Why Joe would never shill for Viagra.

Week of February 1, 2007

Hey Joe: When's the best time to tell a child they're adopted? Our daughter is now in high school and we don't know how to bring up the subject.

Carol Brady, Los Angeles, California

My suggestion would be immediately after adoption. I've never adopted a child, although my wife and I raised our grandson, Sean. We got him as a baby and always reminded him about his mother, our daughter, so he would never forget her. He was raised in our home. Our purpose for getting him was to grant her the opportunity to finish high school and college after having him at a very young age. After finishing school and becoming employed, she chose a career to pursue on her own and opted to leave him with us. From this perspective, they were always close, although my wife and I were afraid for years that he would someday choose to live with her. To deny a child knowing his parents in the long run might one day prove very hurtful, such as in your case.

Hey Joe: If someone offered you $50,000 to do a commercial for something unattractive, like erectile dysfunction (ED), would you do it?

Bill Clinton, New York, New York

To be quite honest, no. I'm not Bob Dole, the former presidential candidate. I've been told several times by a close friend that the greediest man alive is the one who makes his first million dollars. Dole, by advertising Viagra, acknowledges this by letting the world know that he has a dead sex organ. And it has nothing to do with the war — sort of like most of those antiquated geezers in Congress who wouldn't pass up the opportunity of jumping on Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others that supposedly used steroids. Not to say that I won't jump in line for some free of charge, but I'd probably get run over by Bud Selig, who would be hustling to get some too.

However, unlike Dole, I've never seen a ballplayer advertising steroids. I wonder: If steroids served the same purpose as Viagra, would congressmen — those who are so adamant about going after athletes — feel the same way? It must be noted that steroids have long ago made their way through every athletic system, including schools. It's a proven fact that all of these drug users have turned a deaf ear to Nancy Reagan's philosophy of "Just Say No." If there is a way to curtail the use of these so-called performance-enhancing drugs, it must begin with cracking down on manufacturers. Or would big business stop its financial contributions to politicians' campaigns? By putting a stop to this drug business, maybe the millionaire image will cease as well as the drugs. Then the people's social problems will be readily addressed.



Prince Joe Henry, one of professional baseball's original "clowns," was an all-star infielder for Negro League baseball teams in Memphis, Indianapolis and Detroit throughout the 1950s. But up until the late 1940s, Prince Joe didn't know anything about the Negro Leagues. His knowledge of organized baseball was limited to the Cardinals and Browns games he attended during his preteen years at Sportsman's Park, accompanied by lifelong buddy Eugene "Gene" Crittendon, who could pass for white. Perhaps Henry's most vivid memory of those games: Upon entry, white ushers would politely escort the boys to a small section of the left-field stands reserved for "Colored." After climbing past several tiers of bleachers, they'd arrive at their stop, rows and rows behind their white counterparts. Even at a young age, the boys were conscious of the double standard -- and determined to vent their disdain. The opportunity would arise with the urge to urinate. Rather than head for the latrine, the boys would edge their way to the front of the section and let fly. As the liquid foamed its way down the concrete steps toward the white kids, Henry and his pal would ease back and relax, politely rooting for the visiting team to beat the hell out of the Browns or the Cards. After all, Henry and Crittendon hailed from Brooklyn, Illinois, a small, predominantly black township just east of the Mississippi River. So hospitable were the residents of Brooklyn that they were known to take in a rank stranger, treat him to breakfast, lunch, supper and a night out on the town -- and afterward, if he messed up, treat him to a good ass-whippin'. Direct questions on any and all topics to heyjoe@riverfronttimes.com. If we don't like yours, we'll hit Joe with our own.

 
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