Saturday, September 15, 2018


In advance of this trip, I planned to visit the Columbarum at Arlington National Cemerety, where the ashes of Clair George (and those of his wife, Mary) are interred.

But I decide it is not the right way to honor my old friend and mentor.

No, not a staid, somber burial grounds.

The right way to remember Clair is with a sense of humor.  And it so happens that the National Gallery of Art is staging a special exhibition called...

Not only did Clair possess a disarming sense of how to convey and perceive humor, he also understood the importance of humor as a tool for recruiting spies, and for getting on with life in general.  "With your sense of humor," he said to me, when we first spoke about working together, "You'll do fine whatever happens."

As it happened, once we began working together, we took assignments based on the potential of Laugh Quotient (high L.Q.):  If it Ain't funny we don't do it.

Humor served Clair well.  This guy, from the blue-collar coal and steel sector in western Pennsylvania, beat out all the Ivy Leaguers in CIA's fast-track to become Deputy Director of Operations.

"Contempt for Worldly Vanities"

(This wasn't part of the exhibition, but I quite liked it.)