No matter what my wife, relatives, and close and not-so-close friends might say, I have never been one to brag. I tell people that all the time, usually just before sharing with them one of my latest unbelievable, if not, heroic accomplishments. There is no doubt I am a humble person. Anyway, not being one to brag, several years back I received a phone call….
“Who was that?” Maxine asked as I hung up the phone.
“That,” I answered, “was a columnist from a newspaper over in Yakima. She would like to interview me for an article.”
“You heard me right, Miss Fancy Pants. What do you think of that? Huh? Huh?”
Maxine attempted to hide her excitement behind a labored groan. “Oh Lord. What could she possibly want to interview you about?
“It is going to be a story about my fishing and writing prowess. Something our public media obviously took note off, even if it is taken for granted in this household.”
She gave a tired sigh. “I’ll never hear the end of this one.”
On the day appointed, the young lady, Elizabeth, arrived at the door.
“Please call me Lizzy,” she said as we shook hands. “I was always the tomboy who went fishing and hunting instead of the girly things.”
“Please come in my office, Lizzy.”
“Oh sorry,” I said as my attention was drawn to my wife leaning against the entry way to the kitchen. “This is my wife, Maxine. Without her I couldn’t have accomplished half the things I’ve did.”
“Oh no,” Maxine replied with raised hands, “I refuse to share the blame…I mean credit for almost all of his…accomplishments.”
“How gracious of you to give your husband all the credit.” Lizzy smiled. “You must be proud of him.”
“He never ceases to amaze me,” she replied with a forced smile. “Now, I’ll leave you two alone.” She then added, “And please, Lizzy, remember to take whatever he says with a grain of–”
“Thank you, honey,” I interrupted as I quickly ushered Lizzy off to my office while shooting my wife an icy stare.
As Maxine disappeared in the kitchen, her smile melted into genuine amusement….
“So this is the room where you do your writing,” she said, scanning the shelves filled with my research books, which included my 30 year old set of Encyclopedias, missing a couple volumes, my Children’s Earth Science Books left over from when my children were at home, and several dog-eared National Geographics, not to mention countless how-to books on fishing.
“Yep,” I replied, leaning back in my chair. “This is where the inspiration just oozes out of me. Sometimes I even surprise myself at what comes out.”
I gave the wall a quick glance when I heard a distant moan come from the other side of the house. There is not a doubt in my mind that my wife’s ears have all the qualities of the most sophisticated eaves dropping devices ever invented by the CIA. I lowered my voice and continued. “I began writing how-to articles many years back, but my enjoyment for the humorous side of life was my first love. That was spawned from reading books and articles by Patrick McMannis, who is an absolute genius when it comes to outdoor humor. In fact the highlight of my life was having my very first humor article, How Not To Launch A Boat, published along side his article of How To Wire A Trailer. From then on all I wrote was outdoor humor.”
“Now I take it that your humor stories are based on your true life, right?” she asked. “I mean, you always write in the “first person.”
“Oh, you read some of my articles?” I asked
“Yes, several,” her tone seeming to want to stay on subject. “So your stories are true events?”
I glanced at the wall, and the unseen ears behind them. “Aahh, loosely.” Hearing no unseen voices, I continued. “I will admit I take true events of my past and, for entertainment’s sake, exaggerated them just a little–”
A distant groan…
A distant groan.
“Okay, a lot. Sheesh!”
Lizzy nervously glanced around. “So,” she finally said, “do you consider your published articles fictional?” Her eyes were becoming more cynical and probing.
Beads of sweat began popping up on my forehead like popcorn. “Well, no. I mean, the friends and cronies are real–”
“Yes?” she persisted, leaning forward.
“And…well, some of the things they said were true.”
“Like what?’ her eyes now dancing as if on the very cusp of breaking news.
“Well…well, we really did get caught by a game warden in my article Just Lookin’ For Frogs. And I really did own a dog named Worthless. Okay, he may not have been as bad as I wrote, but pretty darn close! I mean he did like to hump people’s legs.”
“I mean…” my words trailed off miserably.
She then eased back, laying down her pencil on its pad. “So you’re saying your stories lie somewhere in between fiction and truth.”
I nervously glanced up to her probing eyes. “Well…I guess.”
“Even though you attempt to pass them off as truth,” she persisted.
“Thank you,” she said with a smile as she rose to her feet. I think that’s all I’ll be needing.”
I gave her a bewildered look. “But what about…my fishing skill stories?”
“Do they truly reflect your real fishing skills?'” she asked.
“Well, some of them,” I replied as if I was about to be given a “time out.”
She then gave me a quick shake of the head. “Then delving into that subject won’t be necessary. I have more than enough to keep my readers entertained. Thank you so much for your time.”
After she left I returned to my office and sank into my recliner, knowing this was not going to end well.
Maxine leaned against my office door, cradling a cup of coffee, a smirk splattered across her face that spilled over with amusement. “Wow, that girl is quite a reporter. She certainly knows how to get to the real facts. But the bright side is she did say she thought your stories were funny.”
“She should have been a lawyer,” I grumbled. “And I thought I’d be sharing my humble life….”
“I know,” Maxine cooed, her words gushing over with patronization. “No one appreciates your humility, do they.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This interview did really take place, and, believe me, this time the story was pretty much accurate as I remember it at the time. I do remember thinking that after her short interview she had second thoughts about even writing a story about me. But it turned out she did, and it was a very nice article. It seems she had taken the time to research many of my past outdoor humor articles and enjoyed them. Her questions to me at the time were nothing more than to fill in the blanks she needed. I still have the article, though badly tattered and smeared….You know what? I don’t like to brag, but my next post will be a copy of her article.