"He who speaks the truth had better have one foot in the stirrups."
The negotiation had been grueling. I was on the verge of a breakthrough when some foolish Reds fan stepped in front of me at the hot dog stand in Cincinnati and offered $3.75, the asking price for some wretched looking white hot dogs.
Drained of all color, the franks appeared to be fashioned as some sort of frightening tube steak rendition of Dracula.
I asked the vendor why they were so white and got the reply that he didn't know.
Taking advantage, I threatened to take my complaint to management, then started with the outrageous demands.
The Reds fans, already having the feeling of defeat deeply ingrained in them, are easy to topple in an argument.
Also, some disgruntled Dodgers fan ranting about the quality of their hot dogs was the last thing they wanted.
So I pushed my way through the transaction.
I had my price down to 50 cents for the white hot dogs and $3.75 for the next piece of meat up on the hierarchy of manufactured meats the brat. I was on my way to working in a buy-one-get-one free deal with the backpedalling vendor when a Reds fan got in my way.
Furious, I let him know what I thought of Reds fans and told him what he had done to my transaction.
The honesty was too much for him to bear.
He broke away, eyes moist, to go find a security guard or some freshly starched white shirted policeman to whom he could complain.
So it was probably time to leave.
Honesty always seems to become a contorted preface to a retreat. Nothing that is said with complete transparency can be taken at face value by anyone.
It's too real, too penetrative, and catalyzes human defense mechanism like overanalysis, self-justification, and deflection.
I should have kept my mouth shut about the white hot dogs, then lied, and said they were the best money spent in years.
It also was a mistake to speak that way to a Reds fan. I should have cloaked my comments with some pity or sympathy.
"I'm sorry that you feel you should pay so much for a sub-par piece of food. But I guess it's to be understood, when the owner and general manager of your team overpays for equally sub-par players."
Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or firstname.lastname@example.org .