The Tennessee Expert
The lanky blond man bends to come in the door of the deposition room. I am there with my Stenograph set up ready to go. It's always best when an expert witness is the first to arrive: You can chitchat with him, put him at ease, find out what he is an expert in and how he talks, because you are responsible to write it down sensibly.
I ask for his curriculum vitae (a resume of sorts). Here is a list single-spaced in small print of a page and a half of death-defying stunts: Eve l Knievel he was.
Stuntman, fire jumper, demolition . . . and him barely thirty years old.
My mission is to put him at ease. I read every line of that curriculum vitae thinking of what to say. “So what are you afraid of,” I ask, meaning to infer he was afraid of nothing, and meaning to get him to speak.
My witness was one of those people who doesn't see humor, and who takes things therefore very literally. In his deep Tennessee drawl he answered my question earnestly: “A serious talk with a fee-male!” I could tell it was a particular female he spoke of. I could tell having a talk with me would rank in the same category as having a talk with her. (At least he isn't an expert in soil mechanics or flutter or revetment walls.)
I will always remember this scene. He speaks for all human males. Women are always plotting The Talk, whether The Talk is about 'our problem' or 'our serious relationship.' Women live for The Talk. But guys would rather jump into a forest fire or blow something up.
Maybe now you will remember this scene forever too.