table of contents
September 2000

Not entirely believable anecdotes

Being a famous celebrity I am frequently interviewed by writers desiring to publish articles about my excessively edifying life. Here is a transcript of a typical interview.

Q: What was winter like when you were young?

A: When I was young the winters were so cold that the words would freeze as soon as they came out of your mouth. We would gather the frozen words up and wait for spring for them to thaw out. We didn’t always keep perfect track of who said what. Sometimes my mother would put my sister’s words in my mouth.

Q: Richard, teller of tall tales?

A: I can’t help it. When I was young I once went out in the middle of winter without a cap and I got a frostbitten brain. It thawed out but I’ve never been quite right since.

Q: Have you ever gone ice fishing?

A: Oh yes. Mostly I used ice cubes for bait. I understand that the true sportsman just spits and catches the spit when it freezes in the air. The Japanese, though, have these big ice trawlers that haul in icebergs.

Q: How about hunting?

A: I was never into ice hunting. I just can’t stand looking at those big white eyes.

Q: Have you ever sailed on the high seas?

A: Only once. The S.S. High Seas is a cruise ship that caters to storm nuts. It sails back and forth through the mid-atlantic during hurricane season. It’s sort of neat. The top of the boat is completed sealed so that if turns turtle you don’t get wet (this happened twice when we went through Andrew). The dining room is on gimbals so that you stay upright during dinner no matter what the ship is doing. The ship is specially reinforced so that when it is caught by a wave and flips over it doesn’t break up. It was a lot of fun but carnival rides are cheaper.

Q: Wow. Have you ever flown in a biplane?

A: I flew in a mail plane once. You could tell that it was a mail plane because it had those two little thingies hanging down. I don’t think it was bi, though.

Q: Have you ever climbed the Himalayas?

A: Never. I’ve been asked to lead expeditions several times but I’ve always felt that lesser climbers should have their chance. I mostly confine my climbing to climbing mountains that are so remote and obscure that no one has ever heard of them. I am particularly proud of my triumph in achieving the high point of Kwajelein Island. Not only was the peak three hundred feet above sea level, the slope was extremely gentle.

Q: Have you ever gone deep sea diving?

That I did. When I was young I worked as a diver on cruise ships. The little old ladies would sit on the deck and knit as they watched the young folk spark. Some times they would drop a stitch and then I would have to go purl diving.

Q: How about gold prospecting?

A: I did a bit of it when I was in college and was looking for ways to fund my education. I got a book and read about panning for gold. As it happened my college wasn’t near any mountain streams so I did my panning in a local river that the sewer ran into. I found some gold and thought I was doing well until it all turned green.

Q: Have you ever been in a hot-air balloon?

A: Several times. I was a passenger on the Orator Express. Instead of using a burner to generate hot air it carried several politicians making speeches. The politicians doubled as ballast to be thrown overboard. I was pressed into service when they ran out of politicians.

Q:Have you ever been to outer space?

A: Many times. Back in the old days when they weren’t sure it was safe they would send me up on a secret mission before risking a chimpanzee or a regular astronaut. Remember the Apollo XIII mission when they had to abort the lunar landing. They did that because they needed to boost the ratings. They weren’t sure it would work so then sent me first and blew up half my ship and watched to see if I could get the crippled ship home.

Q: Wow, you are really a hero. Have you ever tried to get to the center of the earth?

A: Not all the way to the center but I have done some serious spelunking. As you may know there are interconnected caves all under the United States. I belonged to a spelunking club that would roller blade underground from Boston to San Francisco. The trick is to keep going fast enough so that your roller blade driven lamp stays lit.

Q: Fascinating. Have you ever parachuted out of a jetliner?

A: Yes I have. As you may know I used to be a free lance writer for men’s adventure magazines. I got material for my articles by going around the country, doing crazy stunts, and writing about them. The articles weren’t always completely accurate. Thus I was supposed to write about jumping out of a jetliner flying at 30,000 feet. That seemed to me to be a big waste of jet juel for a magazine article so I jumped out of the jetliner while it was parked on the runway. It’s a good thing I did; it turned out that I hadn’t packed my parachute correctly.

