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Laugh track optional

Yesterday I had to meet a client and a newspaper reporter for lunch. The reporter was interviewing the client for a story.

What an interesting lunch.

The client has been successful in business for more than 30 years but obviously has no media sense whatsoever. He said no less than six times (I counted), "Well, off the record..." And then he proceeded to say if not incriminating than at the very least negative things about his company, his industry, his colleagues and his competitors.

I thought I'd slink completely under the table. I debated on standing up and dramatically declaring, "OK, this interview is OVER."

Because, for those of you who don't know, NOTHING IS EVER 'OFF THE RECORD' WITH THE MEDIA. You never, ever say anything to a reporter that you don't want to read on the front page of tomorrow's paper. Duh.

And on top of everything else, the reporter had tourette syndrome. I'm not kidding. He didn't scream out cuss words or anything, but he had violent spasms and continually jerked his head around hard enough to shake the table.

Some days I feel like I've been dropped into a really bad sitcom.