RUSH: I got to thinking, you know, I used to every day, preparing this program, I had a stack of just pure silly stuff, lighthearted silly human interest stuff, and there’s some of that but I don’t ever seem to get to it because all this stuff is so damned intense.
I’ll give you an example. Saturday night I flew to Chicago. Seventeen years ago Neal Boortz, a nationally syndicated radio host and former sports agent — when I met him he was sports agent to Evander Holyfield, and Holyfield had just won first championship bout, and at that point Holyfield told Boortz, ‘Look, champ don’t pay for anything.’ So Boortz was being told he was going to have to work for nothing if he wanted to continue to work as a lawyer for Holyfield, so he said, ‘Screw it, I’m going to go full time into talk radio.’ And he asked me 17 years ago, maybe 16 years ago, he said, ‘Look, if I ever am inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, will you present me?’ And I said, ‘Sure, I would be happy to.’ Never thinking it would happen. Ahem. Ahem. So Saturday night Neal Boortz was inducted into the national Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, and I went there to present him. I wore a Loudmouth jacket. I didn’t wear my Loudmouth shorts, but I wore a Loudmouth jacket, black slacks, and a black mock turtleneck because it was a black-tie affair.
I took a couple friends with me, actually nine, they had their own table for the festivities. Among them were George Brett and Vince Flynn. I had four minutes to present Boortz. I didn’t want to go through all the career statistics and all that stuff, everybody does that, how many stations and this and that and everything. I said, ‘Neal Boortz is one of the greatest representatives of our business –‘ I was going to say art but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that ‘– of our business that there is. Solid, great character, a genuinely good and decent man.’ But, I said, ‘Neal Boortz nearly cost me my own national show. Back in 1989, shortly after we secured The Big 89, WLS as an affiliate — and they were one of the first top-ten markets that we got. That was unrelated to anything, but Boortz sent me a note and said, ‘You know there are some news stories out there, it’s getting bigger, you ought to treat it this way.’ So I looked at Boortz’s idea and I said, ‘You know, this would be funny.’ So I took to the microphone that day and I discussed the increasing number of automobile accidents taking place in American cities.
It was an epidemic back then. Somehow it made news. There was all kinds of traffic accidents that were happening, there was a spate of them. And I said, ‘Folks, I’ve got a solution. It’s not seat belts, it’s not this, it’s not sober up. The best thing we can do if we want to make highways safer and roads safer is to simply ask women to stop farding in their cars.’ And I explained just that one simple step would clean up a whole lot of traffic messes. I went on to other things in the monologue and finally went to the phones and, ‘What do you mean, what do you mean women? Well, what about men?’ ‘I have never seen a man fard in his car.’ ‘Well, have you seen women?’ ‘All the time.’ Well, how do you know that that’s happening?’ ‘Because you can see it.’ This went on for 30 minutes. WLS, Tom Tradup was the general manager, WLS canceled me for 45 minutes until the bit was explained in full. The word was fard, f-a-r-d, and it’s French, and it means to apply makeup to the face. But if you say it real fast — I guarantee you, you could play the tape back, I did not say the word you think I said. It’s just you never heard the word fard.
Well, that’s the kind of lighthearted stuff that we used to have time for. This was pre-Clinton. You know, things got really intense. Clinton tried to blame me for the Oklahoma City bombing and other things ratcheted up and as the success of this program grew and intensified it became more of a target in a political sense, not a program at all discussed in the realm of broadcasting or, slash, entertainment, other than when they sought to discredit me. So I’m telling this story in my four minutes to introduce Boortz, and it worked again. The room got quiet, my buddies were sitting there telling me there were five women at the table next to theirs and they started shooting me daggers and so forth. It’s amazing. (laughing) Here they think I’d actually say this word at such a black tie august gathering. Then I introduced Boortz and Boortz came up and did his acceptance, we ran off and took pictures, which is what happens. I got my picture taken with the gang from All Things Considered at NPR, that’s when I went in. Also, you remember what happened, Snerdley, when I went in? Sally [Messy] Rafael wormed her way in as my presenter and, look, I was still naive at the time. I had a little red flag about it but I was assured by the Hall of Fame people, no, no, no, she’s very much looking forward to this. I soon found out why. Have you heard about this, Dawn?
She stood up and in her supposed induction speech gave a little lecture on why I should not be admitted into the Hall of Fame, and Paul Harvey was seated at the next table, and he could not believe what he was hearing. Nobody in the room could. My brother threw his napkin down on the floor. So I went up there in my acceptance speech, I ignored what she had said — and she had this big grin on her face. Short little twerp, but she had this big grin on her face and I just thanked the American people, I thanked my radio affiliates for making the dream come true and so forth.
I had to leave to go backstage to get pictures taken, which is a tradition, and Brett and Flynn came back and appeared in the picture with us with Neal. So it was fun. Then we got on the airplane to head right back because we had stuff to do the next day.