Friday, June 4, 2010

True Lies - The Answers

Ok everyone, put down your pencils and pass your answer sheets to the front.

1. My first job out of college was as a “Repo Man” - I repossessed cars from people who were behind on their payments.
TRUE – I worked for a major Northwest bank in various management positions for twelve years, however, my entry-level position during my first two years, was that of Outside Collector which required me to bring delinquent auto loans current or repossess the collateral. As far as I know, I still hold the record for stealing the most cars (5) in a single night. To this day it remains the most fun I ever had at a job.

3. I asked my current wife to marry me after we had known each other only ten days. TRUE – My wife had been divorced for ten years and I for two years when we met. I proposed to her while she was driving her Volkswagen Bug with her two kids sleeping in the back seat. The second the words literally fell out of my mouth I thought “You Dumb Ass… You can kiss this one good-bye!!!”. But instead, it took her less than three seconds to accept.

This September, we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

4. I am so frightened of the dentist that I skipped out in the middle of taking a dental school entrance exam. TRUE – An over-bearing mother charted what she had determined was the acceptable career path for her son; which was either as doctor or a dentist. I was just a year out (sort-a) on my own in junior college experiencing my first taste of freedom.

In the midst of taking that exam, I realized two things: 1. My mother had planned out my entire life including who she was expecting me to marry, and 2. I would NEVER be capable of doing something to another person that I was terrified of being done to me. It was INSANE to think that I could be a dentist. During the lunch recess in the middle of the exam, I got into my car and drove away.

5. I am terrified of heights.
TRUE – I am very uncomfortable being up in tall buildings and am even nervous driving over high bridges. I worked in the 10th story of a downtown Portland building and was perfectly happy to have my desk situated in the middle of the room away from the windows.

However, my fear of heights did not stop me from taking up skydiving in my mid 40’s. I had my own parachute and jumped every weekend for over two years before deciding that I had proven to myself that I would not allow FEAR to prevent my pursuing opportunity.

(And just in case you were wondering… I do visit my dentist regularly every six months.)

6. I have never smoked “Marijuana”. TRUE – As an infant my family lived a couple of blocks from San Francisco’s Height-Ashbury district; I attended high school and college during the Golden Age of the Hippie Movement and I had lots of buddies who did drugs. Though, as unusual as it may be for someone growing up during Sex-Drugs-and-Rock & Roll generation, I still never could rationalize to myself the idea of putting anything into my body that was marketed by outlaws. Still don’t.

7. I once threw a dart, missing the bulls-eye, which instead stuck into my cousin’s skull. TRUE – Under the category of stupid kid tricks, my two cousins and I were playing “William Tell” and we stood my younger cousin up against the wall directly under the dart board. The first dart I threw fell short, sticking firmly into the top of the younger cousin’s head. He pulled it out and threw it back at us. However, we bribed him with candy to not tell our parents. The bribe took and we got the point.

2. I contracted Polio in the 1950’s and spent some time in the dreaded Iron Lung
LIE – One of my greatest fears growing up as a little kid was seeing pictures of people confined to an Iron Lung. I worried about it obsessively, wondering how they went to the bathroom or scratched their nose if it itched. Though I never knew of anyone personally who had been confined to an Iron Lung, I was still terrified that somehow I would end up in one.

But I lived during a very fortunate era; As a result of a national effort to completely eradicate Polio in our lifetime, our whole town turned out to be administered the Salk vaccine, (some pink stuff squirted onto a sugar cube – imagine that, no needles!).

Nobody correctly determined which statement was the lie, so I am instead awarding consolation prizes -
My strategy in conjuring up these contest questions was that I figured six of the questions could appear to contain some atypical or unusual criteria making them remarkable to some degree – whereas contracting polio in the 1950’s (my assumption) would have been entirely possible, therefore "unremarkable", thereby judged a lie.

However, the Distinguished Panel of Contest Judges (my Wife) has determined that my rationale was significantly flawed in that, unless one knew me or I had previously blogged about the subject, the only real way anyone would correctly select the false statement would be by random guess. To emphasize her point, she challenged me to identify anyone I had actually known who had ever had polio as a child, least of all confined to an iron lung. I couldn't.

Therefore, She (I mean, the judges) has decided that my contest was bogus and has ruled that I should at least award prizes to some of you who participated in the exercise.

So, I will send DVD's to the first 10 contestants who e-mail me with their preferred postal mailing address to by the end of the weekend. I will put them in the mail next week. I ship First Class mail and International First Class.

Thanks to everyone who participated, you were all great sports. Have a great weekend ~ I'm planning more mayhem for next week.


Gorilla Bananas said...

You were very clever in crafting the lie you gave us. It would have been manners for anyone to suggest you had lied about a serious illness. I'll have to remember that trick.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. I passed over that one as too sad to have included as a lie........hmmm. But I am glad that it was a lie. As to the other items, I have not tried pot either, and most of the young (really young) people I work with are shocked and somewhat fascinated by my assertion given my age-they would have chosen that one as the lie.

secret agent woman said...

There you see - you revealed the answers and I didn't even have to guess.

I know two people who had polio as a child. I have no idea whether they ever had to use an iron lung. One was older than me so born in the early '50's and the other my age but grew up in another country where the polio vaccine must not have been widely in use.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Bananas and BackRow Well my wife quite agreed that the statement I chose as the lie was putting the contestant in the position of being "insensitive" to make such a guess. Indeed, I should have employed her opinion in creating the contest questions.

SecretAgent Quite so, kind of like hanging about where someone is whacking a pinata... everyone gets the candy when it pops open.

Robert the Skeptic said...

E-mailing a postal mailing address As promised, the first 10 people who e-mail a postal address will get a DVD. (And No, your information is quite safe, I don't market your addresses to the Nigerian scammer spammers.)

I'm Jane said...

How did you ever survive life in San Francisco with a fear of tall bridges?!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Jane We had relatives (actually the cousin who took the dart in the head) up in Novato there in Marin Co. So I always drove on the CENTER LANE on the GG bridge, same thing on Oakland Bay. I had a buddy in Hayward as well but the San Mateo-Hayward, as you know, is right over the water, for most of it.

Now the Markham on I-5 up here in PDX, it has just those short concrete divider barrier thingies on the sides... creeps me out!! Low and behold, one day some guy actually drove his pickup over that barrier and dropped into the Willamette.

Penny said...

Oh well, it's good that you didn't have polio. I didn't pick that one as I had an older cousin who had polio (before vaccines were available here) and who grew up with a stunted leg as a result. So that one was a possible.
As for the marijuana: I've never smoked it either (but have been briefly exposed to other people's smoke), so that one I could accept as well. The others were all just guesses.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Penny Indeed, I could have come up with any number of better "lies" than that choice. Oh well, it must indicate that I am not very good at concocting lies.... or contests, for that matter.

The Mother said...

Okay, you got me. I thought the iron lung thing was just so outrageous it might be true--even though as a doc I did know that very, very, very few iron lungers ever got out of them.

Mailing my address asap.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Dr. Mom The creepiest thing in those Iron Lung photos is the patient is always happily smiling away like they are in some kind of Disneyland ride. I guess they're just ecstatic they are even alive.

kara said...

would my participation have been considered cheating?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kara Yep... just like using the numbers on the back of fortune cookie fortunes. FRAUD - big time!