It looks easy, this column-writing business. But the fact-check
process can be a bear, especially when it is your wife who is doing
the checking. After e-mailing my editor a supposed correction to an
alleged factual error in my Tierra del Fuego story (which you can
read on page 86), I can sympathize with those journalists who have
met their professional demise over purported ethical lapses.
Before this thing becomes a journalistic scandal of New York
Times-ian proportions, let me clear up the ostensible problem here
and now: Against some evidence to the contrary, I went ahead and
wrote that the first ice cream we sampled in Buenos Aires had
hazelnuts in it.
This is the troublesome passage:
On our first afternoon, Jessica orders a coffee-flavored dulce de
leche ice cream with hazelnuts dipped in chocolate
The Jessica in question is my wife. She maintains the ice cream in
question did not have hazelnuts.
"You can say it had hazelnuts," she told me. "But if they call me
to fact-check, I will tell them it didn't."
I don't think Jessica will mind my saying that she is normally a
stand-by-your-man kind of gal. But every gal has her limits, which,
for some, may include being called "gal." Jessica's limit is
divulging what she considers false ice cream preferences.
I love nuts in my ice cream. Jessica considers the pairing an
unnatural act. Although she likes nuts by themselves, she would
never knowingly order an ice cream with nuts in it.
And there is the rub. She did not knowingly order anything.
Here is what happened. We were walking down a street with our
15-year-old son, Sam, in the fashionable Recoleta neighborhood,
when our heads were turned by a young woman at an ice cream shop.
"Wow," I said.
"Yeah," Sam replied in that hushed tone of a teenage boy with lust
in his heart. "Wow."