Nine Facts, One Falsehood

1. I am tenth in direct line of descent from the first English settler of South Carolina.

2. I have been in the World’s Largest Truck Stop, in Walcott, Iowa.

3. I have broken 100 on a regulation golf course, once.

4. I have a lazy right eye and atrophy of two fingers on my left hand.

5. I used to go sailing with Oliver North.

6. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover yelled at me during commissioning ceremonies for the submarine named after him.

7. I used to play acey deucy late into the night with the NBA’s David Robinson.

8. My current house is the 26th one that I have lived in, to date.

9. I have visited the site of Alvin Straight‘s house, but it was burned down when I got there.

10. When I was in sixth grade, I could see the dome of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary from my bedroom window.

So . . . which one is the lie?

About J. Eric Smith
Executive Director, Salisbury House Foundation.

28 Responses to Nine Facts, One Falsehood

  1. Goat says:

    5. You’d never have managed it without throttling him.

    (hey, if you DID, that means we were one degree of separation for 10 years before we met–I was a senior at W&L when Tait was a freshman.)

    • Wrong. He and my Dad were friends at the Naval War College, circa 1981, before he was (in)famous . . . the two of them won their respective classes’ prizes for student performance. I forget what Ollie’s was called, but my dad’s was the Stephen B. Luce award. We used to rent sailboats together and go ply the Narraganset . . . . it was an America’s Cup summer in Newport that year, so we watched the 12-meters come and go together. Tait and my sister were friends . . . small world!!!!

  2. Pam says:

    I am going with number 4.

    • Wrong. I assume I was born with the lazy eye (it’s mostly noticeable when I am tired), and two surgeries on my left shoulder resulted in a damaged ulnar nerve, so my pinkie and ring finger on my left hand curl into my palm if I don’t actively make an effort to keep them extended.

      Two truths down, seven to go . . . . plus one lie . . .

  3. Marcia Brom Smith says:

    All of these statements are mostly true. If there is one that is false, it is a matter of degree. Are you the eleventh in line from the first Englist settler?

  4. Clearly, it’s #7. At least that’s my guess.

    • Wrong. David was a plebe at the Naval Academy when I was a youngster there (that’s “freshman” and “sophomore” in normal college jargon). We were both in 23rd Company, and had a long-running acey deucy tournament that usually took place after hours, and David and his room-mate (also named David) were regular participants. After his plebe year, they scrambled his class and he was moved to another company . . . at which point he became an Academic All-American, etc. etc. etc. I think had he not been moved elsewhere, we probably would have dragged him down with our masterful time-wasting skills . . .

  5. How ’bout #3.

    If true, mighty impressive…
    :)

    • Wrong . . . although it’s probably kind of pathetic, actually, that I’ve only broken 100 once, since this is my sixth summer of playing golf, and Marcia and I play it a LOT. She is a good golfer . . . I am not. But . . . I figure that when you really boil things down to the lowest common denominator, golf is about riding around in a little cart with a hot woman in a short skirt, while drinking beer and hitting things with sticks. That’s sort of like Dude Heaven, on some plane. So this score thing? Ennnhhhhhhhh . . . . details, details . . .

      So what’s that leave . . . four truths and a lie???

  6. DailyDisgust says:

    #8–this is your 27th house? A guess, of course.

    • Wrong. My Beaverdale Brick is indeed my 26th home. My dad’s military career, my military career, and then Marcia’s and my desire to have new adventures have resulted in a lot of moves over the years.

      States I’ve lived in, with number of homes in each:

      Virginia (6)
      South Carolina (5)
      New York (3)
      New Jersey (3)
      North Carolina (2)
      Idaho (2)
      Maryland (1)
      Rhode Island (1)
      Georgia (1)
      Kansas (1)
      Iowa (1)

      • Dan Smith says:

        If you count apartments and BOQ’s while finding housing, I am in my 29th residence. But I think more of yours are actual houses. And I am not counting Mother B.

        • I did NOT count transitional housing while house-hunting . . . but I DID count Mother B, since by the time I moved out of there in May 1986, I had actually slept more nights on 4-0 and 4-1 than I had in any other structure prior to that!!!

  7. Bob W. says:

    OK — I’ll bite.

    I am going to say no. 9 — behaps the house wasn’t burned down when you got there, but was actually fully engulfed as you mountain biked your way out of the surrounding brush?

    • Wrong. It was long gone by the time I got there, since the guidebook I used to find it was a few years out of date. See . . . http://www.roadsideamerica.com/news/16181

      Some Iowans seem to have an unfortunate penchant for burning things down when they receive significant out-of-State attention . . . a couple of the Bridges of Madison County went up in flames too, after that (awful) book and (dreadful) movie broke big.

      So I’m either lying about the truck stop, or the Admiral, or the Federal pen . . . .

  8. linda smith says:

    I hope that the admiral did not yell at you…….a mothers nightmare……..and since I knew your bedroom at Leavenworth…..and know your interest in the unusual, ( truck stop)….this is my best guess…….sooooooo, make your Mom’s day.

