Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Should A Sucker Be Given An Even Break?


P.T Barnum once said “Never give a sucker an even break.”

(Here is a link to the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut.)

Is this a correct assertion of how a sucker should be treated?

Let’s consider the case of this blogger as the sucker at the Men’s Wearhouse.

I needed a tuxedo to attend the annual Black Tie Gala of the United Negro College Fund.

My wife said go get a basic tuxedo and whatever you do, don’t get a tuxedo with tails.

I went to the store.  I did not want to be there. I just wanted to get measured for the thing and go home.

I told the man at the store that I wanted the most basic generic tuxedo he had in stock.

He did not offer a suggestion. He did not say much at all. He just handed me a book of pictures of tuxedos.

I just wanted out of that place. I picked a tuxedo I thought was okay.

It cost $120. As it turned out, this was near the top of the range for tuxedos at the Men’s Wearhouse.

And it had tails.

Though I did see one other man at that dinner wearing tails.

My wife simply shook her head at me.   

The guy at the Men’s Wearhouse knew I rarely rent formal wear and I just wanted to be done with it all.  How hard is it to guess that a man in a clothing store wants to make the shopping as brief as possible?   

I’m pretty sure that if situation had been reversed I would have helped the customer out.

Let me be clear—This was my fault. I was not paying attention to what I was doing.

But I’d been up-front in stating what I wanted and this guy let me walk out of there with an order for a tuxedo with tails as if I was going to dinner with the Queen of England. 

Should a sucker be given an even break?

I think he or she should be given an even break.

While I have a measure of admiration for the successful huckster in a rough world, it is not good to take advantage of people even if they are making it easy for you to do so.

Life is already hard enough without always being on the lookout for an easy mark.  

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Uncategorized | , , , , | 9 Comments

United Negro College Fund Black Tie Gala In Houston Serves Ecologically Sound Fish To Guests


I’m just back from the United Negro College Fund Annual Black Tie Gala at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Downtown Houston.

My wife told me not to get a tuxedo with tails. But I messed up and did get such a tuxedo. I tried it on without even noticing it had tails. I did see one other man with tails at the dinner.

The fish served at dinner was Tilapia. Tilapia is listed as an good choice in a conservation sense on the Seafood Watch list prepared by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Please see a picture of Tilapia at the bottom of this post. 

Here is a link to the 39 member colleges of the UNCF.  

I don’t see any state schools on the list, so I guess member schools are private institutions. Scholarships are given to students who attend schools other than member schools.  

Here is a link to UNCF member school Paul Quinn College in Dallas

Here is a link to UNCF member school Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina.

The picture is of Theological Hall in 1900 at Fisk University in Nashville.

Here is some history of the UNCF lifted from their web site—

In 1943, Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, president of what is now Tuskegee University, urged his fellow black college presidents to raise money collectively through an “appeal to the national conscience.” The next year, on April 25, 1944, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and others incorporated the United Negro College Fund) with 27 member colleges. Early supporters of the UNCF included President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. That first effort raised $760,000, a sum that would be worth approximately $8.6 million today. Over the years, the idea and the mission of UNCF has attracted hundreds of thousands, who through their gifts and their goodwill have helped us to keep our students focused on achieving their college degrees. Numbered among our friends was Senator John F. Kennedy, who later became President of the United States. In 1959, he donated the proceeds from his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, to UNCF.

In 1972, Forest Long, an executive at Young and Rubicam, the renowned ad agency, created the UNCF tagline “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” He explained that it represented “plea to everybody to reject the prejudices of the past and consider the inner person.” The tagline has become one of the most recognized slogans in advertising history.

The entertainment at the dinner was Con Funk Shun. This band was lively and has had a successful career.

All people should consider a gift to the United Negro College Fund.

December 9, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Sea Life, Texas, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments