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Lynn Hummel: The secretly recorded Pushkin tapes

The release of the Nixon tapes from 40 years ago, is a reminder for those of us who were around in 1974, and should be a lesson for those coming into awareness since that time, that taping conversations is a dangerous practice. When you fling out a boomerang, it may fly back and hit you in your careless mouth.

We learned the lesson again in our own home when our home-surveillance recording device was left on by mistake and recorded a conversation between Eartha and me after we returned from a little social get-together at the home of our not-very-close friends, Igor and Ivanna Pushkin. I’m embarrassed to disclose it here, but do so as a service to my thousands of readers who need to be reminded that their right to privacy can be squandered by a single thoughtless, forgetful act.

Here is the transcript with Eartha speaking first:

E: “Uggh! I thought we’d never get away from the Pushies — what a dreadful waste of time that was.”

L: “No fooling. That Igor can’t get enough macho to satisfy his lust for manhood. How many moose heads on a wall are too many already?”

E: “And Ivanna — did I ask for her entire dental and medical history? She opened wide and put her finger in her mouth to show her new crowns, then proceeded to give me all the details of last week’s colonoscopy.”

L: “Good thing she didn’t show you that.”

E: “Then her precious Czar, that big, shaggy Russian Wolfhound, (‘usually associated with nobility’ she bragged) comes bounding into the room, snags his paws on my white slacks and starts licking my hands. Then it crawls up on my lap and gets dog hair all over me. ‘He loves you’ Ivanna purrs. Why do dog lovers assume everybody is crazy about their hunting dogs and why did I wear white slacks?”

L: “Can you believe Igor poured each of us a pint of his “Igor’s Pride” homemade beer? It was awful! He must have substituted dandelions for malt and hops. Did you notice that four different people “accidentally” knocked their glasses over and spilled about three quarters of that dreadful beer? I was smarter — when I went to the bathroom I took my beer along with me and flushed it down the toilet.”

E: “I’m not sure you fooled everybody. I just took one sip and left the rest. Do you think Igor got the message?”

L: “I doubt it — that guy is clueless. How many pictures of his five year old Yuri, the star soccer player, did he pass around for us to see on his smart phone? Ten I’m sure. On one we could see him wiping his snot nose on his sleeve, on one he’s on the ground while everybody else is running and about a half dozen, the kid is running in the opposite direction of all the other players.”

E: “Yes, his smart phone. He asked me about our kids, then fiddled with his smart phone all the time I was talking. He says he has a Wall Street app that feeds him inside tips that have been ‘most profitable’ for him.”

L: “What did you think of the dress Ivanna was wearing — a bit revealing, no?”

E: “A bit revealing — are you kidding? I’d call it a push-upkin. It revealed half a heart tattoo over her left brisket just so you would ask about the tattoo and she could pull her dress down even further then smile and coo ‘this just shows my heart is in the right place.’ But I have a question for you — why in the world did you utter the words ‘global warming’?”

L: “Because I knew Pushkin and Perry Blunt would immediately get into a huge shouting match, the party would break up, and we could go home early. It worked didn’t it?”

E: “It certainly did. Thanks.”

The moral of the story is this: recorded conversations are time bombs — landmines just waiting to be stepped on. What is said in the White House and the home should stay in the White House and the home.

Correction: In an article two weeks ago about the horrors of war, I reported that 18,674 Americans had been killed in Afghanistan to date. Incorrect, my mistake. The correct number of fatalities is 2,196 (373 being non-hostile). The numbers I gave you was the number wounded at that time (even more now). A sharp-eyed reader caught my mistake.