Yesterday, I ran into a friend a few blocks from the house. "How are you?" I asked.
Can you please repeat the question, he replied.
"How are you?"
That's a very general question, he said. Can you be more specific?
"How are you feeling?"
I'm afraid I can't answer that, it's doctor-patient confidentiality.
"Fine, but you're the patient, so... Whatever, let me try another way. Have you been doing anything interesting recently?"
Interesting to who?
"To yourself, anything that's interesting to yourself?"
Everything I do is always interesting to me, in one way or another, he answered. We learn from everything we do.
"I'm only asking because when we last exchanged emails, you said you were starting a new project with Terry."
What day are you referring to about the email?
"Just two days ago, on Monday."
What was the exact wording?, he asked.
"Here, it's this email." I scrolled down the list on my mobile phone and showed the screen to him.
Where on the page is it?
"There. In the second paragraph. There are only two."
I have to read it, he explained.
"That's the project I'm referring to."
I can confirm I wrote that.
"Yes, I know you did," I replied. "You sent it to me.
I can read the email to you, if you like.
"No, that's okay, I've already read it."
Then you know what it says. But I can read it to you.
"I'm only asking how the project with Terry is going?"
Would you like me to read the email?, he asked again.
"No, I've read it."
He began reading the email out loud. 'Bob, how's it going? Just the other day -- '
Before he could finish the whole thing, I interrupted, "Has your project with Terry started yet?"
Although I'm not required by law to say anything, because Terry isn't here I don't feel I should reveal what was said between us.
"I'm not asking what you two have said. I just want to know if you've started yet?"
Would you like me to read this email to you again? And then he started again, 'Bob, how's it -- "
"No, but I would like my phone back."
Here, but I can neither confirm or deny that I wrote an email to you, he said.
"I don't need you to confirm that you wrote the email you sent me."
Then why are you asking me all these questions? You seem to want to do all the talking and know all the answers, so there doesn't seem to be any point in me being part of this conversation if you're just going to ask questions and reply to them all yourself. He was starting to get very worked up and belligerent.
"Actually, I just wanted my phone back so that I could call Terry. I want to ask what is going on."
That's pretty general. Can you be more specific?
"No," I said, "because I'll be asking Terry, not you."
Well, if he tells you we're getting real estate investors, I can't confirm or deny that.
"So, you're working on a real estate deal?'
I can't confirm that. Or deny it. Not because of any law, but just because I won't.
"But you just now said that's what you're doing," I clarified.
I said it's what he might say, those would not be my words.
"Can you tell me in your words then?"
I have no obligation to tell you or anyone the truth. Only if I'm under oath.
"Wait, so you're saying you're a liar?"
I'm saying that if I'm not under oath I don't have any obligation to ever tell the truth.
"Which is basically the definition of being a liar," I pointed out.
Those are your words.
"Actually," I said, "they're Webster's."
To the best of my recollection I have never met Webster.
"Noah Webster is dead," I told him. "He has been dead for almost two hundred years."
Then your definition of the word "liar" cannot be corroborated.
"In fact, it's been corroborated through 36 editions."
Can you show me where on the page?, he asked.
'Sure," I said, "I have a copy at my place,."
Send it to me, I have to be at Terry's to work on a real estate project."
"So, you are doing a real estate project! together" I noted.
I can't confirm or deny that. I only said it was "a" real estate project, not one we're doing together.
"Well, if you are doing it together, just be sure there's nothing illegal," I warned him. "That's what I wanted to say."
Terry wouldn't have me do anything illegal.
"Terry spent five years in jail. For embezzlement."
To the best of my recollection, I have no exact memory of what happened in Terry's past.
"How could you not possibly remember??" I was bewildered. "Didn't you wonder where Terry was for five years?
That would be speculation.
"Look," I told him, "you clearly have to get to Terry's and work on your real estate project. We can finish this some other time."
I'm free tonight.
"Do you and Terry want to get together for dinner?"
That's very general, he said. You'll have to be more specific.
No, he shook his head almost vehemently, I have never heard Terry mention anything about Chinese in all the time I've known him. He has not ever discussed Chinese, we have never had Chinese. Chinese has never come up.
"We all went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch three weeks ago," I reminded him.
To the best of my recollection, I don't remember that.
"Fine, whatever, how about Italian?"
I love Italian. But I had it the last three days in a row.
"Really??", I asked.
Honestly, he replied, I have no idea.
9/18/2019 09:47:33 am
I would have stabbed the person in the neck with a pencil!
9/18/2019 11:29:40 am
No doubt pent-up years as a teacher getting a chance to vent...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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