Social Science

     What was Congressman Weiner’s staff thinking?
     The average U.S. congressman has a staff of 14 and an annual office budget of $1.4 million, on top of his $174,000 salary.
     So shouldn’t Congressman Weiner’s staff have warned him that he might be caught with his schmuck in his zipper if he mailed pictures of it to coeds around the country on the Internet?
     After all, had any congressman ever been caught doing such a thing before?
     Now is not the time for wiener jokes.
     Of course now is the time for wiener jokes.
     But only a guy named Weiner, or a Kahn from Cincinnati, can understand what Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-Regret) is going through today.
     This is because when I was a wee shaver in Cincinnati, in the 1950s, the sponsor of the Cincinnati Reds’ home games was Kahn’s: “The Wiener the World Awaited.”
     Every school day of my life, from age 5 to 10, I heard the taunting words, “Hey, Kahn’s wiener!”
     Again and again.
     Before school, on the playground while I was trying to hit the ball, walking home after school: “Hey, Kahn! Where’s the wiener the world awaited!”
     Everyone knew the Kahn’s Wieners slogan. Kindergarteners knew it.
     Back in the 1950s it was obligatory, it was Our Patriotic Duty to love baseball.
     Everybody watched the Reds games. Pro football and basketball, for all the United States cared, might not have been invented.
     There was actually a club in Cincinnati – perhaps it was a klavern – dedicated to the proposition that the Redlegs should change their name, because the name by which everyone called them – the Reds – supported the Communists.
     I’m not kidding.
     The only way I escaped the ceaseless assaults of the wiener brigade was by moving to Chicago.
     My parents moved. I went with them.
     I imagine that Congressman Weiner (D-Stupid) went through the same thing.
     Naturally, he overcompensated for this by sending photos of his wiener hither and yon on the Internet, to women he had never met.
     I say “naturally,” because Congressman Weiner (D-Short Term) is a guy.
     Only guys do dumb stuff like that.
     Never, in the 900 school days at which I was taunted with my name, did a girl do it.
     It’s true that in fourth grade a girl named Betsy whacked me in the head with her lunchbox, for nothing, but that’s beside the point. Betsy was a big girl, and I was not a stout fellow. I seemed to draw such attacks.
     But Betsy, bless her ugly reptilian heart, had the grace not to taunt me about wieners while she brained me. Perhaps she just felt the need to whack someone who would not whack her back, and I was available.
     I’ve done that, and worse.
     But I digress.
     One of Congressman Weiner’s many dumb mistakes was that he overcompensated by sending women the photos of his wiener.
     Women had nothing to do with Weiner’s problem. He should have … no, scratch that.
     Strike it from the record.
     I’m afraid we just have to face the fact that men are, and will remain, forever, stupid, in a way that women outgrow.
     For example: I confess that I have told a number of wiener jokes in my day (circa 1971), to men and to women. Never in formal circumstances, and always, thank God, before the Internet. And to all those wiener jokes, men have laughed, and women have not.
     What does this show us?
     Not about me. We are running out of space here. If we get sidetracked, we shall never be done.
     What it shows us is … oh, all right. Perhaps I should not have told the jokes in the first place. Perhaps I was wrong. But I was not telling the jokes as a sexist moron – as a man. I was telling them more in the role of a social scientist.

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