Q: Whew. That was a lucky break. Have you ever been stranded on a desert island?

A: Not exactly. When I was working on a pirate ship off on Borneo the crew marooned me on a small island which turned out to be a dessert island. A native attorney, a torte lawyer named Ki, was famed for his famed for his arrangements of fruit in the shape of Greek letters. I was particularly fond of the Ki lime pi. The natives were always bringing candied fruits to my dwelling, a case of sweets for the suite, so to speak. The native lasses were quite friendly, albeit a trifle plumpish, and I thought of staying there permanently. In the end though (and a rapidly expanding end it was, too) I decided that the dessert island life was not for me.

Q: Have you ever skied the Alps?

A: I skied in the Alps briefly while I was training the Swiss olympic skiing team. My favorite place to ski, however, was in the Cascades with Bigfoot as my skiing partner. The main problem we had was getting skis for him that would fit his big feet. We couldn’t just go into a ski shop because he’s very shy so what we did was to outfit him with the skis that they use for airplanes. Mt. St. Helens used to be a great place to ski until it blew up. After that bigfoot gave up skiing; I guess he was spooked.

Q: Have you ever stood on the lip of an active volcano and looked down?

A: I blush to admit that I have. Bigfoot and I used to go all the way up to the crater of Mt. St. Helens and ski all the way down. I never paid much attention to what the geologists said about it being about to blow up. About an hour before it blew I was at the peak looking down in the crater. There wasn’t any lava bubbling but there was an awful lot of steam and rumbling. I figured that I’d better get out of there pronto so I headed down the slope. I was about half way down when it blew. Fortunately I’d had my hang glider with me so I unfurled it and caught the wind from the explosion. I sailed through the air twenty miles or so before I landed in a church parking lot. It’s a good thing that bigfoot wasn’t with me that day – he never was very good at hang gliding.

Q: Have you ever driven in a Grand Prix?

A: I have but it was an accident. It was a Grand Prix for automobiles and I thought it was a Grand Prix for bicycles. I came in first but they disqualified me for not having enough cylinders.

Q: Have you ever been big game hunting?

A: I’m a famous big game hunter. I’ve hunted lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Of course I’ve never actually killed any. I don’t believe in actually killing animals. Besides my aim is very bad and loud noises make me nervous. My greatest exploit was trapping a wild ferocious mouse. At risk of life and limb I faced it down and caught it with my bare hands aided only by a high tech mousetrap.

Q: What’s the biggest fish you ever caught, and how did you catch it?

A: That’s a tricky question. I caught a large white whale once. I cheated slightly – I used a carbon laminate pole instead of a bamboo pole and I used a Captain Ahab action figure as bait instead of the real captain. That doesn’t count, though, because whales aren’t fish; they’re mammals. The biggest fish I ever caught was a monster minnow. I caught it by accident. I was swimming underwater and I opened my mouth at the wrong time.

Q: Have you ever gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle?

A: I wasn’t lost; I knew exactly where I was – I was in the Bermuda Triangle. What happened was that I was taking a long walk on a short plank when I fell into the ocean. Naturally I grabbed onto some floating seaweed. A rescue ship showed up right away. The odd thing was that there was nobody in it. I had a lot of trouble managing the sails – do you realize how hard it is to sail a four masted schooner by yourself? I managed to get it into port though. I just wasn’t sure whether I landed in New York or Rio de Janeiro.

Q:Have you ever explored Antarctica?

A: Not exactly. I did explore ant arctica. Professor Challenger’s grandson and I led an expedition into Siberia to study the Siberian ice ant, also known as the polar ant. They infest the northern coast of Siberia, building ant hills made out of ice, whence the title of Ant Arctica for Northern Siberia.

Q:Impressive. Have you ever been on a submarine?

A: Many times. When I was an adviser to the US navy my specialty was submarines, also known as heroes and gyros. As you may know there are underwater competitions between submariners. The submariners organized into a large number of leagues – indeed there are said to be 20,000 leagues under the sea. The most unusual submarines that I worked on were land submarines which were used to hunt down land sharks.

Q: You’re so brave. Have you ever wrestled alligators?

