Al Batt: Honesty isn’t always the best policy

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club:

Honesty is the best policy.

Do you really believe that?

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I do. Unless you want people to like you.

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: The only thing I can do better than anyone else is to read my own handwriting.

Cafe chronicles 

It was amateur hour at the cafe. He read the menu like it was his old high school yearbook. Things looked familiar, but he couldn’t remember all of them. He ordered just one thing. None of the regulars ever ordered just one thing because the waitress always forgot to bring one thing.

A discussion was ongoing.

“It was that guy. He was in that movie I liked.”

“Do you mean ‘Groundhog Day’? You loved that film.”

“No, it was similar, but completely different. He made a couple of movies with that blonde woman with the perky nose.”

“Oh, I know who you mean, I can’t think of his name either. I think he was in a movie with ‘the’ in the title.”

“Here, I’ll Google it,” said another grabbing his smartphone.

A hush fell over the crowd. Attitudes worsened. They didn’t want to know who the guy was. They were just enjoying the process.

Visiting day

I visited a hospital. A man dropped his cellphone to the floor with a clatter. I hoped he wasn’t a surgeon. I called on a friend. He was doing as well as could be expected, but he should have bought an extended warranty.

Later, I visited a home with a flowery hanging on the door saying, “Happy everything.” A woman, a regular reader of this column, told me that I seemed almost normal. She appeared surprised, but it was a nice compliment.

At another stop, a friend told me that he regularly played checkers with the administrator of the facility wherein he resided. He said they played for money and claimed he wouldn’t need to be paying any rent for a long time.

This was where I learned who George Strait was. I enjoy music, but I tend to listen to what I already like. It’s hard to get it all listened to. This leaves me clueless about most singers.

I looked up the spelling of his name. I knew how to spell George. That was my father’s name. I thought the last name was Straight because of experience.

I’d enjoyed “The Straight Story,” a film based on Alvin Straight’s 1994 journey on a lawn mower. Straight was a 73-year-old who’d heard that his estranged brother had suffered a stroke and decided to visit and make amends. Straight’s eyesight and health were too poor for him to get a driver’s license, so he hooked a trailer to his 1966 John Deere lawn tractor, maximum speed of about 5 miles per hour, and began a 250-mile journey from Laurens, Iowa, to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.

I’ve spent time along the Straight River, which is crooked.

I once spent time in a Minnesota cabin that almost made it to Canada. It was before iPods or cellphones. I had a battery-powered radio that refused to pick up anything but white noise. Strait might have been part of it.

My research informed me that Strait sang, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.” I’d heard that tune. I’m not sure why “Ex’s” is in the possessive form. I have no exes, but if I did, Texas would be the place for them.


Toys ran on imagination. School was school, one no better than another. Teachers threatened to kick a misbehaving student so hard that when the lad sat down, he’d leave a footprint. If a boy wore a baseball cap backwards, he was a catcher. We checked the bottoms of our shoes before entering a home. Boredom was expressed as, “What can I eat?”