    • Sorry, Mom . . . . you’re wrong: Admiral Rickover did yell at me. I was in Groton for training between sophomore and junior years at the Academy, staying in the BOQ there. By fluke chance, it was the weekend that the USS Rickover was being commissioned, and he was staying at the BOQ as well. I came downstairs after a late night out to check out at the front desk, and found this tiny old man in civilian clothes berating a female petty officer behind the service desk. He was trying to get her to answer some question to his satisfaction, and she wasn’t getting it. At some point he asked “Who would you call in the case of a fire?” I just sort of stood there shuffling my feet and heaving heavy sighs trying to zone him out, and he suddenly turned and poked his finger at me and said “Did you learn anything from this, Midshipman?” I said . . . . . “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . . know who to call in case of a fire?” He yelled at me for being thick and inattentive for a little bit, and then stomped off on his way.

      Since you noted that the Leavenworth bedroom story is true . . . that leaves the Iowa Truck Stop story as the lie. And it’s funny . . . the whole reason I did this post is because I was reading something about it, and thinking “How in the world have I not been there yet, given all of my travels around the State? Everybody must surely assume that I’ve done that mandatory Iowa thing . . . just like they’d assume South Carolinians have all been to South of the Border.”

      And, as it turns out, I was right!!!!

      • DailyDisgust says:

        Don’t even bother with the truck stop. All it has going for it is the sign on 80 that makes it seem like something worth visiting. Inside it is just a food court of several fast food joints, a gross buffet, and thousands of square feet of Chinese made schlock for sale. While we will stop there every now and again when we need a bit of DQ on the road, when we actually need gas at that exit we patronize the Pilot across the street.

        That being said, good on you for the nine truths!

        • Goat says:

          Hey, gross buffets are my favorite kind… (you basically just described the Keystone Diner [RIP], one of the only reasons to travel Rt. 80 through Pennsylvania, the most boring stretch of road in the mid-Atlantic)

          • Dude, I think the most boring stretch of road between Iowa and the East Coast is in your neck of the woods: the Ohio Turnpike and the piece of I-90 that cuts through PA up by Erie and then up into Buffalo. When driving west from Buffalo, I get depressed just THINKING about all of the hours of nothing ahead of me, bar Cleveland.

            • Goat says:

              For the record: starting eight days from now, I will be living MUCH closer to the Ohio Turnpike (specifically, the Rt. 71 exit). You have a standing invite to break that trip up, preferably any time XTerminal has a gig.

              I think the reason it never strikes me that way is that I’m smack in the middle of it. If I’m headed up 90 to Beefalo or Rochester or what have you, I’ve only got a couple of hours, or going the other way to Chi I’ve only got six. But Getting on 80 and heading to my parents’ former place (8.5) or NYC (9) or Providence (12)… that’s a lotta driving in one gulp, usually punctuated with sleep-dep truckers doing 100 in the middle of the deep, hilly woods, and the only thing you have to look forward to thanks to the death of the Keystone is passing the Highest Point in Pennsylvania(TM).

              (And note: I say this as someone who used to live in State College, less than 10 miles off exit…184, I think it is now.)

              • It’ll be great to have a stopping point at Route 71, thanks for offer!!! We are going to fly Katelin back for fall semester, but when she graduates in May, we will be doing the cross-country trek to get her stuff back to Iowa . . . so you can pretty much bank on us darkening your doorstep then!!!

        • Yeah, I think on some subconscious level I kinda knew it would be gross, and that’s why I’ve never been there . . . as a native South Carolinian, I’m always embarrassed that folks traveling up and down I-95 associate the state with South of the Border, a similar piece of massive roadside vernacular with AWFUL signs for hundreds and hundreds of miles in either direction, and a fairly offensive racial theme . . . (if you’ve never seen/heard of it . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_of_the_Border_%28attraction%29) . . . so not really sure I want to patronize the Iowa version of that, either.

          • xterminal says:

            SotB is offensive mostly because of its egregiousness. (Full disclosure: I found the whole thing hysterical when I was a pre-teen, to my chagrin.) Because of its location, it really coulda just set up shop and done a little advertising and people would’ve still stopped–back in the day there was really zilch to be found for a loooooooong way in either direction (it’s the Breezewood of South Carolina, or it was). But they just had to go and kitsch it out, speedy gonzalez-style.

            There’s a GREAT, hilarious, almost-as-politically-incorrect-as-SotB-itself passage in one of Lance Carbuncle’s first coupla novels, I can’t remember which (they’re both worth reading), featuring his protagonist and a hitchhiker he picks up along the way climbing to the top of the South of the Border tower after basically destroying the entire place and having a long, rambling existential conversation. I adore it.

            • Ugh, Breezewood . . . . coming north from DC to Pittsburgh in the ’80s, the WORST part of the trip was when one interstate (I-70, right?) dumped you into a little town with tons of stoplights, which you had to grind through before getting onto the PA Pike. My issue with driving in PA has always been the idiotic and needless complexity of so many of their exits . . . I have had MULTIPLE cases of getting off the highway, then getting tangled up in some knot of roads that required me to go through various Breezewood wannabes before being able to get back onto the highway.

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