Facts - But Only As We See Them

I usually try and avoid religious or political arguments.  It isn't that I don't have my own opinions; it's just that I don't like arguing.  I particularly don't like arguing with friends.

I have known Walt and Mary for about thirty years, almost as long as my wife and I have been married. The two of them are several years older than us and they pretty much took my wife and I under their wings.  They are in their late sixties and are a bit set in their ways.  Not that age has anything to do with it.  They had some pretty fixed opinions when we first met during the 1970's. 
I remember early conversations about hippies, draft dodgers, and the red menace.  I remember when I enlisted in the Army Reserve; they were pretty critical about my doing so.  Mary, like many during the seventies,  seemed to think that everyone in the Reserve and Guard was a draft dodger.  I explained to her that I had already done my active duty service in the Air Force.  This immediately transformed me, in her eyes, from draft dodger to patriot.  Personally I didn't feel as if I were either.
I didn't mention to her that I enlisted in the Reserve primarily because it was the only part time job that I could have that my employer wouldn't call a conflict of interest.   Not that I wasn't a patriot, but patriotism was not, for the moment, my primary motivation.

They were (and are) good friends to us, but sometimes we have to be careful about our topics of conversation, particularly in dealing with religion and politics. 
My wife and I are Presbyterians (with Methodist leanings) and Walt and Mary are Roman Catholics.  We are Democrats, and our friends are Republicans.
We don't drink, we don't smoke.  Mary and Walt are living chimneys and it is rare after five, not to see them without an open beer in front of them.  Not that they are drunks, mind you, but they do like to sip their beer in the evening.

Claudia had baked some cinnamon rolls, and she thought that it would be nice to share them with our friends.   Mary greeted us and we entered into their home.  The warm smells of the rolls yeast and cinnamon somewhat masked her houses residual smell of tobacco and stale beer.   Mary removed some dirty dishes from her table and got us some plates from the cupboard, apologizing all the time for not cleaning up before hand.  Claudia volunteered to help her and they both disappeared into the kitchen.

Walt was in the living room sucking on a Marlboro, beer in hand, watching the Discovery channel on his huge projection TV. 

"What are you watching? Asks I.

"A program about stem cells, cloning and genetic engineering" replies my friend.

"Cool" says I, "I could use a clone or two of myself."

Walt looks very serious. "You don't want anything of the sort.  It ain't noth'n to joke about."


Walt continues: "The government and a bunch of multi national companies have been working on duplicating all of us.  It's all a big conspiracy. They are planning to genetically engineer the whole human race."

Continued--Next Page