This American Life That I Can't Seem To Remember Anything About
But here's the amazing thing: I didn't just draw a different conclusion than Dad did; it turns out I had just about every part of the story wrong. Not horribly wrong--the sense is still the same--but in every stray particular. Here's the rundown (SPOILER ALERT; read the original story first!):
1.) Dad wasn't buying a bike for me and my brother. Daniel already had a bike; this was just for me.
2.) I had always assumed the bike was terribly expensive. Dad said it was only about $25 to $50. (Which would still have made it the priciest gift I'd ever had, but still...)
3.) Daniel came with me, but he was on foot, so there was only one bike--mine--and Daniel was walking alongside. So it was slower going than I remembered.
4.) When we came home, there was nothing in the living room. Dad just said, "Your bike is in the back now."
5.) Most amusingly, Dad didn't put the bike in the back of the car; he simply told mom to drive, and he took the bike and rode it the mile and a half home. (Also, some guy tried to stop him, so I guess I'm lucky this story didn't end with Dad in jail.)
Dad also said, "You know, David, I think you've always exaggerated how poor we actually were." I have to say I still disagree--I remember tons of corn meal and rice, and at least one really depressing birthday where all my brother and I got was a blank cassette tape to play with--but it's given me pause. We actually had to re-record my version of the story again to eliminate the direct contradictions. Clearly I wasn't paying attention at the time, and had to reconstruct the whole thing after the fact, once the bike's theft had made an impression. It's nice to have the story cleared up, but it makes me wonder: how much of my family do I even know? How much have I been projecting all these years? I think I'm going to start fact-checking my own damn anecdotes, just to be safe.
On an unrelated note, if you want This American Life insider information, here's a fun tidbit: In the lounge area of their offices, they have their awards sort of clumped together on a corner of a crowded table-height shelf, which has the odd effect of putting their Peabody Award right next to their 2006 Corporate Basketball Champions trophy--and both are in front of a plaque that Julie Snyder won in high school: Best Humorous Interpretation in Speech and Debate. Sublime, meet Ridiculous. It was really fun to see.
Labels: Dave Update