Friday, January 22, 2016


I have misled my readership. 

Inadvertently, mind you, and with no malice aforethought.   But misled is misled, and I am inexcusably regretful, if not embarrassed, inconsolable and ashamed.  Come to think of it, I am probably all four of those things.  I am a veritable “Basket Case.”  I may be overdramatizing here but only to make this more interesting.

All I can do now is to expiate – I believe that’s the right word and if it isn’t I am leaving it in anyway because I like it – expiate my conscience and come apologetically clean.  And to promise that I will do better in the future.  Although there is a statistical likelihood that I won’t. 

Why?  Because I am congenitally gullible.

Meaning this could easily happen again.

Here’s what I’m talking about.    

A while back, I related what, to me, was this wonderful anecdote implying that it was true – which is what made it so wonderful – only to recently discover… well, you can easily see where this is going.  

Consider this expiating acknowledgment akin to those “Corrections” notices that appear regularly in newspapers.  You know the kind I mean.  “The report asserting that Mayor Montmorency C. Habberdash was found guilty of corruption should have actually read ‘Mayor Montmorency C. Habberdash was found not guilty of corruption.’”

My revelation today is less damaging, but a mistake is a mistake, and you have to be a stand-up person about it or it will eat out your innards.  Call it being admirably honest.  Call it “Who wants to have their innards eaten out?”  My preference is the first one.

Okay, no more pussyfooting around.  Time to expose this abomination to the expiationizing light of day.  The heck with it.  I am going “all-in” with that word.

A number of years ago, I was staying at the “Tally-Ho Inn” just north of Huntsville, which is in Northern Ontario, nine miles from the summer camp I attended from 1954 to 1965, and then again in 1968, because I forgot I did not like it there.  Which is a lie.  I loved it there.  I was simply oblivious of that at the time.

Anyway, when we were paying our “Tally-Ho Inn” bill – “we” being my brother who with his delightful wife Nancy had invited me up north for a visit – the desk clerk told us this story which he had heard from someone else who assured him that it  “No shit, actually happened.”

The event in question took place at the Canoe Lake Store, located in nearby Algonquin Provincial Park, an expanse of lakes and natural beauty where I had weathered numerous canoe trips, always visiting the Canoe Lake Store for a welcome respite from consuming the panoply of powdered concoctions we generically called “Gumpert’s,” because that was the company that produced the “just add water” potato latkas and equally appetizing delectables. 

According to the anecdote, a woman stopped at the Canoe Lake Store to purchase an ice cream cone.  As she was paying for it, a man stepped up beside her whom she immediately recognized as actor Tom Selleck.   The shock of having a celebrity standing beside her triggered a mixture of excitement and brain-freezing confusion.

When she came out, the woman realized she did not have her ice cream cone.  Returning inside to inquire as to its whereabouts, an overhearing actor Tom Selleck replied,

“I believe it is in your pocketbook.”

That story killed me.  And I was delighted to pass it along.


On our recent vacation to Hawaii, I read a book entitled This Old Man, an enjoyable compilation penned by New Yorker magazine writer and fiction editor Roger Angell, who, going strong in his mid-nineties, still writes elegantly and enjoyably, sounding – as he opines about the best writing – exactly like himself.

Among his reminiscences covering numerous decades, Mr. Angell includes the above story – which I sincerely believed “No shit, really happened” – labeling it an “Urban Legend” in which, in his version, actor Tom Selleck is replaced by superstar Paul Newman.

So there you have it.  I related a “true story” about Tom Selleck discovering later that it was an “Urban Legend” about Paul Newman.

Let me tell you, I was genuinely stunned.  And, moments later, painfully chagrined.   

Not to mention guilty, bereft.  But most importantly, sad.

There is a hole where a wonderful story once lived.

Knowing it is woefully insufficient, I offer this humble “Correction” to fill the gap.


FFS said...

Correction number two. Huntsville is actually in Southern Ontario. I think.

FFS said...

On second thought, for Torontonians anywhere above Hwy 7 is Northern Ontario.

Chris said...

Just like in New York State, for people from NYC anything north of the Bronx is Upstate.

Euell said...

Roger Angell is the best writer about baseball I've ever read. That's a good story. The most common urban myth I've come across is that Cass Elliott choked to death on a ham sandwich. In fact I heard it twice this week (though 1 person said it was a chicken bone). Another that I frequently heard was that Euell Gibbons had a heart attack while eating trail mix, though I never believed it.

Euell said...

Forgot to ask earlier: are you involved with the salute to James Burrows?