Please Tell Me You Were Misquoted, Part II

Not long ago, I speculated that the only way to explain some of the rather unusual quotes from people in the news was that they must have been misquoted because their statements seemed so odd or just plain crazy.

But that was before Arnold Schwarzenegger was trying to sell a book.

I almost fell off my chair when I heard television reports that the former bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-California-governor was complaining he was “ambushed” during a couples counseling session with wife Maria Shriver in which he was asked if he fathered a child with their housekeeper.

Seriously? How does being asked a straightforward question compare to being “ambushed” by the realization that your husband of 25 years had an affair with your longtime housekeeper that produced a son 14 years ago?

My lack of sympathy for the guy was probably obvious when I started yelling at the TV. And speaking of sorry, this guy has been making the rounds of media outlets to declare how sorry he is for hurting his wife and children – but isn’t he hurting them all over again by publicly humiliating them with all these revelations he hopes will sell the book that permanently humiliates them in black and white print?

That’s a strange sort of sorry, in my opinion and I’ve seen too many news clips of this “apology” to delude myself into thinking he was misquoted. However, I’d like to think his excuse could be the same one used by the wacky candidate for sheriff who defended his own peculiar – and quickly condemned – comments by saying he “didn’t understand the meaning of the question asked.”

Perhaps that’s what happened to Mr. Schwarzenegger – he didn’t understand the meaning of the interview questions, or comprehend the definitions of words like “ambush” and “sorry.” Maybe he should have read the dictionary before taking his book on the celebrity news circuit.

Meanwhile, there are occasions where you think someone must have been misquoted but you’re delighted to learn they were not. Consider a recent story in my local newspaper about the woman describing herself as an exotic dancer who complained to police that a resident ordered a dance but wouldn’t answer the door when she arrived. That was theft, she said, but Police Captain Mike Schwartz disagreed.

"She never danced, so I would be hard-pressed to say it was theft of services," Schwartz told the newspaper. "Now if she was a professional doorbell ringer. ..."

Captain Schwartz then went on to speculate what might have happened during this incident.

"I guess there are some people who would have a better dance than others," he told the newspaper reporter. "Maybe you were expecting Mikhail Baryshnikov and you got someone looking like Mike Schwartz. I wouldn't answer the door, either."

My first reaction was to laugh so hard that it brought tears to my eyes. Next, I sent my friend Captain Schwartz an email that said, “Please tell me you were misquoted.” Nope, he replied, and in fact, this article just might represent the first time all his quotes were reported verbatim. Well, there you go: Sometimes truth is all the explanation you need.

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