When I had an exalted position with AT&T, I would refer baffling questions to my secretaries.  Three of those secretaries remain in touch and I would probably refer my current Father’s Day bafflement to them.  Those three are Althea Scheller, Pat Impellizari, and Lorraine Grant Murray.

My first bafflement has to do with the term, used quite often in news reports, “some skin in the game.”  When this expression is used, my mind automatically goes to circumcision.  As best I can figure it out, “some skin in the game” means taking a risk.  If I were to bet against you in a poker game, I suppose I would have some skin in the game.  If, on the other hand, I were a soldier in Iraq and survived that experience, I might live to tell you of my work there which was backed up by my skin in the game because I had been there.  My three former secretaries are much more attuned to the thoughts of younger people, so I would refer that question to them.  But always remember that when I am told of “some skin in the game,” I think of circumcision.

My second thought has to do with a non-bafflement situation.  It has to do with the expression “a carbon copy.”  Those three former secretaries would have no trouble whatsoever with this question.  It used to be that when typewriters were used, a thin piece of carbon paper was placed between two sheets of paper; that is the way we made a second copy.  There were instances in which you were dictating a lengthy memo and having it typed.  It would be necessary for me to make a change or two, in which case the secretaries would have to erase or alter the four or five copies behind the original.  I knew that secretaries disliked doing this and I tried always to keep subsequent thoughts and alterations to a minimum.  But I wish it to be clear that “carbon copy” is not part of my Father’s Day bafflement.  I understand that term completely, even though it has gone out of fashion.  In addition to understanding “carbon copy,  I even understand what “Wite-out” means.

Now, as Father’s Day 2010 draws to a close, I ponder whether Tony Hayward is wondering whether he will have a job come the morrow.  It is fairly clear to me that old Tony has become a monstrous embarrassment to the BP Corporation.  The yacht racing that Tony enjoyed following his testimony and return to England is a complete bafflement that defies any logic.  My guess is that Tony, the Chief Executive Officer of BP, might consider locating his nearest office where he can enroll on the dole, as the English have it.  He testified that he made $6 million in his job as CEO last year, but I doubt if that will go on much longer.  The baffling question is why they have kept Tony Hayward on for so long.

And finally, can anybody explain to me what “spot on” means?  I hear commentators on radio and television using this term, but its meaning completely escapes me.

And so those are my bafflements this Sunday evening.  My former secretaries will read this essay and will conclude that old Ezra is as dense as ever.



June 20, 2010

Essay 467


Kevin’s commentary: I’m sorta glad that ol’ Tony has been off the map for a while. That guy was just a constant mess.

“Spot on” just means “exactly” or “precisely.” I think it comes from the same sentiment as hitting the nail on the head.

Finally with “skin in the game” I think football — the old pigskin. But I don’t know much about that either.

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