand grenade contains lots of gin. And tequila. And perhaps a touch of anti-freeze.

But that’s nothing compared to what my NOLA friends were expected to swallow, a vaporized toxin exuded by the FEMA trailers they were given to live in after the storm swallowed their city and their government left them hanging out to dry.

Yes, out to dry.

Turns out that these trailers, one of which housed the best man from my wedding and his fiancée for more than a year, contain poisonous levels of formaldehyde vapors – and by “supertoxic” I mean like up to 40 times the acceptable level for toxicity.

So let me get this straight: We built substandard levees to protect one of the most important port cities in the country, and when the storm everybody knew was sure to come finally swallowed the poverty-stricken region and the beautiful city of New Orleans was left gasping for breath while the administration looked on from an airplane window, we shacked these poor, ravaged Americans in poisoned huts that issued chemicals which basically prepped them for the morticians table.

Is that what happened? Really?


And hey: Notice my first-graf reference to Roger Clemens? That’s cause I’m current baby!

Clemens testified before Congress last week about his use of steroids (or lack thereof) during his storied baseball career.

And for the record: I believe that if a guy wants to ingest a chemical that enlarges his skull, shortens his lifespan, creates golf-ball sized boils on his shoulders, “intensifies” his “personality” and shrinks his testicles just so he can be better at playing a child’s game, well then be my guest.

But Clemens is slinging so much crap up there in Washington, DC that even my lawn will be greener this spring.

Hey, I liked it when he defected from the Red Sox to my Yankees, and I drank a beer (maybe more than one, with perhaps a whiskey or two) when he gave that filthy look up to the owner’s box at Fenway as he came off the mound in Yankee grays.

But seriously. If that guy wasn’t juicing, then up is down, black is white and shit really is Shinola.

And another thing: What the hell is Congress doing meddling in the affairs of the most archaic, boring and pretentious professional sport of them all when there’s men and women dying on the desert sand in the name of George W. Bush and Halliburton?

Didn’t we misplace $9 billion – with a B – out there? That’s a lotta scratch, fellas, in the face of a swollen and cantankerous has-been.

But Clemens knows one thing the rest of these mooks don’t: If you can’t keep your eye on the ball, you’ll never hit for squat (See: Dave Kingman, 1976 NY Mets, et al). And hits, my friends, are the name of the game.

If Congress can quit its jock-sniffing ways and act in the best interests of the country, if someone – Anyone! – can recognize and rectify this nation’s obligation to the city of New Orleans, if Greensboro can cauterize its own chancres without succumbing to the equivalent of a drunk guy yelling “boo!” from a borrowed box seat, then maybe we can connect with the sweet spot, so to speak, and if not knock one out of the park, then at least make solid contact.

Fact: In 1979 Dave Kingman, the most unreliable slugger in my own memory, hit 48 home runs for the Chicago Cubs, enough to lead the National League.

It should be noted that he also led the league in strikeouts that year with 131.

To comment on this story, e-mail Brian Clarey at