Bless our heart, under authoritarian rule, loyalty is regarded as more important than competence....

Bob Garner: The art of the excuse

Bob Garner

Bob Garner


Sunday, February 11, 2018

I’m claiming to be juggling what I estimate to be a dozen TV projects. All are currently ailing … current, present or future. A weekly column and web thingie too? Hmm.

If TV is really the art of managing failure, that’s both an indictment and a shoddy see-through to everyone on earth except TV people, for whom only the latter is true.

But unlike TV viewers, print fans are supposed to have higher immunity to shopworn tricks of the trade. I’m about to “fall back” on one anyhow. That term du jour is supposed to mean “reconsider your plan.” But when you think your hair is on fire, you’ll take any illusory escape route, no matter how flawed it may become.

 My fancied solution to tangled TV trivia? The “compendium column,” — either a random collection of orderly thoughts or an orderly collection of random thoughts, depending on how well we crossed the goal line.

The little-e editor would be one of only two remaining hopes in this situation. He would be my lone succor if I hadn’t reluctantly decided I wasn’t going to reduce minor church complications (talk about tangles), mine or others’, through staying away from there.

I couldn’t discover inspiration for an orderly arrangement of random thoughts within my own body of work. But I was confident I had them collected in my head, for once. They were too slippery for me, though. I forgot them all.

They didn’t even survive my quick trip in that shoddy see-through outfit to check the Super Bowl score. So much for the notion of a compendium.

I was sinking in deep water when I was lifted from the depths by the master of the sea or one of those obscenely pricey half-time commercials, depending on your viewpoint.

The commercial seemed to be about a financially strapped woman in sleek, chic cover-all clothing who took up armed robbery to raise funds. Hyping a movie? Who knows?

Bingo. Why, during my game-day return from a “working” ski trip, I actually encountered a grandmotherly gas and convenience mart clerk who reported having once been robbed at gunpoint by a shmuck in a tattered hoodie. Feeling feisty and saying she and Jesus were “ready for him to do his worst,” she got a break. He summoned enough belated wisdom to escape with his own life, 76 bucks and only 40 years behind bars. No joke to either of them, but enough of a tragedy with truth enough to balance movie nonsense.

There you are. Strong life lesson. My self-imposed word limit is really 450, but the little-e guy wanted to watch the Super Bowl. So who’s counting?

I will have to show a little leg, though, by repurposing an account of “Joe,” the Pennsylvania-born bartender I patronized during that working slog to ski country. He’s a rabid Eagles fan, and the circle will be complete.

You can even count the title. And a few editing spares on little-e’s hip.

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker.



"Far from making excuses, Bob explains that he really was working hard last weekend." 


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