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people interviewed: delving into their backgrounds, the degree of truthfulness with which they answer the questions on an application, and by interviews with friends and associates.” Such statistics seem to be of questionable validity, compiled as they are by a company with a vested interest in the results. “One -has to be suspicious of them,” said Michael Sharlot, U. T. professor of law, speaking of the polygraph tests. “I would question their claims to accuracy.” Workers, the group of people most affected by the lie detector tests, did not show similar suspicion or concern. “I’m neutral about them myself,” said a young pharmacist who had been tested. “I didn’t mind taking it.” “It only takes about a minute and. a half . . . there’s nothing to it,” said a store manager, who, even at. his supervisory level, must take the periodic lie detector test every year. If workers do not always show concern, a sympathetic party does. “They’re terrible, ridiculous,” said John Rogers, political and legislative director of the Texas AFL-CIO. “But, unfortunately, they are no worse a condition of employment than many workers have to endure.” Suppose one felt well-qualified for a job but refused to take the polygraph on principle would he have any ground to stand on, any legal remedy? Probably not, because as Professor Sharlot observed, “Nowhere is it written that a person has a right to a job, a right to work.” And as for the question of constitutionality, or invasion of privacy, which might seem to be relevant, Sharlot said, “The Constitution most often affects what the government may or may not do to us, not what we do to each other. It is important to note, however, that polygraph results are by precedent generally inadmissible in court.” And then there is the silent input o ‘ f people who, like the Houston pharmacist, voice their objections or fear of the test by simply never showing up to take it. Is it a vague, indefinable fear, or a feeling that one’s privacy is being violated? “We fear it, I think, for two reason,” said Sharlot. “We fear its ability to get inside our heads .. . we know we can usually prevent human beings from doing this. Then there is the hostility,” he said, “toward Frankenstein; that is, fear of the men in white coats, of technology and science. To us, the polygraph is a Frankensteinian monster.” 18 The Texas Observer Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 459-6577 New York City If anyone cares, this is pretty much what it’s like to move from Austin to, New York in 1974. Not an achievement on any grand scale, mind you, but still a little more unsettling than your usual midnight run to the 7-11. The garage sale is the worst. Half a dozen years in Texas and particularly in Austin yield closetfuls of valuable cultural objects that you know will be duplicated in the livingrooms of the other three or four hundred Texans who have taken over all the key jobs in New York. Therefore, it’s essential to sell the longhorn towel rack and the Texas Pride posters and the Goodwill furniture. Accordingly, the garage sale begins at 10 a.m. the Saturday before you board the Braniff special that enables you to bypass Dallas and go directly to the Apple. At 7:30 you awaken to the sounds of a mild hubbub outside. It is the early garage sale crowd. They want first rejection rights on your junk. These are your serious, professional garage sale junkies. As you look for the underwear you’re certain you dropped beside the bed, these junkies are walking through the front door and trying to buy your perking coffee pot. People in New York would never do that: half of them would steal it and the other half would ask whether it came from Bloomingdale’s or Korvette’s before offering you 50 cents for it. Twenty minutes after the first garage junkies arrive, it is all over. They have bought every last Salinas plate, every last smooth, flat, slick river rock you picked up in walks along the Pedernales, every last hand-thrown pot. You are left with the certainty of dozens of bouncing checks and the dilemma of disposing of the rest of the beer you bought for what you thought would be a day-long, leisurely and neighborly affair. That gets you ready for New York. The only ways in which New York is different from Austin: everyone you meet and hug you or stick a knife in your back or both; you can get a taxi anytime you want and even when you don’t want one; everything you buy is on sale \(they swear you meet is very important and extremely busy; name-dropping is acceptable, even encouraged; everyone is creative \(“Direct Flippo is now New York City bureau chief for Rolling Stone. sales is what I do, it’s not where I’m it is no longer hip to be hip; the natives \(excepting beer truck drivers and doormen, defensive about everything and will gladly spend an hour of your time intellectualizing \(a local term for they do and live where they do; it’s much harder to get your laundry home here; you see more imitation mink here; public freak-outs are more fashionable \(“healthy” drink worms out of your faucet unless you want to be held up to the tune of 79c per half gallon of bottled water. Not too bad, overall. I mean, the cultural opportunities are enormous. The very first night I was here, I was privileged to sit in a restaurant and watch John Lennon not say a word and the next day a press agent sat alongside me at the Russian Tea Room and we were both speechless at the spectacle of Roman Polanski drinking alone at noon. Valuable stuff. An editor of a publishing house told me that “usual books” just don’t sell anymore and I would be better off going to Oakland to ghost-write for a casino dealer or going to Cleveland to ghost-write for a famous bowler. I would never have known any of that had I stuck at home in Austin. Nossir, vast vistas are opened daily. Daily, I get to walk to work past .the striking Macmillan workers who were fired and past apple sellers so far, they’re only blue-collar workers laid off; the white-collars are doing OK and there’s been only one Wall Street jumper so far so a couple of months here certainly eclipses those years of what they called graduate study at UT. Hookers smile more than most women, cruising male homosexuals try to come across as muggers, and, otherwise, New Yorkers are friendlier than the downtown pedestrians in Dallas, Houston, Austin, or anywhere else. Something must be wrong, knock on wood. Police are friendly and respond to a call within minutes. This may not be New York; perhaps I inadvertently took a plane to Kennebunkport. Imagine the pleasure of having a perfect cheeseburger delivered to your door ten minutes after you order it. Or of buying new hard-bound books for a buck and a half. Surely this must not be Manhattan. The only way I can keep my perspective is to occasionally associate with journalistic competitors; there, the rancor and jealousy and gossip reassures me that America continues, that I need not worry about significant change in our national structure. Everything will continue. Bye-bye, Austin By Chet Flippo