Out in Front: Tell the Truth, Now

November 1, 2013  - By
Image: GPS World

Here are a few things about your colleagues that perhaps you did not know: they are a quite colorful, varied, and shall we even say motley crew. Hidden backgrounds came to light during the magazine’s Leadership event in Nashville, during a game called “Guess Who’s Spoofing the Dinner?” One person at each table, secretly recruited in advance, lied freely in response to three questions, while everyone else was bound to tell the strict truth. The table then had to identify the spoofer in their midst.

The truths turned out to be stranger than the fictions. As ever. This is what’s known, appropriately, as a truism.

The questions posed:

  • What is the farthest from your birthplace that you have traveled?
  • What was the shortest time you ever held a job? What job?
  • Who is the most famous person you have met?

One person had met Hillary Clinton, another the first lady of China, and two people had met the Queen.

One met Janis Joplin (throwing that table into a total tizzy), another had an audience with two popes, Benedict and John Paul II (not simultaneously), while yet another had met John Paul II and Sophia Loren (again, presumably, not on the same occasion).

But the most elevated encounter was described by a soft-spoken gentleman who taught the Dalai Lama to play frisbee. His Holiness had never done, and evinced some curiosity as to how it worked.

Janis Joplin’s crony claimed his shortest employment was installing fire alarms at a Catholic home for girls in a delicate way in the early Sixties. His table declared him the spoofer. But they were wrong. They were wrong.

The shortest employment for one engineer at the dinner was also his longest, not to mention his most current: 30 years. He has never held another job.

One young researcher worked briefly as a shepherdess, until getting trampled by a flock of sheep. Imagine your lab-coated colleague in a long white frock, ruffled cap, and crook stick.

In their travels, folks had reached Tierra del Fuego, Tasmania, Everest Base Camp, China (and conversely, Nashville from China by a select few), and Capetown, South Africa, but the furthest flung had landed on Antarctic ice in a Hercules C-130, on skis.

Ironically, one travel tale was challenged not because of the furthest destination but the start point. A well known GNSS scientist vowed that he came from Texas, but a gentleman from the European Commission — the same who had met John Paul and Ms. Loren — doubted this severely, because the teller did not sport cowboy boots nor a big belt buckle. Worse, he could not recall what Sam Houston’s boys cried out as they went into the Battle of San Jacinto, winning glory and Texas independence.

Italians, it seems, are quite well versed in Texan history.

There is a lesson in this for all of us, though our scientist claims it’s all just an invention of  the movies.

Remember the Alamo!

This article is tagged with , and posted in From the Magazine, Opinions

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.