making a mountain out of a mole
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A Phone Conversation.

By Martin Green


“Well, what do you think of it?”

It was my cousin Paul, calling from California. He lived in a retirement community there, just outside of Sacramento, the state capital. Since his retirement, he’d become kind of a writer, doing pieces for some senior newspaper. He’d sent me what he called his autobiography, the first chapter anyway.

“It’s strange. That’s not the way I remember things.”

“What’s strange?”

“You played singles on our handball team and we won the high school championship.”


“As I recall it, you and I played doubles and we finished second.”

“Well, we won all of our games.”

“We still finished second.”

“I decided to change things around a little, make things a little more upbeat.”

“But that’s not the way it really happened.”

“So what? When politicians write their autobiographies, or have someone write them, they make it sound like they’re the only smart persons in the room. And what about those so-called movie or TV documentaries? They always embroider things, even invent whole new characters? So what’s wrong with a little invention here and there. Besides, as the politicians say, those handball games happened years ago so what does it matter?”

“Maybe it would matter to the guys on those other handball teams.”

“They’re not going to read it, if they’re even around any more.”

I felt this was getting to be a pretty ridiculous conversation, as tended to happen when I talked to my cousin. “Well, you say a little invention here and there. What about you and all those girls. Who’s going to believe that? I don’t think you had one date when we were in high school.”

“Hah, that’s where you’re wrong. I didn’t have to invent there; well, maybe a little. Did you forgot I went to the prom?”

“Because Aunt Myra made her daughter go with you.”

“She didn’t make her. She wanted to go. Besides, what about Joan Kaminski?”

“You never went out with her.”

“Shows how much you know.”

“You made all that up.”

“You think so? You remember that mole she had?”

“What mole?”

“The one on her upper thigh. Guess you never saw her in a bathing suit. Or you forgot.”

“I wouldn’t have forgotten seeing Joan Kaminski in a bathing suit.”

“Well, she had that mole, and another one even further up. I saw them when we, you know.”

“I don’t believe you did, you know, with Joan Kaminski. Didn’t you once tell my a writer is a liar by definition?”

“True, just like a politician. But not about some things.”

“Joan Kaminski?”

“Ha, ha. I’ll send you the next chapter soon.”

“I can’t wait.”

I hung up the phone. My cousin was a funny guy. Writing an imaginary autobiography in which he was the all-winning hero. I remembered Joan Kaminski all right. Had I ever seen her in a bathing suit? Wait a minute. I had a sudden mental picture of her and I thought I did see a mole. Damnit. He’d ruined my day.



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