“Lyndon Johnson was indeed …. a being of Shakespearean dimensions—a hulking, bush-country colossus, gargantuan of ego and energy, of self-delusions and glooms and paranoias, crass cruelties and rampant vulgarities, but gargantuan also in his benevolent ambitions.
He early became fabled for a Rabelaisian earthiness, urinating in the parking lot of the House Office Building as the urge took him; if a colleague came into a Capitol bathroom as he was finishing at the urinal there, he would sometimes swing around still holding his member, which he liked to call “Jumbo,” hooting once, “Have you ever seen anything as big as this?,” and shaking it in almost a brandishing manner as he began discoursing about some pending legislation. At the same time, he would oblige aides to take dictation standing in the door of his office bathroom while he went about emptying his bowels, as if in some alpha-male ritual assertion of his primacy. Even on the floors of the House and Senate, he would extravagantly rummage away at his groin, sometimes reaching his hand through a pocket and leaning with half-lifted leg for more thorough access.”
- From Marshall Farady’s review of Robert Caro’s 2002 political biography, Master Of The Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson.
The above extract is by way of introduction to a recording of President Lyndon Baines Johnson ordering pants by telephone in 1964 from Joe Haggar of the Haggar Clothing Company. Whether it be Johnson belching during the conversation, asking for more room in the crotch area “where the nuts hang” or referring to his “bunghole”, it is all classic Johnson.
I can relate to Johnson’s grievance about needing more room where the nuts hang, I have had a similar problem since my teens. Nahhh, just joking.
Listen to it by clicking on the following link:
Here is a transcript:
President Johnson orders pants from Joe Haggar.
Aug. 9, 1964
Operator: Go ahead sir
LBJ: Mr. Haggar?
JH: Yes this is Joe Haggar
LBJ: Joe, is your father the one that makes clothes?
JH: Yes sir - we're all together
LBJ: Uh huh. You all made me some real lightweight slacks, uh, that he just made up on his own and sent to me 3 or 4 months ago. There's a light brown and a light green, a rather soft green, a soft brown.
JH: Yes sir
LBJ: and they're real lightweight now and I need about six pairs for summer wear.
JH: yes sir
LBJ: I want a couple, maybe three of the light brown kind of a almost powder color like a powder on a ladies face. Then they were some green and some light pair, if you had a blue in that or a black, then I'd have one blue and one black. I need about six pairs to wear around in the evening when I come in from work
JH: yes sir
LBJ: I need...they're about a half a inch too tight in the waist.
JH: Do you recall sir the exact size, I just want to make sure we get them right for you
LBJ: No, I don't know - you all just guessed at 'em I think, some - wouldn't you the measurement there?
JH: we can find it for you
LBJ: well I can send you a pair. I want them half a inch larger in the waist than they were before except I want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so I can take them up. I vary ten or 15 pounds a month.
JH: alright sir
LBJ: So leave me at least two and a half, three inches in the back where I can let them out or take them up. And make these a half an inch bigger in the waist. And make the pockets at least an inch longer, my money, my knife, everything falls out - wait just a minute.
Operator: Would you hold on a minute please?
[conversation on hold for two minutes]
LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing - the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it's just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I've had anywhere in the United States,
LBJ: But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can't leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.
LBJ: Now be sure you have the best zippers in them. These are good that I have. If you get those to me I would sure be grateful
JH: Fine, Now where would you like them sent please?
LBJ: White House.
LBJ: Now, uh, I don't guess there is any chance of getting a very lightweight shirt, sport shirt to go with that slack, is there? That same color?
JH: We don't make them, but we can have them made up for you.
LBJ: If you might look around, I wear about a 17, extra long.
JH: Would you like in the same fabric?
LBJ: Yeah I sure would, I don't know whether that's too heavy for a shirt.
JH: I think it'd be too heavy for a shirt.
LBJ: I sure want the lightest I can, in the same color or matching it. If you don't mind, find me somebody up there who makes good shirts and make a shirt to match each one of them and if they're good, we'll order some more.
LBJ: I just sure will appreciate this, I need it more than anything. And uh, now that's a..about it. I guess I could get a jacket made outta that if I wanted to, couldn't I?
JH: I think that - didn't Sam Haggar have some jackets made?
LBJ: Yeah you sent me some jackets some earlier, but they were way too short. They hit me about halfway down my belly. I have a much longer waist. But I thought if they had material like that and somebody could make me a jacket, I'd sent them a sample to copy from.
JH: Well I tell you what, you send us this, we'll find someone to make it
LBJ: - ok
JH: We'll supply the material to match it
LBJ: Ok, I'll do that. Uh now, how do I - can you give this boy the address because I'm running to a funeral and give this boy the address to where we can send the trousers - don't worry, you'll get the measurements out of them and add a half an inch to the back and an give us couple of an inch to the pockets and a inch underneath to we can let them out.
JH: What you 'd like is a little more stride in the crotch
LBJ: Yeah that's right. What I'd like is to give me a half a inch more then leave me some more. Ok here he is.
JH: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the others
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President Johnson shows his scar after gall bladder surgery, 1965
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Next week: Why do men's privates have names such as Johnson?