A: Unfortunately, no. I went on an alligator wrestling tour once. They guaranteed that you got to wrestle at least one alligator or you got your money back. When it was my turn I waded into the swamp. There I was, surrounded by alligators, just deciding which one to wrestle with when, all of a sudden, they all turned tail and fled as a THING came out of the swamp. I wrestled it instead. I never found out what it was even though all of the Japanese tourists took pictures.

Q: Have you ever been lost in the Outback?

A: Only once. I was an advisor to an Australian movie company that was making an Australian version of Godzilla; instead of using a giant reptile they were using a 35 foot tall kangaroo. We were shooting production in the outback and I was being my usual helpful self, freely offering advice. One night while I lay sleeping the entire company pulled up stakes and disappeared without notifying me. Things might have got a bit sticky but fortunately I met an aborigine on walkabout and he taught me how to kill and roast lizards and how to find muddy water to drink.

Q: Have you ever encountered a dragon?

A: I’ve never encountered a dragon but I have encountered a sea serpent. I was out deep sea fishing one day when a sea bass struck my lure. Just as I was pulling it in a giant tuna snapped up the sea bass. As I started pulled in the giant tuna a killer whale closed its jaws on the tuna. Next a giant squid which wrapped its tentacles around the killer whale. I was reeling them in when a sea serpent grabbed onto the giant squid. That was too much and the line broke. It was a good thing, really, because I was in a kayak and I wouldn’t have room for all of them in the boat.

Q: Have you ever participated in a Cross-Sahara road race?

A: Yes I have; it was a three legged race from Marrakesh to Cairo. I was paired with an Albanian dwarf. We did very well together – he provided the stamina and I provided the speed – but we came in second to a genuine three legged man.

Q:Wow. Have you ever been abducted by aliens?

A: Almost. One evening these guys in black carrying rayguns showed up at my apartment and hustled me outside where I was beamed up to a flying saucer. These strange looking people with big eyes started asking me questions. I thought I was being abducted by aliens but it turned out to be a political focus group.

Q: What a horrible experience. Have you been on a speeding runaway train?

A: Worse. I was on a speeding runaway bumper car. It happened in Bolivia. I was the construction engineer on a huge amusement park which was to be the wonder of South America. The main feature of the park was a mile long bumper car arena. These weren’t ordinary bumper cars; they were special cars that were designed for the seriously macho. As I was testing out the cars a lightning strike shorted out the master control and left it stuck on maximum acceleration. There I was going 100 mph and speeding up. I aimed for the water ride and hit the emergency eject. I went sailing through the air. landed in the water, and slid all the way. It was a bad show; my hair got seriously mussed.

Q: Oh, my. Have you ever walked along the Great Wall of China?

A: Not exactly. When I was on the Olympic table tennis team we toured China. Naturally we visited the Great Wall of China. I didn’t walk along the wall, though. Instead I held a roller blade in each hand, did a head stand, and roller bladed along the wall upside down. I’m told that I’m the only person in the world who has ever done that.

Q: Have you ever been in the circus? On a flying trapeze, perhaps?

A: I was only in the circus for one season. I wasn’t on the flying trapeze though – I was the flying trapeze. I wasn’t a real trapeze. What they did was to tie ropes to my hands and feet with me hanging in the middle. Then they would swing me back and forth as a clown rode a unicycle on my middle.

Q: Doesn’t sound too pleasant, I hope you were paid well. Have you ever driven a stunt car?

A: I haven’t but I knew someone who did. Like many other things in movies the scenes involving dangerous driving aren’t done live with real cars. Instead they are done with minatures, i.e., with little model cars. Since ordinary people wouldn’t fit in them they have to use little model people. A friend of mine was a model; she drove stunt cars between shoots for Playboy.

Q: That reminds me, I wanted to ask if you were ever a photographer for National Geographic, in Africa perhaps?

A: That I was. Wild animal photography has changed a great deal. All of the animals are in parks now and they’ve become aware that they are the stars of the nature films. They all have contracts and agents now. The worst part is that the agents are all hyenas. When a hyena says, “I’ll have my people get in touch with you,” she means the whole pack.

Q: How frightening. Have you ever been a Chippendales dancer?

A: That I was. When I was in burlesque theaters I had an act doing the fox trot while juggling Chippendale chairs. For an encore I would do the polka.

