I was standing in one bar on Independence Day when I heard I was the subject of a rumor involving another.
“Is it true you’re buying The Pond?”
“Yeah, my wife said she heard you were buying The Pond and that’s why you started tending bar there,” he said.
Me buy The Pond?
There have been many times over the last five years when me buying a single $2 draft at The Pond seemed preposterous, so the rumor of me buying the whole building seemed like something I should probably encourage.
I said, “Tell your wife I’m not at this moment interested in buying The Pond. But it’s only 11 a.m. I could change my mind once the holiday parade is over. The sight of thousands of shiny firetrucks always leaves me feeling impulsive.”
It’s been years since I’ve been the subject of a really great rumor.
There were many from when I quit my last job back in 1992. The surprising departure coincided to the day with when Val and I began what would be a three-year shack up so I was at the time very topical.
My favorite from back then was the rumor I decided to quit newspapering because I was convinced I had a promising future shooting billiards in dingy pool halls.
I did shoot a lot of pool back then and I was adept enough that I could beat most everybody in Latrobe — but for only about 90 minutes each night. And those 90 minutes occurred usually between my fourth and sixth beers.
If you caught me prior to the consumption of the fourth beer, I hadn’t built up the necessary nerve to execute the really tight shots. And if I was on the table after the sixth beer I was either too unsteady for precision or so ultra-steady — steady to the point of immobility — that my opponents had difficulty getting me to approach the table when it was my time to shoot.
So my window for excellence was narrow and fluctuated throughout the week depending on what time we started our then-daily guzzle.
I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if, as the rumor had it, I’d pursued a life of professional pool shark.
I guess I’d have wound up spending endless hours in dark taverns, associating with seedy people and living a dissolute life of wanton disregard for any meaningful purpose.
So I guess it’d be a very similar to what it’s been like freelance writing except I’d have more confidence when it came time to bank the 8 ball.
Many people are often the subject of rumors involving their health. It’s rumored they’re drinking too much, they’re hungover, that they were seen looking like they’d been without sleep for long stretches of time.
None of those rumors have ever been applied to me, although I do remember hearing one rumor many years ago that I once looked well.
Back when I was single, there were many wild rumors that I was screwing lots and lots of women. There were rumors that I’d been with married women, single moms, waitresses, cleaning ladies, professional women, and one particularly hot local weather girl.
These rumors were all started by me.
As I went years and years without getting any action, I thought it might be fruitful if people at least thought I was getting some.
What’s funny to me in hindsight is my recollection of how authoritatively these rumors were knocked down by my rumored counterparts. Their reactions ranged from angry denial to hysterical laughter.
As a group, these women could have taught Bill Clinton a thing or two on how to effectively deny having sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
So I think I’ll let this Pond rumor play out.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m buying The Pond!
I’m buying it ‘cause I’m loaded with dough and my savvy financial team said it would make more sense to spend it all in one lump sum instead of drizzling it out $20 a day in draft beer and fried fish specials.
I’m keeping the staff and giving everybody a big raise! And I’ll finally be free to make the one crucial capital improvement that Dave’s always resisted because he says it’s a stupid idea.
Yes, The Pond is finally getting a milkshake machine!
I’m doing all this because I’m loaded, have a sound investment plan and just because I’m such a sweet guy.
Or so rumor has it.
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