As some of our more intrepid readers may recall, last week I posted three truths about me and one bald-faced lie, and then asked you all to guess which was the nose-growing statement in the garden of my prose. What? I can mix metaphors that don’t even exist if I like. But remember, I’m a professional blogger. Do not try this at home.
Six of you waded in and gave it a go… and somebody did get it right.
To find out the sordid truth about the three truths and the yet more sordid truth behind the one lie, join me after the cut.
1: I once ate pate made by Raymond Burr. This is TRUE.
Once upon a time, I lived in Santa Rosa, CA, where a lot of rather famous people seemed to like to move to for their golden years. Alas, I never met Harry Morgan, but I did meet Raymond Burr once. That, however, was not when I ate his pate. That happened a year or so later at the most unlikely of places for the most unlikely of reasons.
Back then, one of my brothers hosted a weekly role playing game session, and I was one of the group. As it happened, the girlfriend of one guy in the group worked for Raymond Burr doing housekeeping. Now Mr. Burr in addition to being a whopping great actor and a renowned art collector, was also a bit of a gourmet chef in his off hours. One day he made some pate, decided he had more than he needed, and sent an extra one home with said housekeeper. She did not like pate, not being a fan of offal meats. Not knowing what the hell else to do with it, she handed it to her boyfriend and told him to take it to the game.
I’ve got to say that pate is something I can usually take or leave equally comfortably, but this… this was very good, indeed. There was nothing left but a couple crumbs by the end of the evening, and we had also been victorious in battle in our minds. All in all, not a bad way to waste a night. And the snacks were much better than our usual Doritos and Snickers fare.
2: I have appeared on television three times. This is TRUE.
Yes, in spite of Hester’s certainty that I have spent a lot more time on camera than that, I have appeared on television precisely three times.
The first time was at the tender age of seven. My second grade class was doing some big art project, the details of which I have long ago completely forgotten. But for whatever reason, it was deemed important enough that a news crew came and filmed us. I vividly remember coloring away with a blue crayon while a news camera focused on me, and my teacher talking earnestly to a reporter, but that’s about the sum of my memory on that. And yes, I did specifically appear. My parents were watching when I flitted by in about a second and a half.
The second time was when I was about twenty-five. I was part of a new community theater and the director and I got tapped to appear on a local chat show. The director talked about the play we were doing with the hostess, and then she and I did a scene from said play. Literally the day after filming, the play was cancelled. Also, I never got to see the segment for some reason or other… but several people told me I was great.
The third and thus far last time I have appeared on television was the day Madonna’s infamous book Sex hit the bookstores. I worked in a bookstore at the time. I think the crew chose me because I wasn’t actively busy with a customer in that moment. Unfortunately, the book had not yet arrived so I couldn’t comment on the specifics of the book at all. If it had arrived, I know that I would have told them the single most obscene aspect of the entire book was the craptastic binding. The whole time we had it in stock we had a demo copy out and the rest in their boxes to keep them neat and clean and all in one piece. I spent at least an hour a day putting the pages back in when they fell out of the open metal spine.
And that is the unvarnished truth about my television career.
Interestingly enough, not once have I seen myself on broadcast television, despite all that air time. I have, however, seen myself on videotape and on film.
3: My parents saw Star Wars before I did. This is the LIE.
I was fourteen the summer Star Wars came out. In point of fact, my mother and I went to see it together a while after the buzz started. We enjoyed the hell out of it and each went back a couple times. My father did not go see it for months afterwards.
In fact, the only reason my father went to see it was that he traveled a lot in his work and sometimes entertained himself on the road by going to the movies. Someone told him Alec Guinness was in this one, and he loved Guinness, so he went.
When he came home, he asked me one day if I’d seen it and what I thought. I told him I really enjoyed it. He looked perplexed and said: ‘but I couldn’t understand a single word that little robot said.’
Congratulations, Frances, for spotting this as the lie.
4: My great-great grandfather joined the Union army shortly after the attack on Fort Sumpter, but spent most of the Civil War in the hospital. This is TRUE.
My great-great grandfather believed in the Union and went off to defend it. But days into training was struck with disease. I’m not certain what all he had or in what order, but he spent the rest of the war in the hospital, outliving most of his fellow patients, but suffering a long list of ailments, any one of which might have killed him before he fathered my great grandmother.
He and a few of the other more ambulatory patients were actually detailed in the last couple weeks of the war to guard some railroad station that was under not-terribly-great threat of attack. And that was the sum total of the field action he saw.
As horrific as the dangers of the battlefield were, though, the dangers of hospitals at the time were actually slightly worse. No, you weren’t going to be blown up, but nobody knew much about germs and the spread of infection back then. It was a grim place to be and took a hardy man to survive it.
And that is the truth about me.