August 8th, 2008
Today, I’m compelled to write more about Going Geico™ — because its roots run deep, and referring to it obsessively is the nature of the disease.
First of all, let me say, I’m no stranger to this affliction. I learned it well from my father, who pretends to know everything about everything. He’s the best bluffer this side of Mars, and by the end of one of his soliloquies, you’re convinced he’s Steve Wozniak, or maybe Stephen Hawking. But with more alcohol and less actual knowledge.
For any illness or impairment we kids had, he’d have a ready answer. He fancied himself a doctor, because he spent time in the Navy’s medical corps, so there were scary medical diagnoses for everything, like “rickets” or “gangrene gums.” Plus, you better not tell my dad that Vick’s VapoRub doesn’t cure everything, because it totally does. (In fact, I’m using it right now for writer’s block.)
Anyway, there’s a few tall tales circulating around my family that my dad told us as kids, all of them positioning him as a hero or spy in some way. Also, he was a “semi-pro” basketball player, which cracks The Rock up every time. As The Rock likes to say, “Semi-pro, would that be the BS league?”
Oh, my dad.
But I don’t know, I still don’t have independent verification of any of these stories, so they may be true. The only one who knows is my dad, and he’s not telling. Or rather, he’s telling and telling and telling.
There’s the Haunted House story, and the Hitchhiker story, and the CIA Spy story. This is how we remember them as they’ve been passed down in the San Diego Mommason family for years. I tell them to you now as a sort of homage to Going Geico™, and to my dad, God love him, as we do. So Dad? This is for you. Stetson hat, smoking cigar, giganto red ruby pinky ring and all. Thank you for saving the world that one time. And for your years of service in semi-pro basketball.
So I’ll start with the CIA Spy story, because it’s the most out there. The other stories I’ll let drip one at a time in the days to come. Believe me when I say they need to be relished and savored. Then crapped out.
So it seems that in college my dad had a roommate who talked in his sleep. He and his bunkmate were good friends, and Bill as I’ll call him, later served as best man in my dad’s wedding to my mom. The first few months of school, my dad found the sleep talking annoying, but hardly something to break up over. But then Bill began talking about illicit activities in his sleep, secret, clandestine things. As my dad put the puzzle pieces together, he discovered that Bill was a CIA agent, doubling as a college student.
Well, this put a kink in the relationship. My dad asked Bill about his CIA spying and next thing you know, top secret CIA aides were knocking on my dad’s door. He was asked to keep things quiet, ostensibly told, “or else.” Dad did as instructed, but remained roommates with Bill, and spent months being trailed by the CIA. Apparently, my dad found out all kinds of hush-hush U.S. government plans, and even “knew about the Bay of Pigs before it happened.”
He never tells us much more than that, “for our protection,” and for years we listened to this story, enthralled, over and over again. I pretty much dismissed it as I grew older. There just wasn’t enough detail. But what I can tell you is that my dad’s friend, Bill, committed suicide quite soon after my dad’s wedding, and my dad found him on the floor of his bathroom.
Wow, way to bring down Going Geico™, huh?
Next up: The Hitchhiker story.