Q: I wonder if you got any tips. Have you ever ventured into the Siberian interior?

A: Did I get any tips? Only one – buy low and sell high. Oh yes, I worked as a paleontologist searching for frozen mammoths. We had really rotten luck. We did find a mammoth but it was alive. I considered shooting it and then freezing it but it was summertime. We ended up shooting it anyway when our supplies ran low. Mammoth meat is rather gamey; I much prefer the taste of spotted owl.

Q: How politically incorrect. Have you ever been shrunken and injected into human body, like in “Fantastic Voyage”?

A: That happened once, about nine months before I was born but I don’t suppose that was what you had in mind. I wasn’t shrunk but I did work for several months as a repair technician for an amusement park. They had a fifty foot tall animated statue of the human body. I had to crawl around inside it and fix the wiring.

Q: How droll. Have you ever ridden a raft down the Amazon?

A: I did but it wasn’t intentional. I was in the Andes working in a copper mine. I misjudged a blast and the cook shed and I went sailing through the air into the head waters of the Amazon. I climbed onto one of the walls and headed downstream. As it happened there was an alligator trying to escape a school of piranhas. The alligator got stuck in the wall and couldn’t get unstuck. He kept swimming like mad downstream to stay ahead of the piranhas and I couldn’t get off because of them. We just kept going until we reached the Atlantic ocean.

Q: Have you ever been chased by Pygmies in Africa?

A: I was afraid you’d ask about that. It’s sort of embarrassing, really. I was on a mission to sell nuclear power plants to the pygmies when I got caught diddling the chief’s wife. He challenged me to a wrestling match one on one and whupped me something fierce. They chased me out of the village. The embarrassing part was that I slipped and fell into a pile of elephant dung just as I was about to get away. Fortunately they were laughing so hard that they didn’t feel like chasing me any more.

Q: Have you ever been a stunt double on a movie set?

A: Of a sort. As you know, many leading men in Hollywood are gay and really don’t like doing love scenes. I used to do the closeups. If you see a love scene in a movie where you can’t see the man’s face it was probably me. Er, I suppose I should admit that I was only a double in Ed Wood movies.

Q: I shall have to rent some and see if I can spot you. Have you ever been trapped in a haunted house?

A: When I was in England at one of the more desolate tourist attractions I felt a call of nature and repaired to an outhouse provided for the convenience of visitors. It turned out to be haunted. I had just completed my business when I realized that I wasn’t the one wiping. It gave me quite a nasty turn, it did. You have no idea how horrid English toilet paper is.

Q: How horrid. Have you ever practiced the Druid religion?

A: I was a Druid priest for several years in Orgeon. I was doing very well until a number of Greens infilitrated the group. They were big into tree hugging and insisted that tree hugging was part of the Druid ritual. I gave into them and added tree hugging to the ritual. It went well at first but I gave it up when the trees started hugging back.

Q: Sounds scratchy. Tell me – did you ever join the Foreign Legion?

A: It was the other way around; the Foreign Legion joined me. I was in the Sahara searching for a house of intimate hospitality. Apparently the word had gotten out that I knew where it was. When I arrived at said house the entire Foreign Legion was right behind me.

Q: I hope you got first dibs. Have you ever ridden in a rodeo?

A: I have but it was an accident. I had a front row seat at a rodeo. I turned to the young lady next to me, a stranger, and addressed a few complimentary remarks to her. Seemingly this distressed her for she slapped my face vigorously and I fell backwards into the arena onto a bull that had just unseated its rider. Not knowing what to do I grabbed onto the strap and hung on for dear life. Round and round we went for the longest time until a clown distracted the bull and I was able to slide off the bull’s rear end. I ended up winning first prize although points were taken off because I had been riding backwards.

Q: I wonder how you managed to hang on. Have you ever emulated Sisyphus and tried to roll a boulder uphill?

A: Sort of. When I was a cowboy in Colorado I was dating this girl named Cecilia. We were about a mile out of town when my hupmobile died on us. I had to roll the hup to Boulder. You should have heard Sissy fuss.

This page was last updated October 13, 2000.

table of contents
September 2000