The Common Good
September-October 1994

Summer Lies and Weary Travelers

by Ed Spivey Jr. | September-October 1994

People don’t always say what they mean (I meant to say
that). And this past summer brought several examples of the daily
"little white lies" we tell each other.

People don’t always say what they mean (I meant to say that). And this past summer brought several examples of the daily "little white lies" we tell each other. Not that we deliberately commit falsehoods, but often it’s just a little easier for both parties in a conver-

sation if one party avoids the harsher truths of life (i.e. lies like a rug). For example:

What They Said: I’m going to take a break from writing this article and go for a short walk. I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.

What They Meant: I’m going directly to Ben & Jerry’s. You won’t see me again until 4:59 p.m., or until my cholesterol level reaches 300—whichever comes first.

What They Said: It’s really too hot to work, so I’m taking these manuscripts home. I can work much better in the cool of the evening.

What They Meant: I’m going to take these manuscripts home. My mind is much sharper in the evening when I’m sitting right next to the fan. I’ll (yawn) get to them as soon as I ...as soon as I...zzzzzzz.

What They Said: No, really, it’s not that bad a sunburn, it just looks bad.

What They Meant: My clothes feel like velcro on my skin. Do you have any lotion, any ice...cold compress? Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

What They Said: We’re having a backyard get-together. You’re welcome to come and bring a dish from your garden to share.

What They Meant: Remember last year when you brought a single uncooked zucchini? Well, see, that does not qualify as a "dish to share." For once in your life, couldn’t you make a three-bean salad? Heck, we’ll take beans and franks, for cryin’ out loud!

What the Doctor Said: Your daughter will be in that cast for about five weeks, but she’ll get used to it and after a while she won’t even know it’s there.

What The Doctor Meant: She’ll be the Invalid From Hell. She’ll be mad at losing half of her summer to a broken leg and she won’t let you forget it. Get used to the cast? Right. And I’m driving a Yugo. Listen, just accept the fact that, for the next five weeks, you’ll be her bonded servants, whether you like it or not.

(True aside: The younger sibling had been bugging her sister to try out the new crutches. I finally intervened and said it was OK. "Don’t be so selfish with your crutches, " I scolded. "What’s the harm in letting Kate use them for a couple of..." [sound like a piano falling off a truck and rolling down a steep hill].

We found the crutches and our other daughter (the healthy one) in a weeping heap at the bottom of the stairs. Fortunately we didn’t end up with two kids on crutches yelling out commands such as "...and bring me up all the jellies so I can choose which one I want for my toast! Say, this eating in bed is fun! Now, where’s that TVGuide?"

What I Said: I’m your father. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I can help you make some of those more difficult choices in life.

What I Meant: I’m your father and I should be completely ignored at certain pivotal moments in life.

Travel Corner

n This month’s coveted "Staffer of the Month" award goes to culture editor Bob Hulteen, who recently flew from his home in Minneapolis to our office in Washington, D.C. Actually, "flew" might be an overstatement, since he pretty much walked most of the way.

Now most people coming from Minneapolis to Washington would take the following three-hour route: Fly Minneapolis to Washington.

But our frugal culture editor, in an effort to save the magazine some money, chose an alternate plan. The itinerary—soon to be a television miniseries—was as follows:

• Six-and-a-half-hour overnight bus trip from Minneapolis to Madison, Wisconsin.

• Six-hour layover at Madison’s unique International House of Pancakes, drinking large quantities of coffee.

• Three-hour walking tour of downtown Madison, with numerous unplanned stops (on account of all that coffee).

• Forty-five-minute bus ride on one of Madison’s well-planned municipal routes, which took him to within two miles of the Madison airport. (Note: The bus does not actually take riders to the airport. Oh, no. The end of the line is two miles from the airport. City planners were unavailable for comment on this oversight, since they were all probably at the International House of Pancakes.)

• Walk (with backpack and two full suitcases) to the airport (did we mention it was two miles away?) and get on a plane that flies directly to...Detroit, with connections to Washington, D.C. Only, the plane was cancelled, so Bob had to get another flight, which flew first to Chicago.

• Arrive in Washington, D.C., rested and ready after a mere 23 hours of travel. Total savings for the magazine: $87.

Our thanks to Bob "Am I There Yet?" Hulteen for his slavish commitment to an alternative lifestyle. It was a good week of meetings with Bob and his input was very important, particularly when he was awake.

And Now the News

In A Los Angeles Ford dealer’s newspaper ad was promoting special pricings on Broncos. The headline stated "As Seen on TV."

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