Mind over matter

I didn't read the Starr report. That's like taking your gynecological inquiries to a mechanic. If you want smut (and who doesn't?), you should seek out a professional, not some amateur like Ken Starr who looks like he hasn't rubbed up against any sexual subject matter since Betty Grable was the hot pin-up and who probably had to look up "fondle" in somebody else's dictionary. Anyway, who wants an X-rated version of "The Crucible"?

I know a lot of you did read the report. That's only fair. Some people seek out smut, others have smut thrust upon them, and if someone's going to shove it down your throat, it's normal to want to get a good look at it. I understand. Once I ran across an HBO show that contained a segment about a clown orgy, people who like to dress up like Krusty or Bozo on a Spanish Fly bender and have at it. I don't know who you are but I know you haven't seen anything until you've seen people in rainbow wigs and red rubber noses doing foul things to each other in clusters. It was difficult to decide whether to laugh, turn away or get a better look.

Three rings

Three rings

The same could be said for the Bozo orgy in Washington right now, what with the spin-controlling jugglers, a whip-cracking prosecutorial ringmaster and clowns without pants. Most people either feel boredom or pity for the Circus of the Starr and want it shut down. It was fun for awhile, but now I'm feeling like an informational Mr. Creosote: I don't want one more report, even if it's wafer thin. And it isn't.

Sick of hearing about how everyone was sick of hearing about it, I tried to put up or shut up and to avoid all further knowledge of or talk about The Affair. And to track exactly how impossible it is not to think about something you're trying not to think about.

Day One: Wednesday morning. Call colleague in search of alternate subject matter. He says, "Did you know the Orlando Sentinelwas the first paper in the country to demand Clinton's resignation?" Am embarrassed like you are when your dad wears shorts with black socks in public. Good thing nobody reads that thing.

Call editor in Canada wondering if someone in another country with another leader has something fresh to say. "Don't bother writing about anything but sex or else no one will read it. It's this Clinton thing," she says before volunteering that two columnists there ran rival pieces that week about whether it's OK to have sex with a married man.

Wednesday night: Go to Will's Pub, a usually apolitical adventure. Attention falls on the TV, which was previously on a normal channel but has been turned to a show about the assembly-line production of, well, we'll call them marital aids -- great big enormous marital aids, armfuls of them, like when the pieces of the broom came to life in "Fantasia." All of a sudden these pieces of latex are looking real, having flesh-colored paint slopped onto them by working women, being carefully detailed with natural-looking veins, hauled off the assembly line and played with by porn stars who presumably modeled for them. Female versions are being made and tried out to assure consumer satisfaction. Now, this is the kind of smut you want thrust upon you, not some bland legalese you can get in the checkout line at Publix. Best part of the whole situation: TV report was closed-captioned. Like if you were deaf, you wouldn't get it.

Head out

Head out

Thursday night: Dinner out with fellow free-lance writer who extols the virtues of working at home in your underwear and having no one on the phone be the wiser. Inevitable comparison with Clinton being on the phone with congressmen while having the presidential pole taken by you-know-who. While neither of us can say from experience that the president's idea of interoffice relations is as relaxing as it sounds, we can say that if working in your pajamas and painting your toenails while talking to important colleagues is something we find relaxing, then we're sure that having your head cleared would clear your head and be good for business.

Friday morning: Still searching for a Clinton-free story. Call editor, who suggests that Disney revamp the Hall of Presidents. That used to be the only place you could say, "The president looks a little stiff," and have no one snicker. Perhaps they'll just rerecord his motivational speech to say, "Nice dress, honey. It'd look better over your head."

See? It's one of life's cruel little ironies. The harder you try to get away from thinking of something, the quicker it will curl up and make itself comfortable in the center of your mind. As this McCarthyite theater of dead-horse beating drones on against the people's will and interest, there's only one thing we can hope for at this point: If hell freezes over and the zealots start to go after the Republicans who have begun to limp forward with confessions of their own tawdry little affairs, they'll give the investigative reports straight to Bob Guccione, so that those who want smut can return again to their usual source.

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