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National Editorials & Columns

Views: Trying not to ruin a good thing

I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for nearly six months now. I’ve been wanting to tell you more about Jennie but I’ve been reluctant because I really like Jennie.

That may seem like a reason to write about her, but I’m paranoid about messing up a good thing. As Mark Twain said, and Jennie recently quoted, it’s better to remain silent and let people think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

For instance, if Jennie did something amusing but embarrassing, she might not appreciate me telling the world about it. Let’s say, theoretically, that she heated up a dish of spaghetti and accidentally flipped her fork in it sending hot noodles into the air and onto her face, that would be funny, right? But I could never tell that story because it might embarrass her. Remember, I said “theoretically.”

Plus, Jennie is a schoolteacher, so there is a level of decorum to be upheld. What would her students think if she had splashed hot pasta all over her face? Fortunately, most 5-year-olds can’t read that well, but their parents presumably can. They might laugh and discuss how funny that would be to see the teacher theoretically adorned with noodles in her hair. I can’t let that happen.

And if the tomato sauce was so hot that it actually left a blister on her face, that would be tragic and unbecoming. And less funny but still a little funny.

And if there was such a mess on the floor that a janitor had to come in to clean the carpet, I’m pretty sure she would not want everyone to know it. It’s a good thing we’re talking theoretically.

I could never tell that story, could I?

No, I would need to stick to the facts. Like how beautiful she is and thoughtful and smart and helpful. She is all of those things. Even if she had sticky strands of spaghetti stuck to her face, she would still be the most beautiful woman you ever saw.

She is so pretty, she doesn’t need spaghetti noodle decoration to make her more beautiful. Although it would be kind of cute. Theoretically.

One of the things I like about Jennie is her mystique. She is very mysterious. For instance, what is a woman like that doing with a slouch like me? That is the mystery of the century.

I know she could do worse than me. Among the state’s prison population, there are at least two or three guys who are worse than me. But let’s keep all this between you and me. She doesn’t need to know what kind of poor choice she is making. I’m sure she can figure it out on her own when she’s not picking spaghetti noodles out of her hair. Theoretically.

• David Porter can be reached at

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