Note: Because DrHGuy is unexpectedly unavailable, today’s post is a modestly revised version of the April 1, 2009 Heck Of A Guy entry.
Never obsessive in distinguishing among fact, fiction, hyperbole, half-truths, quarter-truths, 3/8-truths, wishes, outright falsehoods, empty praise, slander, hypotheticals, and other points on the reality-fantasy scale, Heck Of A Guy has long operated on the policy of opting for funny over factual, choosing puns over precision, and electing alliteration über alles.
Indeed, I am, on occasion, what college lit instructors sometimes call a unreliable narrator. The term is, of course, a coarse generality. Trust me – as a narrator, I can be relied upon for all manner of things: fun, frolic, clever turns of phrase, the sporadic foray into lewdness, Photoshopped images, footnotes, what one otherwise positive review called “an obnoxiously difficult vocabulary,” a little song, a little dance, and, inevitably, a little seltzer in your pants. Only in the realm of congruence with drab reality can certain Heck Of A Guy posts be indicted as unreliable.
Nonetheless, some readers are apparently Just the facts, ma’am sort of folks, and they have developed a wariness about the content of any given Heck Of A Guy post.
This high index of suspicion employed by an ever-vigilant audience when reading the Heck Of A Guy blog renders “fooling” readers, especially on a day designated for such pranks all but impossible. As a result, I have chosen to forgo participation in the sanctioned efforts to mislead, trick, and deceive that are the essence of April Fool’s Day.
Tomorrow, Heck Of A Guy will be back to business as usual.
For now, I’ll be content resting on my laurels. There are still people out there who believe that “Leonard Cohen” really exists.
Leonard Cohen, AKA Uncle Foster in his best suit and bolo tie
Constructing Leonard Cohen
No kidding. I am the first to admit that it never occurred to me that anyone would fall for a story about a Canadian folk singer in his 70s whose concerts all over the world routinely sell out with tickets going for $100-500 (and multiples of that once the scalpers come into play), who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and who has had and continues to have a reputation as a ladies’ man.
When no one seemed surprised that his gorgeous, talented, exotic companion, “Anjani,” ostensibly flirted with me online about arranging threesomes involving her, another female vocalist, and me, I was forced into writing a back story, each item of which was so outlandish I was sure the joke would be transparent. I mean – the guy was supposedly a well-known, highly regarded, heavily published poet and novelist who opted to become, with the help of Judy Collins, a folk singer instead. Does that happen every day where you live?
When that was published without any evidence that the fraud was detected, I filled in some more background. Drawing on my favorite authorial cliches, I had him buy a house on a Greek island and take up with another novelist’s wife.
Next I had him traveling to Nashville to be a country singer but then turning around to head to New York instead.
I threw women at him like he was James Bond. A fling with Joni Mitchell and an assignation with Janis Joplin weren’t enough to cause any doubts so I threw in Rebecca De Mornay.
Still, no problem.
I devised a plot with Phil Spector holding a gun to his head.
Okey dokey with the readers.
Think about this – I sent this profoundly Jewish guy to a Zen monastery for a few years.
Oh, you know those pictures from the 1960s when he looked like a young Dustin Hoffman? Those were pictures of a young Dustin Hoffman.
Now, I did catch some breaks. Since no one reads newspapers any more, I only had to create supporting documentation online. Did anyone notice that all the rave reviews of all the concerts were almost identical?
There was also, however, a stroke of genius here and there. I’m perhaps proudest of the Ticketmaster schemes I devised. While no legitimate company could operate for long behaving like that, some individuals actually bought into the idea that seats were mysteriously unavailable even though they called in at precisely the time sales began because the company selling the tickets was manipulating them to exact higher prices.
And how about all those Heck Of A Guy posts containing “fake facts” about the “real Leonard Cohen?” Puzzles within puzzles.
It was fun. But, eventually Uncle Foster got tired of posing for “Leonard Cohen” photos, I was getting confused about where “Anjani” lived at what time, and creating all those “Leonard Cohen” songs (mostly obscure Junior Brown tracks played at a slower speed) had become a drag. It was just too much so I let the character lapse.
But it was worth it. Even today, I run across the occasional acquaintance who not only believes Leonard Cohen is playing in Austin tonight but insists that he or she has actually attended a Leonard Cohen concert.
It’s as though “Leonard Cohen” has taken on a life of his own.
Wouldn’t that be sweet?