Tuesday, June 08, 2010
When last we met, I told you some lies. I also told you one true story. Your job at that time, if you chose to accept it, was to tell me which one of the stories was true. Guessing wrong, by choosing one of my fabulously fabricated fibs, would result in... nothing. There really wasn’t a penalty attached. I should have taken bets on it, though, because not too many of you guessed the correct answer.
Here, once again, are the choices I gave you, in condensed form:
1 – I have blondish body hair, but I once dyed it black.
2 – I shared a beer with Ronald Reagan back in 1983.
3 – My first girlfriend had no toes.
4 – I appeared on television playing a musical instrument called a flutaphone.
So, which one did you choose? The comments I received – that is, the answers you had guessed at the time of my writing this follow-up – broke down as follows:
Dyed my body hair - 25%
Had a beer with Reagan - 15%
Dated a girl with no toes - 20%
Played the flutaphone on TV - 40%
... and I thank you for giving me just the right amount of answers to make the percentages come out so roundly!
As might be expected, considering I gave you four choices to choose from and only one was correct, most of you didn’t guess right. Before I give you the answer, though, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every one of the four had some element of truth to it. That’s why I could write so convincingly about them.
(Both Saz and Teacher's Pet - who has an 'invite only' blog, otherwise I'd give her a link, as well - espoused the theory that I told the truth on all four, so they were close to the truth.)
For instance, the one about me dying my body hair black? I never did that. However, I have thought about doing it, many times. Considering the comments a couple of you left, it’s a good thing I never acted upon it. I had no idea that I would have ended up dying my skin, too. Not that I wouldn't have made an interesting looking person of color, but being one from approximately the nipples downward would have been even weirder than the stuff I made up.
Now, as for the flutaphone story, that one was ALMOST true.
(I know some of you may have had it in the back of your heads somewhere that I wrote about the flutaphone previously, so your subconscious may have prodded you to choose this as the true story. I did write about it before, although I can’t for the life of me remember when. If I could, I'd give a link.)
My flutaphone class from the Gilbert Stuart School was chosen to appear on a television show, and the name of the show actually was Youth On Parade. The only part of the story that wasn’t true is the part about me appearing on the show with them.
I was adamant about NOT going on TV, and could not be convinced to do so. My parents wanted me to do it, and my teacher wanted me to do it, but I told my parents, in no uncertain terms, that I did not want to do it and would not do it. I cried, I threw tantrums, I did everything in my power to convince them that I would not appear on TV playing the flutaphone.
Imagine that. I make much of my living these days by performing, and – as you might have gathered from reading me for a while - I’m now an insatiable egomaniac. Give me an opportunity to appear on TV these days and I’d be in front of the camera as quickly as a greyhound might pounce on a nice rabbit steak. I was incredibly shy in those days, though, and that was one of the reasons for not wanting to be on the show. Also, it was being taped on a Saturday, and I felt it was my right to refuse to have anything to do with school on a Saturday. That was my day, not the school’s day. I had important things to do - watching cartoons and reading comic books, for instance.
I’m happy to report that, whatever my reasons for not wanting to go on TV, my parents did not force me to do it. Had it involved grading, and maybe had some intrinsic value beyond letting my grandparents see me on TV making an ass of myself, perhaps they might have pushed harder. As it turned out, I had the best day of anyone in the class. When I met up with my friends that evening, they told me that it had been a hideous experience. The lights were hotter than Hell in July, they had to hang around the television studio for about three hours waiting to be taped, and it was all just amazingly boring. Then, when they finally did perform, they were completely out of synch and kept bumping into each other. They looked and sounded like idiots, and they were embarrassed by the whole thing. Meanwhile, I had a great day in the company of Bugs Bunny and Superman, and I also bowled a few strings and played in a pickup baseball game. It was one of the best decisions of my life (which, considering the small amount of pain and pleasure actually involved either way, is probably an indictment concerning the general quality of all of the decisions I've ever made, but I digress.)
That’s two down and two to go. The choices left are the girlfriend with no toes and Ronald Reagan.
I have had beers at the Eire Pub, and I’ve had them in the company of a presidential candidate, but I wasn’t there when The Gipper was. Nor was I there a few years later when Bill Clinton stopped in while pimping for votes. The guy I had a beer with was named Andre Marrou.
