Of course they never realize that one of the advantages to living in a small town is that everybody knows everybody else’s business.
I offer myself as a case in point.
Every Wednesday afternoon I deliver newspapers. That’s the day The Reporter is printed and there’s a kind of controlled frantic rush to get the papers to the post offices and on the newsstands at the times people have come to expect them.
So I was in a bit of a hurry when I bailed out the back door into the alley outside The Reporter where my car’s trunk was loaded down with newspapers.
I opened the driver’s side door and started to haul my posterior into the seat when I realized it was occupied by a stack of boxes.
Sometimes on my route I deliver printing to Reporter customers. These envelopes were headed to Cameron with me.
Still in a hurry to get on my route, I paused, shuttled the boxes around the car to the passenger door, loaded them into the passenger seat, sprinted back around the vehicle, got in, slammed the door and was off.
When I pulled into my first stop, Rockdale Building Center, my cellphone was ringing. It was The Reporter. “Somebody said they saw you driving around with a book on top of your car, Mike.” Well that’s just plain silly. I don’t drive around with books on my car, I thought as I reached for the money sack I use on my route every Wednesday.
Which was missing.
Light slowly began to dawn. When I’d rushed out to the car, I had that sack, which is blue and does sort of look like a book, in my hand. I had put it on the car roof when I switched the printing from seat to seat, forgot about it and drove off with it on the roof.
I retraced my steps and there it was in the middle of Main Street.
Breathing thanks to Rockdale for looking out for me, I continued my route.
But there was more. When I returned to The Reporter to pick up additional mail tubs about a half hour later I was asked if the police found me because they said I’d lost something.
“It’s okay,” I said. “That was the money sack and I got it back.” I drove off for Thorndale, Buckholts, Cameron and Minerva.
But I did wonder about that police reference. A couple of hours later I was through with my route and was back at the office again.
And again it was “Mike did you talk to the police?”
“Because they have your checkbook.”
Yep, I’d not only left the money sack on the car’s roof, but I’d had my (personal) checkbook in my hand and put it up there too.
It came off in a different place and, would you believe it, someone found it and was nice enough to turn it in at the police station where it was quickly deduced only one person in town was dumb enough to leave his checkbook in the middle of the street.
They sent for me.
I love Rockdale. I just bet this doesn’t happen in Dallas or Houston.
With perfect timing, Rockdale has taken care of me again.
I started writing this story knowing it wasn’t long enough to be an entire column. Quite literally as I was writing it, Betty Yount walked into my office and handed me a copy of a senior citizen publication which had something in it she thought Reporter readers would enjoy.
I thought so, too. Here it is. A list of what those big business terms really mean:
• Under consideration—We never heard of it before.
• Program—Anything that can’t be done with one phone call.
• Modification—A reversal of position nobody will admit to.
• To spell out—Breaking up large chunks of gobbledygook into small chunks of gobbledygook.
• Note and initial—Let’s spread out the responsibility here.
• A survey is being made—We need more time to think of an answer.
• They’re in conference—Individually they can’t do anything so they’re deciding collectively that nothing can be done.
• Liaison—A person who talks well and listens better, but has no authority to make a decision.
• Statistician—A person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.
• Expert—A person with a briefcase at least 50 miles from their home.
• Expert (alternative definition)— A person allowed by their reputation to ignore small errors as they proceed toward big errors.
• Reliable source—Someone they overheard at a bar.
• Informed source—The person who was talking to the reliable source.
• Unimpeachable source—The person who starts any story. They can’t be impeached because nobody knows who they are.
• Committee—A conglomeration of the incompetent carrying out the un-needed.
Now, where did I put that cat?