After the Fact: Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat?


Some days, my brilliance is absolutely mind-boggling, but there are other days when I could run for and be elected to Congress. With all the slips of the tongue, absence of common sense and general faux pas, some of our representatives sound like third grade drop-outs. And it’s not limited to those little darlings new to the office. The Speaker of the House has come up with some real lulu’s and she’s been there for more years than probably she should have imposed upon us. Makes you wonder who elects these people, doesn’t it?

I have friends who are Democrats and I value their friendships a sight more than I give thought to who’s right or who’s not. I have friends of many religions, and I’d no more criticize their beliefs than I’d give them advice about where to buy a good used car. Or, as the old song goes, “Ye take the high road and I’ll take the low road.” And, at my present rate of speed, it would be a toss-up as to which of us got to Scotland afore the other.

Getting older, despite the usual complaints, does have advantages. We may not be more tolerant of differences, but we’ve learned to keep our mouths (and our pocketbooks) shut. Or, as the thought my high school friend Duane Hall shared with me, “My people skills are just fine; it’s my tolerance for idiots that needs work.”

Duane was a couple of years ahead of me at Los Alamos High School, so I consider he should be a couple of years wiser. He says, “I talk to myself because I occasionally need expert advice.” And you only thought senior citizens were getting on the “dotty” side of life! No, we’re just waiting until you realize we are smart enough to not ask for your opinion.

We were strolling past the pickles and relishes aisle in our great little Top Value market, and the topic of my former mother-in-law’s homemade pickles came up. I know I’ve mentioned those pickles before, the ones that tasted like kerosene. Chris asked, “How do you make pickles?” It’s been a long while since I did, and they weren’t a whole lot better than the kerosene pickles, so my answer was short. “You don’t want to know.  Just buy some and put them in another jar and pretend they’re homemade.” If you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask.

Happily, Ruth, when she was the editor of this paper, asked for my opinion. Every week. And she never criticized what I had to say. You’ll note that, at the bottom of this page, there’s a disclaimer that says the paper is in NO way responsible for whatever it is I’ve written this week. If you don’t like it, don’t call Ruth.  She retired. You could write a letter, though, and address it to our new “acting” editor, Ellen. On the other hand, she might tell me that she didn’t ask for my opinion!

Generally speaking, when someone asks for “your honest opinion,” the very best answer is, “What do you think?” And they will tell you, thus saving your brain cells absolutely pointless exercise. It’s kind of like Facebook replies that are non-replies. You can have the smiley face, the frown, the one with tears, the one that says “Wow” or the thumbs-up icon, something suitable for any occasion without really committing to anything. It reminds me of my mom listening on the phone to grandma’s daily litany of complaints while working the New York Times crossword puzzle: “Umhm.” “Of course. “I’m sorry to hear that.” “Umhm.” “Take an aspirin and have a nap; you’ll feel better later.”

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