What’s “Write” about Smedley
Ernest Smedley, our favorite hometown geezer who provides a lot of stories for this column, was asked recently how he keeps coming up with all his strange and questionable tales which some say have little to do with the truth. Smedley is also accused by others of not being connected to reality but given over to the bizarre. And yet, he somehow gets away with it – at least with his handful of faithful readers. (Perhaps these few are as quirky as he is.) In the interest of upholding this newspaper’s continuing pursuit of honest journalism, we interviewed Mr. Smedley to get his response to these charges so that our readers can judge for themselves if Mr. Smedley does indeed cross over the lines of decency.
Smedley swears that his stories are based on his life experiences as filtered through his God-given gifts of clarity and keen sense of logic. The key, Smedley says, as to where he gets his material lies in being a player, as well as observer, in life. Reality is the basis of his tales enhanced only by a touch of his lively imagination and his natural cynical bent.
Smedley holds that it is absolutely necessary to get fully into the game of life in order to gain this vital basis for writing. He insists that a person needs to participate, travel, explore, join, take risks: to converse, be curious about, and to identify with other human beings, to walk in their shoes; to spend his money freely – not letting it control him; and finally, he needs to love and to accept love with gusto. All this living and creation of memories become the essential reference for a person’s stories.
At this point Smedley began telling some of his life’s experiences which are the basis for his concoctions. He starts by telling of how he was raised in the penthouse on top of the famed Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, having all his meals come to him by way of room service straight from the renowned “Pump Room” French restaurant; how he rode his motorized tricycle 25 miles each way to school; he told of his short stint in the military as a fourteen year old. Smedley went on (and on!) relating more of his incredible life experiences as follows with this list only scratching the surface. (It is no wonder that Smedley has little trouble in finding material for his stories)!
Continuing from Smedley’s endless list we learn: he dated Mother Teresa before she entered the Sisters of Charity; that he danced with Ginger Rogers; he wined and dined Marilyn Monroe even before JFK did. He backstroked the English Channel; he escaped from a Siberian gulag; he hurled the javelin in the 1980 Olympics; he chauffeured Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton on his dates: he had the “goods” on J. Edgar Hoover (that he liked boys better than girls); he played gin rummy with Osama Bin Laden; he lived under a bridge, homeless for fifteen months; he was booted out of Hazelton Rehab Institute three times before he finally kicked his addictions to meth, alcohol, marijuana, and Dr.Pepper.
Hardly coming up for air, Smedley told of the pirana fish fry he hosted at the source of the Amazon River deep in South America; about the time he beat “the Donald” (Trump) one up in a big money golf game at the Doral; how he was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; his years of professorship at Harvard; and how he won the Ironman Triathalon at the age of 79. He thinks his greatest deed, partnering with Al Gore, was the invention of the Internet! (All this was just the tip of the his iceberg of incredible capers, but our space here is limited so we cannot print more.)
After almost completely exhausting our interviewer who was hopeful of wrapping up Smedley’s mind-boggling monologue before sundown, Smedley insisted on adding icing on top of his cake of how he gets the stuff for his stories. Smedley declared that a writer not only needs great experiences, but he also needs to have extensive insight and knowledge of other people’s experiences, to learn about other people and their ideas, as well as other places and sights in the world – real or fictional. This element can only be acquired primarily by reading. It is impossible to have a broad understanding of the world if depending only on that which you have personally experienced. Smedley began reading early and by the age of six he had memorized Webster’s Pocket Dictionary and had read all the books in the Great Books Collection. He claims he has read everything between Shakespeare and Steinbeck, from Adam & Eve to Zoraster.
So there it is: the Truth according to Smedley. Has he successfully answered the many charges that he is a flim-flammer, a spinner of truthless fairy tales? This newspaper needs input from its readers as to whether Smedley’s stories are within the newspaper’s boundaries of honest journalism. Call or write today. We need to make a decision soon.