On the Spot

I get my gift for coming up with beautifully sounding, coherent and impressive bureaucratic narratives on the spot from my Dad.

Once back in the USSR, his friend Zhanna came by, complaining that she needed to write the annual report for her Komsomol organization. Zhanna was a speech therapist, and known for not being very bright.

“It will take me weeks,” she complained. “I’ll never do it on time.”

“Ah, come on,” said my Dad. “This is nothing to worry about. Sit down and write.”

And he dictated a 30-minute report for her right there. Zhanna was stunned and grateful.

The next day, my grandfather who worked at the same clinic as Zhanna dropped by for a visit.

“You guys always say that Zhanna is dumb,” he said, “but today I listened to the annual Komsomol report she wrote, and it was brilliant. She made something boring sound almost fun. Who knew she was a talented writer.”

“Funny you don’t recognize your own son’s writing style,” my Dad laughed.

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