Rather Good GuidesĀ®

Documentation the way it ought to be.

A Reluctant Blogger


I confess (but just to you, right?), that I am a reluctant blogger. I have long since admired such folks as Ed Yourdon who apparently writes effortlessly, writes prose that can be read effortlessly, and also looks like we were separated at birth (and girth).


For me, whilst (and yes, that is a word, America) the writing is easy, the problem is that I must be exceedingly careful about what I write because when I am deposed (for my day job), I just know that anything I publish will come back across the deposition table to haunt me. Hours of endless grilling. It got so bad that one day, in New York City I think it was, an academic paper written by Johnson-Laird was slid across the deposition table and deposing counsel started to ask me piercing questions about it. This went on for, oh, ten minutes or so, until finally I was asked a question I could not answer.


"Aha!" said said counsel, "So you really do not know what this paper is about do you,  Mr. Johnson-Laird?"


"That is not true. I do know what it is about, counsel."


"So why can you not answer a question about your own paper?" he said.


"I can," I said.


"So answer this question, please."


"I cannot answer that question counsel," I said.


"So why did you say you could answer this question?"


"I can answer questions about my own papers, counsel," I said.


"So why can you not answer the question I asked you!!!" (Counsel was becoming somewhat agitated at this point.)


"Because this is not my paper."


"But it was written by Professor Johnson-Laird, correct?"




"Are you not Professor Johnson-Laird?"


"That is true."


"So this is one of your papers!!" (Really pissed off now.)


"No counsel. It is true that I am not Professor Johnson-Laird." (My brother is Professor Philip Johnson-Laird.)


And that is why, gentle reader, I really need to watch what I write -- it could only have been worse if I had actually written that paper.


Thus, if you make the mistake of reading one of my blog entries, just bear in mind that they are written with the idea of avoiding mind-numbing deposition dialogs like the one above. They are the truth, but not necessarily the whole truth.


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