onsdag, marts 21, 2007

False Fronts

Wow. I knew Woody Harrelson only for his hemp love, his Woody Boyd stint on Cheers, and a number of movies (most of which I didn't see). But I didn't know his pops had been such a suspicious character.

For instance, he claimed to have been involved in JFK's assassination--this after denying a role in a federal judge's murder (and for which he was imprisoned). At what stage in incarceration does one begin spinning a larger tale about one's life?

And is that any different really than the stories spun by the rest of us out of cheekiness, impishness, loneliness, compulsive lying, embarrassment, nervousness, the hope of advantage, the sheer joy of embellishment, or as is so often the case the unintended kneejerk response to which we must make all other stories match?

I recall a comedian saying, "Did you ever see the film with Meryl Streep and the horse?" And the comic says, "Yes," then thinks, "What the hell do I stand to gain from this lie?"

The Italian Non-Soccer Star

In an Italian restaurant in Florida, during a very good dinner, a 75-year-old host told us numerous tales of his former life in Italy. This included being the only member of a particular Italian soccer club (Torino) not to die in the infamous Superga plane crash that killed the squad (4 May 1949). But looking up that incident, the survivor's name is not his. So why does he tell it?

Maybe he was on the junior squad and would never have been on the plane anyway. Or maybe someone had told him he might be called up. There are many plausible scenarios. But if he had no chance to be on the plane, why so many years later would it become a truth to him that he narrowly escaped death?

Or was it a way for him to reconnect with an emotional event from which he's long-removed? Or was it just a yarn to make one's restaurant experience that much more memorable?

The truth is a country from which we all emigrate and, conversely, in which we become immigrants.
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