Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Talking Points

Pascal, Bernie, Lauren, Ryan and I made some dinner and watched the candidates last night. In summary, the chicken was tasty and John McCain thinks I'm his friend, but I'm no friend of anyone that would put Sarah Palin in a position to sit at a desk in the Oval Office.

A few weeks back, when I was at the Wilco concert, I got into this conversation with a sports reporter. We were talking about towns in Upstate New York and he told me that he had recently been up to Watertown working on a story that had completely captured his attention.

Seems there was this young kid in his early teens who bowled in a league, but because of his work schedule or his religion or something, he had to bowl on off nights--sometimes he would be the only person in the bowling alley to record his score.

Well, word began to trickle out that this young man--bowling alone--had bowled the Holy Grail of Bowling, a perfect 300 game that's about as rare a thing in the bowling world as you're likely to see. The proof was on the wall, where he dutifully recorded his score every night for the rest of the league to see.

It became quite a cause for celebration.

And as the story emerged from Watertown and took its place on the National stage as such an accomplishment was bound to do, people began to want to see if the kid had serious bowling chops.

Now, the kid insisted he had done it fair and square. And the locals backed him up as you would one of your own--they were proud. ESPN got involved and flew the kid out to a tournament with bowling pros and television cameras and sports reporters and he took the lane and bowled like an amateur kid plucked from Watertown on to the world (bowling) stage might be expected to bowl. His game was less than spectacular and far from perfect and that might have been the end of it, except the kid insisted that, alone in his bowling alley back home, he had been perfect.

And people believed him.

In fact, there emerged some sympathy for his position; suddenly, there were a bunch of folks saying that if the kid said he did it, then he must have and who wouldn't have choked up with nervousness having to perform like he had to perform in front of everyone and their video cameras?

He went home, beaten but defiant and ESPN decided to send a professional bowler up to Watertown to spend a day bowling with him and see what he thought. That would settle things once and for all.

So, this guy went up to Watertown and spent a few hours bowling with the kid and then he sat down for an interview and was asked, "so, do you think that kid bowled a perfect game?" and he hemmed and hawed and said he didn't want to call anyone a liar but it didn't seem possible to him that the kid had bowled a perfect game--he just wasn't that skilled. The reporter pushed the professional bowler, "So, you think he couldn't have possibly done it?" and the professional bowler hemmed and hawed some more and said he doubted it but he couldn't say for sure because the kid was so insistent and he didn't want to call him a liar.


So, we're standing there at the Wilco concert and this reporter is telling me the story and I ask him, "So, do you think the kid bowled a perfect game?" and the reporter, who had pushed the professional bowler to answer the same question hemmed and hawed and said he didn't want to call the kid a liar, but . . . he didn't think he could have done it.

But, he said, "the kid had balls. I mean he had the whole world watching and he just stuck to his story. I mean, that's kind of impressive."

"So, how did you end the story?" I asked, "What was your take on the whole thing?" And the reporter said, "We did one of those endings where you talk about who knows what the truth is? We left it to the audience to decide."

And I said, "You should have ended it by saying that it's morning in George Bush's America where, if you can assert something and stick to your story despite all evidence to the contrary, you end up a winner."

And he considered it and nodded and we waited for the music to start.


Anonymous Bryan said...

I like the way your story ends far more than how the reporter's story ends.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Jonny said...

Good one.

9:08 AM  

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