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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Up here, or down South, it pays to be clear


May 12. 2013 3:26PM

It pays to be clear.

Our company's vice president for advertising accompanied me to a meeting of independently owned newspapers in Charleston, S.C., earlier this month.

Nice city, Charleston. Great history (S.C. was the first state to secede.) Great food. Nice people, including Jenny Sanford, whose name might ring a political bell. It was her ex-husband who said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail a few years ago when he was actually visiting his South American mistress.

Sanford. the former governor, just won back his old seat in the U.S. House, though his "hiking" adventures didn't help him.

Some southerners have drawls but the ones I met were pretty easy to understand. My ad director, Nick, is another story. He is British and it takes a little time to understand his accent. He, surprisingly, says I am the one with the accent.

He gave a presentation at the meeting and then took questions, whereupon one of the attendees said to me and Nick, "I have a question. How the heck do you two understand each other?"

Which reminded me of George Bernard Shaw's line that Americans and British are two peoples separated by a common language.

A member of our extended family is a Type 1 diabetic. A friend's granddaughter is, too. The friend raves about the specially trained Golden Retriever that senses the girl's blood sugar levels and lets her and her parents know if they are out of kilter.

I told one of my kids that our relative should get a "diabetic dog."

She looked at me as if I had two heads.

"He doesn't have enough to worry about already?" she asked. "He should have to take care of a dog that is also a diabetic?''

I now know to refer to such animals as "diabetes dogs."

Meanwhile, I wish the lady of the house would be clearer about other family critters.

She told me the other day that we would be watching the former rugrat's pooch while he and his bride were out of town for a few days.

She said I didn't have to help but I could "walk the dog" if I wished.

This is the kind of "wish" I have learned to make my command.

I just wish she had been a bit clearer in her request.

This is not a dog to be "walked." Walking this thing, allegedly a Basset Hound, was the equivalent of attaching a leash to a heavy bag of sand and pulling it around the block. Actually, the sand might have been more mobile.

Worse, the creature took a liking to me and made it clear it wished to sleep on my bed. Ever try to lift a 60-pound bag of sand, with tiny feet and big ears, up onto a high bed? Let me be clear: Don't try it.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or via Twitter at @deucecrew.

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