Some years back, I had lunch with a now-deceased friend who was a former state senator. When I asked if he missed interacting with the public, he said, “Oh, I still get invited to speak at high schools and colleges, and when I tell students I’m no longer in office, they ask if I miss being in Washington. I tell them I never served in Washington, my office was in the state capitol. Many of them don’t know the difference between a state senator and a United States Senator.”

More recently upon hearing the news that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was running for president, a twenty-something friend reacted by saying, “That makes sense, his dad was president.” I replied, “Well, actually his dad was a U.S. Senator.” My friend said, “Wait, I thought his dad was the President Kennedy who was an actor.” I replied, “No, Ronald Reagan was the president who had been an actor.” After a pause, my friend said, “Now I’m really confused.”

(David Carroll is a Chattanooga news anchor, and his new book “Hello Chattanooga” is available on his website, You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at

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