This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 18, 2010 - Asked to cite one quality that a person needed to develop to become an effective writer, Ernest Hemingway replied, "a built-in, shock-proof, bullshit detector."
I learned about bullshit from my father. He was an intelligent and kind man with a keen sense of humor. He'd enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor. At the time, he was all of 17. He spent the next four years touring the South Pacific with the First Marine Division. By the time he was honorably discharged at war's end, he'd turned 21 and was finally old enough to buy a bottle of beer legally.