I made all of it up, honest

July 16, 1998|By David Grimes

IT'S A BAD time for journalists, some of whom have recently been fired for making up quotes or inventing sources.

A Boston Globe columnist who was fired for making stuff up wrote a final column explaining her actions and apologizing to her readers, more or less.

It is just a matter of time before management discovers that my column has been an unbroken string of lies, fabrications and blatant exaggerations since its debut in 1984 (Or was it 1983? Ah, who cares). I figure I may as well write my apology now in case my heave-ho is too sudden to allow for explanations.

For starters, I would like to apologize for an April 24, 1984, column in which I suggested that rubbing Spam all over yourself makes a terrific shark repellent. There is absolutely no scientific basis for that statement.

Next, I would like to grovel in as obsequious a manner as possible for a Nov. 20, 1986, column in which I suggested that you cook your Thanksgiving turkey with the plastic wrapper still on as that not only gives the turkey that traditional dragged-through-the-refinery petrochemical aroma, but also dramatically increases the chances that your oven will catch fire and/or your smoke alarm will go off.

Easter bunny tale

I also wish to distance myself as far as possible from a March 15, 1988, column, in which I compared the Easter bunny to Godzilla, only with poorer personal hygiene. Contrary to what was printed in the paper, I have never, personally, seen a 20-foot-tall Easter bunny lumbering through my, or any other, neighborhood late at night. I have no supporting evidence that the Easter bunny's eyes are bloodshot and big as dinner plates, nor can I honestly claim that its "cavernous jaws and cruel yellow fangs" make the lawyer-gulping dinosaur in "Jurassic Park" look about as lethal as a baby duck.

I sincerely regret any misunderstanding or lifelong psychotic episodes this may have caused.

It is also quite possible that I was asleep or not even in the building at the time when I wrote a Nov. 4, 1990, column suggesting that Snooty the manatee would be a better choice for vice president than Dan Quayle. Although Snooty may be a better speller than Mr. Quayle, he does not play golf very well, if at all.

I would also (almost) be willing to crawl on my hands and knees and lick the bacteria-infested shoes of any New Yorkers who took umbrage with my Aug. 10, 1992, characterization of their native cockroaches as "weenies" compared with Florida cockroaches. Independent testing -- which I conveniently chose to disregard -- has proven time and again that New York cockroaches are every bit as big and feisty as Florida cockroaches, even though Florida cockroaches -- the ones that live in Sarasota, at least -- have better manners and are more stylish dressers than their northern counterparts.

David Grimes is a columnist for the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune.

Pub Date: 7/16/98

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