Yeah, I know; you’ve never heard of him. That's why he didn't win. D'Oh! It wasn’t for lack of his (and my) trying to let you know about him, though.
I was running for state representative that year (a seven-part story, if you have nothing to do for the next couple of days) and Andre was the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party (which was, and still may be, the third-largest political party in the United States, which stature counts for about as much as holding the third-best hand in a poker game.) Anyway, I had a brainstorm.
(Hold your laughter until all idiocies have had a chance to be revealed, please. Thank you.)
Andre was coming to Boston and I was looking for a hook to get us some sort of press coverage – any coverage whatsoever, since then, as now, the media utterly ignores third-party candidates (unless the candidate is a millionaire, or an actor, or an ex-professional-wrestler, or is otherwise already well-known in some way, in which case they do everything in their power to make the candidate who needs no publicity even more famous than he or she already is.) Whether the candidate has something interesting to say, or might have some ideas that are fresh, matters not. All that matters to the media is that the candidate be popular before they report on him. If your candidate is not famous, you have to come up with something totally bizarre to attract them, and more often than not it ends up being a self-destructive stunt because then the scribes report that the candidate is a nut. Of course, if he didn't have to be a nut in the first place to attract your attention... ARRGGHH!
Anyway, Andre Marrou would be hitting Boston for some talk radio appearances and whatnot. Now, I thought it might be a clever hook to have him stop by the Eire Pub, the same place Reagan had a beer, and where Bill Clinton had whored himself. I worked up a press release and sent it to all of the media outlets I could think of - tv, radio, newspapers, telegraph, ham radio... I covered it all. I cleared it with the bar owner before it happened, telling him that it might be a crowded night at his place. His exact words, as I remember, were, "Who? Yeah, knock yourself out. I don't give a shit."
I thought it was a cute idea: We can do the same silly stuff the big boys do, etc.
At the least, I thought we might get a photo op that the major papers could use for filler. They could give it a caption like "Big Losers Stop At The Eire!" for all I cared. ANY publicity would be welcome, since they ignored us otherwise.
Turns out that the Boston Herald did think it was a cute idea, so they sent a photographer. The photo below was one of those their photographer shot. However, they never did run any of the shots taken.
Andre (who is the bearded one in the dark sports jacket in the middle of the photo) sat at the bar and answered as many rude questions as he could stand, while hurriedly grabbing a few bites of a pastrami sandwich. Such is the life of a third-party presidential candidate. You'll notice the lack of secret service agents in the photo. I'm the one standing next to Andre, in shirtsleeves and tie, with my hands in my pockets, since I have no brains when it comes to photo ops. Between Andre and me is a fellow who was at the bar when we arrived, and probably had been there since that morning from the look of him. We talked him into coming outside and posing with us so that it would look like a bigger group.
So, back to what's important, I had no beer with Reagan.
The absolutely, positively, no embellishment or varnishing whatsoever, TRUE story? My first girlfriend had no toes. It's true. She really didn't. And she was on her track team, and, yes, her real honest-to-goodness name was Eileen. Either her parents had a vicious sense of humor or were totally clueless as to the irony. Anyway, she was a very nice person, fun to be around, didn't in any way care that she had no toes, and wasn't truly handicapped in any way that I could see by her lack of lower digits. Her balance was great, and unless she took off her shoes nobody had any idea. I wish I had a funny story to go along with this, but I don't. She just had no toes. Last I heard - some 20+ years ago - she was living in Florida, happily married, a couple of lovely children who were born with complete feet, and that's about it. In all respects other than her lack of toes, she is probably much more normal than I am, and I hope that if this somehow gets back to her, she knows how much I enjoyed our short time together and how much I really do admire her.
So, that's that. If you want the award, I see no reason for you not to have it (so long as you complete the meme attached to it, and I hope you do because I'd love to have the opportunity to find out if I could detect your bullshit as well as 20% of you did mine.) Meanwhile, I'm going to the Celtics vs. Lakers NBA Championship game tonight. That was a true statement, so if any of you had thought outside of the box and chosen that one, you would have been correct, too.
Soon, with more better stuff.